According to an AAA survey, only 35% of American families had planned to take a vacation in 2017. I don’t know what the numbers are for 2018 but my guess is it isn’t much higher. Rest and relaxation is a basic human need, yet a majority of Americans fail to take a yearly vacation. For most of the people who won’t vacation this year the primary reason is not having the money to afford it. But, is this a legitimate reason and is it really true?
I’m a firm believer that if you REALLY want something you’ll find a way to do it. And, when it comes to taking a vacation, something that’s good for you both physically and mentally, you must find a way to do it.
In 2014 Natalie and I took a 28-day vacation. We traveled to the Canary Island of Tenerife, Madrid, Barcelona, Nice, Pisa, Venice, and Pompeii. It was incredible! We had so much fun! And, we’ll never forget the experiences we had. The only thing that bothered me about that trip was that we didn’t do it sooner. To be sure it was a sacrifice, but it was sooo worth it. I couldn’t imagine spending the money on something else and experiencing the same joy and fulfillment both physically and emotionally.
Why do people not take vacations?
I have met and coached people who had not taken a real vacation in years, and some who never took a vacation. They had convinced themselves that spending a good sum of money on a week of vacation is wasteful. They literally believe they can’t afford it, that it’s too extravagant of a thing to spend money on. Yet, many of them spend more on less valuable things and don’t even realize it.
Everyone can afford to go on a vacation at least once a year, and should! Even someone on a very small budget can set aside an adequate amount to ensure they take a vacation. I’ve included a few ways you can save so you can have a vacation in the next few months.
5 Ways to Save For a Vacation
1. Sell some stuff
Although the size of American homes has increased in size in the past couple of decades, many people use storage units, indicating that we Americans have a lot of “stuff.” I was shocked to find out that storage facilities outnumber the number of McDonald’s and Starbucks’ locations combined. Here's a great opportunity to not only find some money for your next vacation by selling some of the items you have in storage, but also to save on the cost of storing those items.
2. Pick up a side job
There are so many ways to earn extra money these days. If you’re handy you can pick up some handyman jobs. You can do yard clean up or lawn service. Whatever you’re good at you can use to serve someone else and make money in the process.
My daughter Courtney loves to bake and decorate cookies. She recently started a side business doing just that and she’s already making a small profit. One other option, which just about everyone can do is driving one day a week for Uber or Lyft.
3. Reduce your food budget
Food is one of our largest monthly expenses. Some of the items we buy can be very costly, like meats and processed foods. Here’s an idea that will not only save you money but improve your health. Try going on a plant-based diet for the next month or two. Eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, and some grains, will drastically improve your health and save you about half your food budget.
4. Cut Your housing costs
Another major cost to our budget is our housing expenses. To save for a vacation this year and every year from now on, you can downsize to a smaller house, especially if your house is larger than you really need. This will save not only on the mortgage payment, but also on your taxes, insurance, and the cost of utilities.
Speaking of insurance, you could re-quote your house and auto insurance with other companies, which normally results in savings. You can also save on your cable and internet bill. We Americans watch too much TV. Why not ditch the cable and go for a walk, read more, and invest in your family by actually spending more time together.
5. Downsize to one car
To realize hundreds of dollars of savings per month you can downsize to one car. I understand not everyone can do this, but for those who can, this is a great way to save for a vacation. By downsizing to one car you’ll spend less on gas, maintenance, insurance, registration, not to mention the car payment.
And, if you have other vehicles that are just sitting around most of the year, such as a boat, motorcycle, or ATV, you can sell those to increase your vacation savings.
There’s no doubt in my mind that a majority of people can do some of the things I mentioned and many others that can provide savings for a vacation. Why not give it a shot? I know you won’t regret it. In fact, a vacation is something you’ll always remember while spending money on other things are hardly ever remembered.