Life is hectic. Finding ways to decompress is more important than ever before, and a vacation is one of the best ways to relax and recharge. That takes money, so unless you plan on winning the lottery (you shouldn’t), you need a savings plan. Here are few easy ideas to fund your next dream-trip.

Set Your Goal
Don’t just guess what vacation will cost. Develop a budget and carefully capture all the expenses you’ll have to cover. It’s usually a good idea to include a “contingency” line for unexpected items, or things you simply forget. An extra 10% is a good place to start.

Put Savings on Autopilot
Most banks and online banking services allow automated savings transfers. Set a weekly or monthly schedule and transfer your budgeted savings amount automatically. By automating savings, you’re less likely to miss the money, and before you know it, vacation is funded.

Make it a Priority
When you get good financial news, don’t blow it all on spur-of-the-moment fun. If you get a tax refund, and it’s not already in your budget, make sure at least a portion is added to your vacation fund. If you get a raise at work, set aside part of the increase as an addition to your regular vacation savings.

Change is in the Air
Do you have a change jar? If not, you should get one. You’ll be surprised how much money you can accumulate by religiously placing the day’s loose change in a single location and watching it pile up over the weeks and months. The change jar won’t fund your whole vacation, but it might just cover some of the major expenses like meals or gas or that crazy hang-gliding adventure.

Branch Out
Is your budget a little too tight? If so, think about ways you can supplement your income. There are a variety of ways to make a little extra money including online freelancing, part-time employment, and even the periodic yard sale. Sell some of the inevitable “stuff” that seemed like a good idea when you bought it, but now just clutters up the place.

A Family Affair
Do you have kids in the house? Involve them in vacation planning, and give them a small part of the vacation-funding goal. You’ll be doing them a favor while helping to “fund the fun” for the entire family. Values they’ll learn by doing odd jobs and contributing to the family’s finances will last a lifetime.

Vacation is a worthwhile financial goal. With a little planning and a combination of the steps outlined here, you can make it happen!

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