Summer 2020 has been fun for my family considering everything that is going on. We spent a lot of time at the beach, at our neighbor’s pool, and exploring the local sites. But from a travel standpoint, it was a huge disappointment.
My husband and I spent most of 2019 saving for an Alaska vacation with our kids that was scheduled for August 2020. But then the pandemic hit, and all of a sudden we found ourselves scrambling to recover. our deposits, cancel our flights without penalty, and we resign to suspend for a long time this dream trip.
We won’t be attempting a big trip like Alaska this summer – I can say that for sure. But I a m hoping to be able to travel more than in 2020. Of course, any travel we can make will cost money, and to that end, we will have to save. While we still have a lot of the money we didn’t spend in Alaska in a savings account, we try to keep that money intact for when the opportunity arises to go. In other words, we’re starting from square one for this summer’s trip, so here are a few strategies I’m employing to spend money on it.
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1. Reduce food delivery
Although my family doesn’t dine at the restaurant these days for safety reasons, we ordered our share of take out. Part of this is supporting local restaurants, and part of taking advantage of more variety and reducing the pressure on nights when we are too tired or too busy to cook. But even take out can be an expensive prospect for us.
Sometimes we make a meal for less than $ 30, but often we are in the $ 50 range when we consider the rigor and taste of our children. Hopefully, by ordering a little less, we can get about $ 100 more per month, which can be used to go on vacation.
Being self-employed means that I have the opportunity to take on extra work and earn extra money. However, finding the time to do this work is a challenge. As it stands, I work eight to nine hours a day while taking care of three children who are currently full-time distance learning. Oh, and there is also a dog that needs to be fed and walked. Fortunately, I have the support of my husband, who is also completely distant at the moment, but what I do not have a lot of overtime hours during the week.
Still, I’ve already spent the first weekends of 2021 devoting some time to work, and I plan to continue doing so if I can. Since we mostly squat during the pandemic, I don’t miss much by spending a few hours on a Sunday at my office, and I know the extra money will come in handy to fund a trip.
3. Sell items we don’t need
Having three children means that over the years we have accumulated things that have grown too big or barely used. This is the case with our huge amount of barely touched toys, electronics, clothing and exercise equipment.
Recently a friend told me that she made $ 2,000 selling old household and kids’ items online while cleaning her basement, and it inspired me to try something similar. Certainly, I will make some rules: I will not try to sell anything that I cannot get at least $ 20 for, because otherwise it is not worth taking my time when I could do a job. extra instead. But this way I can achieve two goals: money in the bank to travel and declutter my house.
4. Maximize credit card rewards
Getting my hands on some free money is a good way to fund the trip I hope to take, so to that end, I plan to apply for a new credit card strategically. I already have my eye on a card with a generous sign-up bonus coupled with a relatively low spending threshold – $ 200 cash back for $ 500 spent in three months. In my family, we spend over $ 500 on groceries in a months, so it’s more than doable.
At the same time, I charge expenses on my existing cards in a targeted manner. A card gives me bonus points for gasoline purchases, and although I don’t drive as much as I used to, I make sure to refuel all of them. I’m also paying more attention to rotating bonus categories so that I can bill my expenses in a way that gives me the most cash back.
I don’t know what summer travel will be like this year and I’m not planning on flying anytime soon. On the contrary, there is a good chance that we are aiming to take a road trip – something we normally do every year. But even car travel can get expensive. There is fuel, accommodation, food, and entertainment to consider, so I’m doing my best to save up front. The more money I put aside, the more options we will have for a getaway if things improve on the pandemic front and we are comfortable exploring more parts of the country. And if that doesn’t happen, then hey, I guess we’ll have more cash on hand for the summer of 2022.