Tips for making a family summer vacation affordable

The beach and the mountains are calling. Will your bank account be able to answer?

Here’s what you can do to finance that much needed time off.

1 Define vacation priorities

With a little planning, you can spend quality time together without over-spending. The key is to define the essentials of what feels like a vacation for your family, says Christyna Lewis, who founded Bee Ventures in Houston, Texas, where she practices what she calls compassionate financial planning.

2 Saving without sacrifice

Lewis recommends decreasing spending on extras like entertainment and eating out. She suggests taking a close look at where all your money goes. Some of the “essentials” might be easier to cut than you think. The cable bill is a likely target for many families.

3 Planning for large and small expenses

Manage costs by anticipating vacation necessities. “Buying trail mix in your grocery store is much cheaper than eating out at every stop on your road trip,” says Lewis. Saving on the little stuff allows you to splurge on something big.

4 Don’t go crazy

Lewis cautions families not to use a vacation as an excuse to suspend the rules and indulge every expense. The last thing you want to do is wipe out all your good vacation mojo with painful post-trip credit card bills.

5 Teach a savings lesson

“Learning to balance our current and future wants is a key skill that we can learn at any age,” says Lewis. Getting kids involved in the planning process helps them understand how financial choices today affect outcomes tomorrow.

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