Many people save money for a dream project, such as a fabulous vacation. My family loves to travel, and it’s something we work into our budget. It helps that we don’t care too much where we go, as there are interesting things to see and great people to meet everywhere in the world. If one year, our budget only allows for Cedar Point, that’s okay: Cedar Point is awesome.
But maybe you want something bigger. Maybe you want a luxury week in Paris, a cruise to Alaska, or a honeymoon in Tahiti. If you want to save up for something special, whether it’s a trip or otherwise, here are a few tips to consider:
- Do some research on the costs. This gives you a goal and helps you figure out what you want to spend money on and what you don’t. It lets you start planning. When you sit down and figure out the airfare, the hotel, the museum admissions, and the spending money, you have a target. It may be more than you think, it may be less, but that’s okay – you have a number.
- Figure out what you’d spend anyway and what you’ll save by being out of town: How much do you spend on miscellaneous meals out each week? You already have that much in your budget. If you are out of town for a week, you won’t have to buy groceries or gas, so you can add that in, too. It’s not a lot, but it’s something.
- What can you set aside each week toward your goal? Here’s where the work comes in. When you divide out your goal by the amount of time you want to reach it, you end up with a weekly target. If your trip costs $5000 and there are 52 weeks in the year, you’d need $96.15 per week. Can you find that money with better grocery shopping, packing a lunch, or staying in one night every weekend? If you can only come up with half of it, then maybe it will take two years for your dream trip. That’s okay. You can do it.
- Do you have any irregular sources of money? You can set aside part of your bonus, hold a yard sale, do some dog sitting, or something else that gets you a bit closer.
The key to any of these big projects is breaking them down into smaller actions that you can tackle. I’ve written books, and it’s really nothing more than making a huge to-do list and then crossing off all the items as you go. The same with saving money for a trip, a new car, or whatever it is that you want.
Askmen.com has a similar take on this, which you may find helpful.