STK - Travel budget concept. travel money savings in a glass jar

As you read this column, I will be basking in the beautiful, toasty sun of the Mexican Riviera, so in light of my traveling state of mind, I thought I would share some great ideas I’ve found for finding the best vacation bargains and tips for saving up for all the fun excursions you and your family wish to enjoy this spring and summer.

If you haven’t yet planned out a spring break vacay and are worried it might be too late to begin saving up, don’t fret! It’s never too late to begin effective cost-cutting plans to save for your Caribbean cruise or cross-country road trip. Here are a few of my favorite ideas. For more visit our Simple Savings board on Pinterest.

Cut everyday expenses

One of the first places to start saving is by cutting down on daily expenditures. One my family needs to work on is cutting our dining out habits. By cutting out just one weekly meal at our favorite Mexican restaurant we can save nearly $50. Take that $50 and add it to your vacation piggy bank and keep up the habit each week. You’ll have a nice pot-o-cash, just in time for that trip to Disneyland.

Another great idea, especially if time is on your side, is to calculate your anticipated expenses and then divide the total by the number of weeks until you embark on adventure. Plan on stashing that amount each week to reach your goal. You could also make the saving a bit easier by starting at smaller amounts, gradually building midway through the weeks and then taper off again to lessen the financial blow.

Involve the entire family

Whether it’s a family cruise or a trip to Yellowstone, every member of the family, no matter how old or young, can help contribute to the vacation fund. Set out a large money-collecting jar and set the kids to work gathering up all the spare change they can find. Challenge the older kids to find odd jobs to help contribute, too.

If you are going to Disneyland, for example, create some “Disney Bucks” that you can use to pay your kiddos for extra chores they do around the house. You could also encourage your children to host a deluxe lemonade stand with glasses of juice served alongside sweet treats like cake pops, sugar cookies or even fudge.

Catch the perfect deals

Last year my husband and I signed up for a air miles credit card. With some well-planned spending, we quickly built up a nice bank of miles that we used to for our current trip! If you are diligent about paying off the balance of your card every month, this is a fantastic idea for alleviating the financial stress of flights.

Another great way to find killer travel deals is to sign up for email services like TravelZoo.com, Groupon, Living Social and my favorite, VacationsToGo.com for the latest discounts on all sorts of getaways. Regular emails from these services often turn up incredible deals for unlikely places. Just be sure to read the reviews. A Cyber-Monday trip to China was just a little too good to be true according to the reviews.

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