Growing up my parents did not have a lot of money. We were lucky enough to get to go on vacations once a year around Christmas time, but it was always somewhere within driving distance. When my parents decided that we would all be going to the school trip to Washington DC when I was in 7th grade, my sister and I knew if we wanted to have spending money we would have to start saving.
I was so excited about getting to go on an airplane, to travel to a new state(s), and to go and see the places I had learned about in my history class. I was excited and knew we were so lucky to be able to travel on this amazing adventure. My sister and I came up with a plan to start selling candy to other children in our class. Since my parents were willing to pay for the candy and we just sold it our profits were pretty good. I was able to save about $50 for the trip.
Selling candy may not be the best way for kids to save money for trips these days but there are lots of other ways your kids can save up for vacation spending money. My kids have a chore chart. They get a tickets for every chore they complete. They they can redeem tickets for items from our prize box or they can redeem each ticket for one quarter. The kids always do chores but in the weeks preceding vacation they really step it up.
We also put a big jar or container in a prominent location. We add a label with the name of the place we are planning to visit. Everyone throws loose change into the jar. You would be suprised how much change your kids will contribute. Those little buggers find pennies, nickels, and dimes everywhere, lol. Loose change really adds up. Last year we went to Great Wolf Lodge using only the money we had saved as a family in the loose change jar. This year the kids want to go to Universal Studios to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when we are in Florida. I looked up the ticket prices and almost fell over. So I decided to challenge them to save enough money for 2 tickets and we would match their savings and buy the other 2 tickets!
Another great way for both kids and adults to save spending money for vacation is to issue every member of your family our 24 week savings challenge. Print out our chart, attach it to an envelope, and save the small amounts of money and in just 6 months you will have $300 extra spending money for vacation.
Printer Friendly Version> 24 Week Vacation Savings Challenge
If you live in a neighborhood an early spring yard sale is a great way for kids to save money. Not only will they make be able to make and save money for trips but you will be able to clean out and reduce the amount of toys they have, win-win! They could also have a lemonade stand at the yard sale!
One last idea…ask your kids what they are willing to give up to be able to go someplace fun on vacation. Maybe they have a membership to a gaming site or some other club. Maybe they can give up the data plan on their cell phone for a few months. Maybe as a family you decide to give up cable tv for the summer. You can out the money you save into your summer vacation plans.
Because I had worked to save money for our trip I was very cautious on what I would spend it on. I remember getting home from the trip and putting the items I had collected into a memory box and took receipts, pictures and pamphlets to create a scrapbook to help remember the adventure.
Our family trip to Washington DC was something I will always remember as special because I knew my parents made sacrifices so we could go. Besides being my first airplane trip is was also my father’s first. We knew the value and I hope that I can pass that on to my son. He has already traveled internationally and since we are in the military and moved from Ohio to California last summer he has been to a number of states.
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