Guest Post: Sunshine & Surf Savings Plan – 3 Easy ways to save for vacation on an average income

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I need a vacation. Like a no-kids, sand-between-my-toes, umbrella-in-my-drink-vacation. This morning the refrigerator stopped refrigerating, and I watched all of my vacation nest egg walk out the door tucked into someone else’s tool belt. Starting from ground zero again has renewed my zeal for saving tenfold. I am determined to sit under a palm tree in the next year!

I am a good, traditional saver. However, finding extra money to save for vacation often means stepping up the savings and finding ways to spend less to get more.

Stockpile Change

money-jarI have a friend who has taken trips to St. Petersburg, Rome, and Costa Rica just by saving the change every time he spends cash. He puts it all in a jar in his bedroom.  That jar remains untouched until the end of the year.

This tactic is great… if you spend cash.  Unfortunately, I lean heavily on the plastic debit card because it’s easier to swipe and sign when trying to keep my kids from sneaking candy bars into the cart at the grocery store checkout. I just don’t have a ton of change jangling around in the bottom of my purse, nor do I plan to start making extra trips to the bank just to make certain I have handfuls of cash available. However, many banks have gotten wise to this approach and have instituted automated change saving programs. My extra digital pennies go into an account until I am ready to spend them on a Mai Tai.

Clip Coupons

Coupon clipping is a great way to save on everyday expenses like dish soap and toilet paper. My best friend is one of those extreme couponers that get their own television shows and have enough stockpiles of non-perishables stored in the basement to last beyond the apocalypse. That kind of couponing requires a little more time and effort than I am willing to dedicate.

However, normal coupon clipping like my mom and grandma did at the kitchen table while I was growing up, can still save enough dollars and cents to add up to a vacation.  Be sure to tally your savings and set that money aside for the travel fund.

Even easier, the digital age has removed the scissors and newsprint from couponing. I can just hit up some online sites for coupons, or even look into early online Black Friday ads to find quick savings that I can tuck into my vacation fund. Family vacations can also benefit from some family time. How about some arts and crafts with a Pottery Barn Kids coupon code? It’s all there.

Keep savings on track by tracking down coupons for things you were already going to spend money on.

Sell Stuff

Evaluate the corners of your closets and your basement.  I have piles, boxes, and bins full of things that I’m saving “just in case.”  Just in case I need to cook some meat on my George Foreman grill from college. Just in case pleated pants come back in style. Just in case my new sofa splits down the middle under my girth and I need a new place to sit. Gather up all that old junk and sell it at a garage sale. Price items to sell fast and rake in the cash. Just in case turned out to be, “I need to swim in the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean.”

Once again, there are digital answers to the traditional garage sale.  Online sites like ebay and give virtual outlets to list your prized possession from the comfort of your air conditioning.  They also let you network with savvy collectors and buyers who might be willing to fork over more cash for your vintage music box collection than the average garage sale rummager.

With a little ingenuity, it’s easy to find a little extra budge in the budget to save for vacation and reach a white sand and sunshine goal.  That is, until the washing machine breaks down.



About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.


  1. I am gearing up for my first garage sale this weekend and the profits are going into our vacation stash. My husband and I have a huge piggy bank I got for my high school graduation that we fill up and only use for vacation purposes. We have cashed it in twice and it has paid for a good chunk of our trips.
  2. I already do all those things.... just to try to make ends meet. Maybe once I get all my bills paid off I can use the money towards a vacation fund..... I could use one. I haven't been on a vacation in 12 years now.... :(
  3. shelly peterson says
    Vacation? what is a vacation? lol I have never been on one and wish I could save up for one. Any savings I try and do goes on normal living stuff unfortunately.
  4. Great tips to save. I love the selling your stuff, especially unused things that are laying around. I have found that kids clothes are great seller. And the clipping coupons is always a great way to save.