Family Vacations on a budget?

Better yet, budgeting for vacations!

In a recent video, Our Story, I talked about vacations always following the Ehrlich’s home. Robin and I LOVE family vacations and went on them even when we could not afford to go because, “We deserved it!” Well, the truth is we did NOT deserve to go on nice vacations because we were not living on a budget, did not save for it and had absolutely no Emergency fund. That was the case for the Ehrlich’s during our 1st 32 years of marriage. We always rationalized saying, “we can’t take it with us” and “the memories will last a lifetime.” Come on – You can make memories at home playing games, interacting, eating together and even going on fun inexpensive excursions close by. Our neighbors across the street have 4 children and go on a full blown camping trip each year in their own backyard – Be creative.

Here today – Gone to Maui

Our family recently planned a trip to Hawaii and we spared very little as we enjoyed our week together with both of our adult children and their sweethearts. We stayed in a Condo in Kaanapali on the water, went on day long excursions including a boating trip around the island of Lanai where we swam with the dolphins and did some whale watching. We even ate at “Mamas Fish House” which was the best dining experience I have ever had in my 59 years and if you visit Maui and eat here make sure it is in the budget. Honestly, Robin and I are fine with the 2 for 1 early bird specials at Texas Roadhouse or even splitting a meal but still enjoy “fine dining” occasionally.

Our Game Plan

In order for Robin and I to make sure we were not paying for this trip for the next six months we did a little preparing.
1. Both of our Adult children paid their own way. (We did pay for the Van)

We paid for the lodging and airfare well in advance with our debit card. (Our daughter used miles to get a great rate.)

We saved
for one year so we could go on day excursions and eat at some nice restaurants.
4. We set up a budget for the trip to include everything from buying some new clothes to our baggage fees and tipping.
When we all returned safely (Thank the Lord) from this 2011 Ehrlich/Bryan family vacation none of us had used any credit – What a novel idea!!!! Dave Ramsey in a recent article talked about vacations as one area where they NOW spend a lot because they can live like no one else.


Your Challenge


If you would like to pay “CASH” for your next family vacation then follow these simple guidelines.


1. Get an Emergency Fund set up (At least $1,000)


2. Get on a “Spend every penny” budget. Refer to Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” book


3. Make sure you are living within your means


4. Plan and save for this family vacation. (The average family is lucky if they get one full week together each year – so these do not sneak up on you.)


5. DON’T use credit cards. Get yourself a DEBIT card.


The financial mess Robin and I were in just 5 years ago was because we did not follow any of our guidelines above. Follow posts by Chris Stoll, our travel specialist under our travel section.

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