Annual vacations tend to get filled up with family reunions and trips with the kids (and grandkids!) and nobody wants to miss out on that special time—but splurging a little bit on a weekend getaway with a couple of girlfriends sure sounds like fun doesn’t it? It’s possible to do both without blowing your budget by planning ahead and setting aside a special little trip fund. Here are some ideas to get you started, and I’m sure you’ll come up with some of your own ideas once you start thinking about it.
Cut out an indulgence and “invest” the savings – This is a classic “financial advice” suggestion that you’ve probably heard before: stop going to Starbucks and you’ll save five bucks a day, giving you an extra $150 a month. If you spend that much on fancy java, you know what to do—but chances are you don’t if you are interested in coming up with some extra cash. What you can do is pay attention to where you routinely spend money and see if you could cut back.
You don’t have to give things up entirely, you can just go to bi-weekly instead of weekly services or scale down what you buy. One way that could be fun is if you have friends or family that you meet up with at a restaurant in the evening, try changing it to a morning get-together at a coffee shop, or weather allowing, go for a walk if you have a trail or walking path nearby. You’ll get to visit and enjoy the outdoors while spending less.
Use Your Skills as a Freelancer – If you are retired or have skills from a previous job that you’d like to use, you may be able to pick up paying “gigs” as a freelancer. Graphic arts, marketing, videography, writing and proofreading are some of the more popular ones. Upwork and Fiverr are good places to start.
Get Creative in the “Gig Economy” – If you don’t have business skills, you can still make money and have fun with paying gigs. People pay for all kinds of unusual (but legitimate) services on sites like Fiverr.com. You can write personalized poems, make silly Happy Birthday videos, teach someone how to make a cheesecake, or read tarot cards…. the list is unending. Visit Fiverr.com and browse the “Fun and Lifestyle” tab if you don’t have business skills and need more inspiration for what you could offer.
Care for a Friend’s “Fur Babies” – There are a lot of folks who care for their pets like children and traveling can be a real problem for them. Offering pet care services can be a relief for them and a money-maker for you. You may be able to take in dogs, depending on your housing, but you could certainly go to someone’s house to take care of cats, fish, bunnies, backyard chickens, and other small creatures. Put out the word that you are available so friends won’t feel like they are imposing by asking and they will appreciate it and be happy to pay a fee for the service.
Grow Gifts Instead of Buying – Succulent gardens are very on trend now and herb gardens are always useful, so if you are a gift-giver, consider growing some of these indoor gardens to give away instead of buying things. A pretty pot and a bow will make a lovely gift that will remind the recipient of your consideration too.
Find a Fun Part Time Job – Start paying attention to work opportunities that you could do in your spare time and that sound like fun. You may be able to pick up a few hours as a photographer’s assistant or caregiver for a few hours here and there. A friend of mine got a job as a receptionist at an assisted living facility for a shift that was only needed every other Saturday. She got to interact with a lot of interesting people and give some care and attention to people who needed it, while picking up a few hundred dollars a month with no stress at all.
Become a Reseller on Ebay – This one is a double-bonus if you have too much “stuff” in your house and would like to clear out some space! Ebay charges a fee on all completed sales, but it doesn’t cost anything to have an account and to list items, so you can’t lose by trying. Gather up things you no longer use and put them up for sale. Alternatively, if you enjoy rummage sales or antiquing, this is a way to indulge your hobby and get some money out of it instead of just spending and accumulating. You can even display your found “treasures” at home until they sell so you get to enjoy them.
Sell Your Creations on Etsy – Like Ebay, Etsy is an online marketplace, but instead of hosting auctions, the site hosts online stores selling handmade goods. If you knit, crochet, paint, sew, or make any kind of handcrafted items, Etsy is a terrific place to find buyers. They only charge a fee for items that sell, so again, it’s a low risk venture that can be creative and lucrative.
If your life has gotten a little routine, it can even be fun to try something new, and the reward of a fun mini-vacation doing something just because you want to is likely to be all the motivation you need to work some new things into your schedule. I hope you have a blast—both on your special trip and coming up with ways to get there.