Ready to plan your summer escape, but not sure how to pay for it? Try these strategies!

Start With A Spending Plan! Decide upfront how much you’ll spend on your vacation. Get specific.

Sacrifice Now For Your Fun Later! Do you belong to a health club or subscribe to a service (such as cable or satellite TV, a cell phone plan, etc.) that you no longer use, or could easily downgrade? How about giving up on specialty coffee once a week?

Use Your Tax Refund! Do you usually get an IRS refund in April? If so, too much tax money is being withheld from your paycheck. Fill out a new W-4 form with your employer right away. Adjust your tax withholding so that it’s fairly close to what you will owe in April. Your next paycheck should be substantially bigger. Start transferring the extra money into your dedicated vacation savings account or category. If you still get a refund this spring, sock it away, too. Heather Larson of Tacoma, Wash., puts her family’s refunds into short-term certificates of deposit that expire right before their vacation. That way, they don’t spend the money on anything else. You can locate the best rates in your area on

Eat Out Less! A typical family with kids younger than age 6 spends an average of $239 each month on restaurant meals, according to the National Restaurant Association. That’s money that could easily be diverted to your vacation fund.

Start A Vacation Fund! If you’re short on cash to pay for a trip, start a simple vacation fund. Open a travel savings account and transfer money once per week, once per month or on payday consistently and you could be on your way to paradise in no time.

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