One of my very favorite things in life is going on vacation. It is getting very hard to do, now that my husband’s new job only allows 2 weeks off a year. He doesn’t even get the day after Thanksgiving/Christmas off. Only the holiday itself, so we can’t squeeze in a good sized mini-vacation. I wonder if maybe God is using this lack of time off to help us with saving for a house. We are currently renting (in a new state), and are saving to buy a house. I think we found a good area we are interested in living, and we are saving all we can. Not only for a down payment, but for an emergency fund as well. It is never a good idea to buy a home without having an emergency fund in place. You WILL have problems happen, you NEED to be prepared. Anyway, back to vacationing 🙂 We have decided to go away for just one night this month to the Great Wolf Lodge. We were able to save some money by only going for one night, and also by bringing our own food. It is incredibly expensive there. I am very excited for our mini-trip and we are still able to save, save, save, and not touch the money set aside for moving. We usually pay cash when shopping, so we save all our coins into what we call our “vacation jar”. This Friday we will be cashing it in, and that will be the kids spending money while we are on vacation. They throw their coins in there, and we are all excited to see how much they have to spend. This is a great way to save without thinking. We can easily save over $150 in the jar a year. And we don’t even notice it. You can save coins, not only for vacation, but for anything. If you need a new sofa, shoes, TV, whatever, start saving those coins. It can really add up quickly, and you won’t notice a dollar here or there that is now tucked away for a rainy day. If you don’t have the money to save for a real big vacation, try to find a fun hotel nearby, or a campground if you like. Save even $5 a week, and in a year, you will have $260 saved. You can find a cheap hotel on http://www.expedia.com, then call the hotel and see if they will give you an even cheaper rate. If you have AAA you can get the best prices out there. I have stayed at some very nice hotels for just $60/night. Bring a cooler with food, or grab a pizza for the family and you are all set to have a great family vacation for very little money. Even though our mini-vacation is only 2 days, I am sure it will be memorable. No cell phones allowed! Time to enjoy the family, face-to-face! We will be spending time making memories together, and having a blast at the pool will definitely be worth the small cost. Getting the kids excited for the trip is half the fun too! I have been telling them about all the fun things we can do together at the Lodge. They can’t wait to get packed up and head out! Don’t spend time feeling bad if you can’t afford something extravagant. Do what you can afford, be happy with what you get, don’t mope that it’s not a 3 week trip to Europe. Be excited that you get to spend time with the ones you love. Take some pictures, sit back and enjoy your family. The kids grow up way too fast!