If you’re pinched for cash, you’ve probably opted not to go on vacation this summer. Which is fiscally responsible (high five), but also, sigh, an emotional bummer.

Before the soundtrack to your life starts resembling R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts,” don’t lose all hope. What if we helped you find what you need to afford a small vacation? At least enough to treat yourself and your family for a couple of days?

If that sounds like a better plan than vacation deprivation, read on for our steps to pulling together $500 for a quick getaway.

Sweat for it

If you want it badly enough, you won’t mind a few extra hours of labor to earn all or part of $500. These days, the opportunities for side jobs are extensive — and growing all the time. The best part? You don’t even have to have a college degree or specialized skill set to do some of them.

  • Check out Uber or Lyft online for requirements of becoming a driver.
  • Look into Care.com if you would enjoy local child care, senior care or pet care opportunities.
  • Like to teach or mentor? Tutor.com is a service you could provide while making a little extra.
Keep the change

If you’re like many people, you have a designated coin jar where all the change in your pocket ends up (sometimes after a spin in the washer/dryer). In addition to cashing in the coin jar, you can also stow away the spare change from your debit card purchases in a separate account, thanks to modern technology. Mobile apps like Qapital let you round the change from your purchases up to the nearest dollar, then transfers the balance to a secure account.

That means the $4.75 you spend on a latte will set aside an extra .25 cents to your vacation fund automatically. Cha-ching! Automated saving is one of the easiest ways to watch your vacation fund grow incrementally.

Disclaimer: don’t fall into the trap of spending more money just because you want to see the leftover change round up to the nearest dollar — that defeats the purpose.

Say no to the non-essentials

Speaking of lattes (you knew this was coming), evaluating your non-essentials and eliminating those expenses for a period of time may help you save a wad of cash.

This weekend, sit down with your family and have each person choose one non-essential they’re willing to give up for a while in order to save more toward a small getaway. One less night of the week eating out, a trip to the salon, trading book purchases for library rentals and putting toys or video games on hold are a few of our suggestions.

Next, add up the approximate amount you’ll save collectively, get it (or part of it) out of the bank as cash and put it into a jar everyone can see. When you’re tempted to spend extra, let the jar remind you that the non-essentials money has been spoken for – and your exciting getaway is coming soon.

Sell some stuff

No, we’re not telling you to go pawn your valuables or have grandma’s gold necklaces melted into bars. Summer is the perfect time to scrounge up the things you no longer use or need for a yard sale or Craigslist trade.

The benefits are twofold: 1) get rid of some things that only take up space and 2) bring in some extra money. You may be surprised by how much money is lying around unused in your garage or shoved to the back of your closet. Your trash could be another man’s treasure – shrewdly redeemed for a treasure of your own.

mm

About the Author:

Megen Robbins

Megen Robbins is a contributing author to the Movement Blog, and has been a business writer for more than five years. She can't really remember what she majored in (public relations, FYI) or where she went to college (it was Auburn University), because having two children under age two removed most of her brain cells. Oddly, this also gave her the uncanny ability to string words together in ways that are playful and engaging enough to hold the attention span of just about anybody (including toddlers). When she’s not day-dreaming about alone time, Megen can be found volunteering at her church youth group.