Ringing in the new year is about new resolutions and, like most of us, evaluating things like your finances. But if you’ve always dreamed of a safari in Africa or a ski trip to Europe - it doesn’t have to be out of reach in 2012.
Once-in-a-lifetime vacations can easily cost thousands - even tens of thousands - of dollars, but knowing how to cut back on everyday living expenses can help save money and turn your fantasy vacation into reality.
Teri Gault, CEO and founder of TheGroceryGame.com says dream big and then make it happen this year. The money-saving guru tells Fox News Traveler ten ways to save for the ultimate trip. These tips may not bring an immediate windfall, but saving a little here and a little there adds up, says Gault. Through simple cost cutting and discipline, she says, a family of four to save up to $2000 --enough for plane tickets or several nights at a nice hotel.
Tip 1: Commit to coupons. From car washes to dry cleaning, look for a coupon wherever you’re spending money. Gault says you could save $60 a month by using a coupon everywhere from the movie theaters to restaurants.
Tip 2: Hit the web before the store. Gault says shopping strategically at the grocery store can save a family of four possibly $500 a month. Websites like TheGroceryGame.com show advertised sales and unadvertised sales as well as information about where to find coupons to enhance the deals.
Tip 3: Cut the engine. Use local transportation or carpool whenever possible. To see how much you’re spending on your daily commute, visit www.CostofCommuting.com. Gault says the average commuter could save $30 a week.
Tip 4: Brown bag it. Skipping your morning coffee or lunch out could add up towards your trip quickly. Gault says you don’t even have to necessarily make a lunch. She encourages people to bring a frozen meal to work for lunch, a water bottle with a filter to avoid buying countless water bottles and a coffee thermos to cut out overpriced latte runs - saving up to $200 a month for two people.
Tip 5: Eat at home. Gault says the average American family eats dinner out three times a week. Gault says cutting back to just one night out a week could save a family of four $400 a month.
Tip 6: Say no to paper. Suspend your newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Gault tells Fox News this could save some families $40 a month.
Tip 7: Sell stuff. Make a commitment to sell an amount of things you don’t need each week. Instead of or in addition to a garage sale, use Craigslist or Ebay. Gault says you’ll be surprised at how many things you don’t use or wear are in your home. She says the profit could easily be up to $200 a month.
Tip 8: Date night in. Instead of going to the theater, rent a movie, borrow from a friend or from your local library. Gault says if you cut premium cable channels as well - you could save more than $100 a month.
Tip 9: Cancel your gym membership. But first, find a friend to do the buddy system with so you don’t stop working out. Free cell phone apps can provide workout ideas and programs. Gault says two people can save possibly $80 a month by skipping the gym and working out at home.
Tip 10: Bring your bills down. Lower your home energy consumption by adding weather stripping, adjusting your thermostat and closing vents in rooms your don’t use often. Gault says you could cut your energy bill by 25 percent or more - saving up to $200 a month.