How to Save for a Holiday When Living on a Tight Budget

How to Save for A Holiday When Living On A Tight Budget

Okay, you’re here because you want to go on a vacation but you’re currently living on a tight budget as it is – correct? That’s fine, because you know what? It’s totally doable!

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Holidays are not exclusive to those with large bank accounts. All it takes is some strategic saving and you’ll be on your merry way before you know it!

We’re a family of four living on a single income and we still manage to go on holidays. Wanna know the secret? We do Backwards Budgeting.


Backwards Budgeting is exactly as it sounds. You budget backwards – no hacks, super secrets, or anything like that.

Now put your holiday thinking cap on, get a pen and paper, and start scribbling! Here’s how we do it:


Okay, so I live in New Zealand right? And I’m in the North Island. Let’s say, my partner and I would to take our family of four on a holiday to Queenstown and other parts of the South Island – which we are. We’ve been saving for it! Last year, we went here!


This is the second step (not the first), because you need to be able to determine how much time you need to save after you have decided on where you want to go. Get it?

So – you want to go to the South Island. Now, decide when would you like to go. It’s important to be realistic here. If you say, “I want to go next month” – and you seriously have no budget for this, then you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment. Now why would you want to do that?

Be honest with yourself and be realistic in setting your time frame. Let’s say, you’ve decided to next year in March 2018. You’ve given yourself 6 months to save for the trip.

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Okay, so here’s what we know now – You want to go to the South Island in March 2018. You’ve got 6 months to save. What do you need to save for? What are the logistics involved?

  1. Do you travel by plane? By car?
  2. Do you need accommodation? Or are you staying with family?
  3. What about food? How much does food cost?

We use this a lot because we get to really plan things out from where we are staying, how we are getting there, and so much more.


Like I said, we use this because it helps us to identify what our costs are going to be.

Make sure you include the estimated costs of everything:

  • Accommodation
  • Travel – Car or Plane (We had to include both!)
  • Food (per day)
  • Entertainment (you’re on holiday after all, so there will be lots of this)
  • Buffer – this helps to account for anything unexpected or forgotten. So important!

Now, tally it all up. Our estimated budget came to $4,000 for a 2 week holiday in December.


So, now that you know what the estimated cost of your holiday is, you can begin budgeting backwards.

Let’s say, if like us, you need $4,000 by the time your holiday comes around, which is in 6 months’ time. What do you do?

Depending on when your household income comes through, you will need to save:

 $4,000 / 6 months

$667 per month

$334 per fortnight

$167 per week 


Alright – now you know that you need to save $4000 in 6 months’ time. That’s $667 per month, $334 per fortnight, or $167 per week. Okay?

Point of Interest: In New Zealand, wages are paid on a fortnightly basis for most. 

Now that you have your numbers, you can begin Budgeting Backwards.

Let’s say that your household earns $1500 per week. This means that you need to set aside $167 of that each week.

You might now be thinking – well I need that $167 and can’t afford to set that aside.

Here’s where you start reviewing your expenses. Do you recall when I talked about Fixed Costs and Variable Costs? If you missed that post, your can read it HERE. Go on… I’ll wait 🙂

So forget your Fixed Costs because it’s fixed, ya?

Focus on your Variable Costs – where can you cut back and get that $167 from? You’ll be surprised at where you can find this from. And why wouldn’t you? At the end of the six months, you’ll have that $4,000 for your well deserved holiday!

So there you have it, my lovelies – How to Save for A Holiday When Living On A Tight Budget in 6 Easy Steps!

Holiday – wahooo! Here we come!!

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How To Save for A Holiday When Living on a Tight Budget - This Blended Home of Mine - Vacation, Budget, Travel, How to Budget, How to Save, Save for Travel, Save for a Vacation
How to Save for a Vacation When Living on a Tight Budget - This Blended Home of Mine _ How to save for a holiday, How to save for a vacation, Money, Budget

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27 thoughts on “How to Save for a Holiday When Living on a Tight Budget

  1. I really enjoyed this post. I travel a lot and it’s ALL about having a plan, saving first and restricting all the goodies on the run up- to save more!

    1. Isn’t it so nice when you’ve achieved the savings part and find yourself on your way? We spend on experiences rather than material things xx

    1. It’s a lot easier than you think. Soon enough, you’ll be packing your bags and on your way. Congratulations on your new job! x

  2. Hello from a fellow kiwi! I love this idea, it makes a lot of sense too. I’m planning a trip next year so will definitely be putting this into practise. Thanks for the tips!

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