First of all, thank you to Meg for giving me this post idea. I need an inspiration now and again.
When you are living on a tight budget in order to pay for the necessities it can be hard to envision your family being able to buy a nonessential item or going on a vacation. We have our strategies that allow us to indulge ourselves from time to time.
You have to add a line item to your budget for a vacation/special purchase account. We have a credit union account that my DH's gas reimbursement check (from work) is direct deposited into. We don't see the money at all, it isn't readily available via check or debit card for us to spend on something else. After a year of saving we usually have enough money for a small vacation. WE NEVER GO INTO DEBT FOR A VACATION OR LUXURY PURCHASE!
Another idea is to tone down your vacation expectations. You may not be able to go away from home. Traveling away from home, with it's hotel and restaurant expenses, can be very expensive. Do you have a friend or relative that will welcome you as a guest in their home? You can reciprocate by letting them stay in your home at a later time. How about a staycation? That is vacationing in your own home, while visiting local museums, parks and other attractions.
Everyone in my family receives an allowance each week, even Mom and Dad. The allowance is one of our budget line items. We are able to spend or save this money as we wish. All of us save a portion of our allowance to purchase something that we really want. After saving for several years I was recently able to purchase a laptop for my blogging and writing.
Our vacation/luxury savings are seldom tapped to make an emergency purchase. This is because we also have a budget line item and savings for emergency repairs and purchases.
If you don't think you have any room in your budget for another savings account I would like you to look closely at your life. Can you save any money by brown bagging your lunches? Can your family get along with one car? Can you put aside the money you save with your coupons? Get creative. Even if it is just pennies saved it will accumulate and in a few years you will be able to indulge yourselves.