Almost a year ago my family took a vacation to Disney World. Everyone was excited about the vacation, so my husband and son helped me save money for the last few months before the vacation. We paid close attention to what we spent money on, used lots of coupons, and enjoyed watching our vacation savings grow. After the vacation, we tried to get back onto that track in an effort to get out of debt faster, but we just never made it stick. My husband and I were talking about it, and decided that getting out of debt, just to be out of debt wasn't concrete enough for us, and especially not for Elliott.
So we've made new financial goals, that will hopefully help us to get out of debt faster, and enjoy a vacation along the way! We are going to Missouri in early June anyway, to celebrate my dad's 65th birthday. My husband's sister is supposed to fly out and see us while we are there, and my husband would really like to spend at least one day in a nearby theme park with her. There's also a Legoland Discover Center that will be open in Kansas City by then, and since Elliott is really into legos right now, we thought we might try to do that as well. Since it won't have been open very long, we'll have backup plans in place, but hopefully the Discovery Center will work out.
In order to do the fun things we want to do, we have to get rid of a set dollar amount of debt, and save in our vacation fund for the fun things. We were going to take money out of our tax return to pay for the vacation, but I think it will work better if I work hard at paying off a specific debt, and then saving for the vacation, before moving on to focus heavily on the next debt.
We've actually already started planning for our next big vacation, too. We're really hoping to do it next summer, but before we do that, we have to be debt free other than our mortgage, plus of course have the cash available for the vacation. I think having set goals (including a set amount we need for the vacation) will help us stick to the budget much more closely than just saying "We want to be out of debt by next April."