Do the sweet memories of your vacation tarnish a bit when you start getting the credit card bills for it the month after you return home, or as you spend a year paying off your trip from last year? Imagine how differently you would feel if there were no bills to come home to!

The best way to steer clear of anxiety and guilt is to save for your trip before ever heading out the door. This will result in a more enjoyable vacation because you’ll already have the money set aside and won’t have to worry.

It’s easy to save for a vacation if you set a goal, cut back on your spending, and save money on a regular basis.

Follow these tips to budget and save for your next vacation:

1. Agree on a goal. Get together with the family and agree on a vacation destination. Saving is rarely exciting, but once it’s attached to an objective, it becomes tolerable.

2. Develop a vacation budget. If you want to save painlessly, a budget helps. Based on your destination, create a reasonable budget. Be certain to include everything. If someone needs to care for your dog and cut your grass, include it. Take the time to be accurate.

3. Calculate a weekly goal. Divide your budget by the number of weeks until your vacation. That’s how much you need to save each week. Saving weekly makes it easier to get back on track if you miss a target. If you’re an entire month behind, it’s more challenging to get caught up.

4. Find ways to “create” some excess money. Make a detailed list of your monthly expenses and see where you can cut back. Everyone buys things that are “wants” rather than needs.

* Food is one area where most families spend too much. Avoid eating out more than necessary and make an effort to shop more economically. Packaged foods tend to be more expensive than the healthier alternatives.

* Consider ditching your landline or any other service you don’t really use. You, your spouse, and maybe even your children have cell phones. Do you need a landline, too? What about that gym membership? Are you using it regularly?

* Look at the loans you’re carrying. If you haven’t checked the interest rates lately, you might be able to save a significant amount by refinancing.

5. Put away the money you save on cutting back. It’s one thing to cut your cell phone bill or loan payment down. It’s another to actually take that $50 and set it aside so it won’t be spent. Create a savings account and simply transfer the money you’ve saved into it each week.

* Consider having some money automatically transferred into a “vacation savings account” each month.

* Try throwing all your change into a jar at the end of each day and deposit it into your vacation account whenever it gets full.

6. Assess your progress. Regularly check on the status of your savings. Look at the calendar and see how you’re doing in regards to your savings target. Then, make any necessary changes.

Saving for a vacation can be easy and painless. It all starts with a goal and a budget. With those two items in place, you can determine how much you need to save and implement your plan. Have the best vacation ever without having to worry about spending outside your means!