If you’re like me, trying to save money is like taking up a second job. However, having a vacation fund makes it possible to go on a last minute trip or a long-time dream vacation. Saving for vacation doesn’t happen overnight, but with a little bit of diligence, you can learn to rack up the cash and go on the getaway of a lifetime.

Find a Safe Place Today

For me–and many others–it’s much easier to save when I don’t have the money in my hands. Whether it works better for you to open up a separate savings account or create a secret stash of money around your apartment, start now! I find myself always making plans to save money tomorrow, next week, next time I get paid. It’s an ugly habit. Open an account that allows you to transfer money or put away cash on a daily basis. Even if you can only set aside a dollar a day, that’s equal to $365 a year! Another helpful tip is to ask your bank if they offer a “keep the change” program that automatically rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the “loose change” into your savings account.

Kick a Bad Habit

One of the best ways to save money is to kick a habit that requires you to dish out cash on a regular basis. A few years back, my father quit smoking and decided to calculate the amount of money he spent on cigarettes. It added up to a whopping $13 a day! Instead of heading to the convenience store each morning to pick up a pack of smokes, he stashed away $13 in a safe. Whether your vice is smoking, grabbing a morning coffee or eating lunch out regularly, you can save big bucks by giving it up and putting the money you would typically spend into a vacation fund. After four years of not smoking, just imagine how much my father has saved!

Set a Realistic Budget

Saving change is all well and good, but you’re not going to build up enough cash for a vacation in a year by just setting aside a dollar or two a day–so you need to set a budget. Determine the exact amount of money you need for your planned trip, including airfare, hotel, car, food and spending money, and calculate a plan within a desired time frame to reach your goal.

Now comes the point where you have to cut your expenses. Whether you choose to purchase generic instead of name brands, cut back on luxuries, opt for commuting via bike instead of a car, or resist the urge to get take-out on Friday nights, you can find ways to easily cut corners.

Have a Garage Sale

Sometimes all you need is a kick-start to get your savings into gear. Collect old clothes, furniture and other items that you can sell at a garage or sidewalk sale. Use this money to make a little nest egg for your vacation fund. Be sure to check any laws or regulations in your city before setting up shop in front of your building.

Where is your dream vacation spot?