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Here are some ideas to help you create a savings plan.  Whether you want to go on a dream vacation or save money for any big expenditure, try following these steps. Check out the simple budget worksheet in the Related Content section for help.

Step One
Of course, you won't be able to dip your toes in the water until you first set your sites on how much your piece of paradise will cost.  Tally up your transportation, hotel, dining and entertainment cost estimates, and then divide this figure by the number of months until you'd like to take this trip.  Now you should have a clear idea of just how much you need to set aside.  

Step Two
Consider opening a separate checking or savings account for your vacation.  Make sure you don't have easy access to it via your other accounts, debit card or checks so you won't be tempted to dip into this reserve.  

Set up automatic deposits into your vacation fund. Transferring money directly into this account automatically from your paycheck will be a great way to ensure the account balance continues to grow (before you have a chance to spend the money on something else!).  

Expecting a tax refund?  Decide now just how much of the refund will go towards your trip.

Step Three
Sign up for email alerts from travel websites, airlines or other deal sites.  You may just find your dream vacation will cost less than you thought!  

Consider all-inclusive (flight, hotel, meals) packages which may give you the security of knowing there won't be unknown costs you didn't anticipate.  

Think about traveling during non-peak times in order to pay off-season prices.  

Step Four
Cut expenses where you can.  Perhaps a sack lunch instead of buying lunch, or office coffee instead of stopping at the corner espresso stand.  

For gift-giving occasions, consider giving your services (babysitting, pet sitting, yard work, cooking, photography, etc.) instead of spending money on gifts.  

For entertainment, think about cutting cable and streaming movies online instead.  Go to the library to rent books or movies.  

Make a point to deposit your 'savings' weekly or monthly into your vacation fund.  

Step Five
Do some spring cleaning (regardless of the season!) and sell your unwanted items online, via consignment or in a garage sale.  

Step Six
Create a coin jar for all of your excess change.  Use coupons (paper or online) when you shop at the grocery store, and add the savings to your coin jar.  Take the jar to your financial institution and deposit the coins into your account.  You'll be surprised how fast that change can add up.  

Enjoy your trip -- or whatever you're saving for -- and when you get back, keep these savings tips going.