Denise and her family had never been on a vacation.
Although she and her husband work hard to provide for their kids, there never seems to be any money left over.
So during our Purple Friday giveaway — when we helped readers spend time, instead of money — she asked for a family trip.
Here are the heartwarming results.
Their First Ever Family Vacation
“My husband and I work hard every day trying to create a wonderful life for our two children… They both have epilepsy and life has been tough for us at times,” Denise wrote in her entry.
They manage to maintain a positive attitude and spend lots of quality time together, but one thing’s eluded them.
“I always hear about other families going on vacations and even weekend getaways,” she wrote.
“And I have to admit it makes me UNBELIEVABLY jealous that — even though we are able to provide a good life for our kids — we have never been able to save for a family vacation of any sort.”
So she asked for a “chance at giving my family a weekend of fun, laughter and memories that will last forever.”
We were more than happy to make that wish come true, and sent them on a weekend getaway to an indoor waterpark.
They had an “amazing” time, Denise reports.
“It was awesome!” she says. “Honestly, the best part about it was just watching the kids loving it all. They loved the waterpark, the arcade, the tubing, and the whole family’s favorite thing was the Nor’easter Mountain Coaster!”
“I’ve always loved The Penny Hoarder,” she says, “and now it goes to show what a great presence it really is in people’s lives.”
How You Could Save for a Weekend Getaway
If you’re sitting over there saying: “That sounds so cool! Why didn’t I get a vacation?” I’ve got some good news for you: All told, this quick family vacation cost around $1,000.
Which, of course, is a lot of money to save — but not impossible if you start early.
Let’s say you want to take a vacation at this time next year. To save $1,000 over the next 11 months, you’d have to save around $90 per month, or $23 per week.
That doesn’t sound so daunting, does it?
To go on a weekend getaway a year from now, you’d need to pop $25 into a jar each week.
Or create a biweekly withdrawal into a separate savings account, automatically socking away $50 every time you get paid.
Because the look on these kids’ faces when we told them they were going on vacation?
Your Turn: Will you start saving up for a family vacation?
Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.