(Photo: Ben Bloom / Getty Images)By Jeff Yeager
More from The Green Cheapskate blog
The average American family plans to spend about $1,650 on summer vacation, according to a study by Visa. That's more than chump-change, particularly in these hard economic times.
Here are some simple ways to pump up your piggy bank so that your vacation is paid for before you ever leave home.
1. Choose tap water at restaurants
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most of us spend nearly 45% of our food budget on meals prepared outside the home. Cooking more meals at home can save you about 80% compared to restaurant meals, but -- even if you still want to eat out -- just by ordering tap water instead of overpriced beverages with your restaurant meals the average family of four can save about $800 a year ... nearly half of your vacation budget. I'll drink to that.
2. Turn down the hot water heater
Heating domestic hot water -- the water you use to bathe, wash dishes, etc. -- accounts for about 15% of