Hello everyone, hope your week is going well! August seems to be flying by just like July did. This means that my vacation draws closer each day, so I don’t mind. In just a week and a day I will be flying down to visit my parents for the first time in their new home. I managed to convince my grandma (well, it wasn’t that difficult) to come with me, to make things even better. I am not really a fan of flying – I’ve only been on two trips that involved airplanes – so I am glad that I didn’t have to go alone.
As I’ve said before, I only get one week of vacation a year, so it is important to make the most of it. I am not sure when I will be able to visit my parents again, which makes me more motivated to get the most out of this visit as possible. Since I am still in the process of paying my student loan debt off, I wanted to have as frugal a vacation as possible. Here are some ways I plan on making sure I don’t go crazy with spending!
How I’m going to have a frugal vacation
- As I see it, I already spent $230 toward my frugal vacation as that was the cost of the plane ticket. This is an extra motivator for me to keep my spending minimal, because that definitely counts toward the overall cost. Ideally, I am hoping to not go very far past $300.
- I am going to eat out as little as possible. This may not be up to me as my mom wants to take us around and try out a few restaurants, but most of these meals should be on the cheaper side. I would rather have my mom’s cooking anyway, I miss it!
- Don’t act like a tourist. My parents live in a a prime vacation spot, and as such, there are a lot of tourist attractions and tons of souvenir shops on every highway (I’m not kidding, I don’t know how they survive with so much competition). While they are relatively cheap, I have no need to bring extra things home with me. I am already being limited in what I can take by Spirit Airlines anyway, and I have no desire to be charged for my bag on the way back. As for touristy events, I’m there to visit family, not to go crazy trying to see all the sights. I am sure I will be back as my parents aren’t moving again, so I have no need to keep myself busy with all that. I’m aiming for quality family time!
- Helping my parents decorate. My mom wants me to help her decorate the house. As it stands, everything is white. Everything. It annoys me and I am not even there. So it is my job to bring in some color and spiff the place up on a budget. It is always fun to shop for others when you’re not footing the bill! Of course, I will try and be frugal here as well, since my parents don’t want to spend too much. They have already spent quite a bit on new furniture, but they do need paint, accent rugs, and a new floor in their lanai. I imagine this will take a few days while we visit various stores to get ideas.
- Hit the beach. This is sadly something I have been slacking off on all summer. I am surrounded by water where I live, but haven’t been taking advantage of it. While it’s not free here, it is by my parents, and I can only deal with the pool for so long before I yearn for the calming waves of the ocean. My family are not beach-goers but I plan to force them to go at least once! They cannot live where they do and not experience it.
- Take advantage of the community. My parents pay a hefty HOA fee, but they have a lot of activities in their little community. They have a state of the art gym, pool, zumba, yoga, strength training, water aerobics, and fun events. I plan on going to a few classes with my mom, possibly using the gym, and going for a daily walk around their development. They are having a Labor Day party at night, but I’m not sure if we are going yet.
- Plan ahead. My mom is going to be scoping out things going on the week we will be there, just in case there are any free events happening. Since it is the end of summer, things are dying down by them, but I don’t mind. My mom got her hands on a bunch of coupon books for discounts on the touristy stuff a few weeks back, so we can look through that as a reference. We will probably do a few tourist things, since my grandma has never been there before. I have been twice, and besides going jet skiing (which no one else in my family would do), nothing in particular is calling me back. It will be up to my grandma, whose eyes lit up at the mention of a casino cruise (she loves to gamble – responsibly!).
- Visit my aunt and uncle. My dad’s brother made the move several years ago and now lives near my parents. We plan to have dinner with them one night and possibly spend a day at their place. I haven’t seen them in at least seven years, and my grandma can’t remember the last time she saw them. I was never that close with my dad’s side because he was never really close with them, but since moving, things have changed for the better. My dad is becoming more social, which is kind of amusing.
- Network. My parents have already been getting to know the people in their community, and I am sure it would be beneficial to reach out to a few of them to build connections. If we do move down there, it could come in handy! Additionally, I’d like to look at the surrounding areas from a renters point of view to see where we might like to live. I’m getting a little ahead of myself here, but I would be thrilled if we could move there, so I may as well make sure it is an area we would enjoy. Things can take on a different view when you’re a tourist versus someone paying to live there.
Will I be able to vacation frugally?
So the take away here is to spend my time, and not my money. Or at least that’s how I would like to look at it. I am going to take a lot of pictures and create some fun memories. I am glad I get free room and board with my parents, as hotels can sometimes be costly. I didn’t like the price of the plane ticket as it is, so I really don’t feel like extending my “budget” for this vacation. Oh yes, I don’t really have one – that’s how confident I am that I won’t need one. I will still track my spending, don’t worry, but I don’t really feel the need to limit myself. I can’t imagine what I would possibly want to spend on while visiting them anyway, and I haven’t been on a vacation in two years. Last time I was, I wrote down every expense, and it took away from the vacation and got tiring after about the first day. I really don’t want to be distracted away from the purpose of visiting my parents by worrying about money. I am determined not to let that happen. While visiting family, it can also be easy to fall back into old habits and take it for granted as you’re so comfortable around each other, but I would prefer that we enjoy the company while we can.
Have you had a frugal vacation lately? Maybe a stay-cation? What were your plans, and did you spend as little as you hoped?