There are those people who hold the belief that being on “vacation” from work means that they must leave their home and go somewhere…anywhere. And then there’s me – Cheapo Stacy. When I’m on vacation, I’d rather stay at home. When my husband is on vacation, I’d rather him stay at home. For some reason, vacations don’t relax me – they drain me. I always need a vacation from my vacation. And since Stacy and her money are not soon parted, I would rather keep my money than spend it on a hotel at the beach. Amen.
If you’re on a budget or saving up all your extra cash for an emergency fund, then you might not have the extra money to spend on a summer vacation. And let’s face it – with the price of gas these days, even going to the grocery store makes me want to cry my eyeballs out. Take heart! You can still take your vacation from work without going into debt and sending all your money to the Cayman Islands. Just do what we do – take a staycation.
Webster’s dictionary defines a “staycation” as “a vacation spent at home or nearby.” First, I must tell you that I’m shocked that this word even has a dictionary definition…but that’s a moot point. Second, I’ll tell you that you can STILL have fun staying at home. Yes, you still have the normal things to do, like laundry and making meals…but you have no real priorities for the day – and you can sleep in (unless you have children who are early risers). Below I’ll provide you with five cheap and free ideas for your staycation this summer. Being cheap can be fun – I’m living proof of that!
Five Ideas For Your Staycation
1. Camp out in the back yard. Our family goes camping every year…to a campground about 20 minutes away. You can do that, or you can just set up a tent in your back yard. Kids LOVE this! You have your food close by, but you can still grill out and eat outside…you can play outside games and have a campfire (unless you live in a condominium unit, then you might get a ticket). AND you don’t have to go pee-pee in a weird potty with lots of bugs on the walls. If you don’t have a tent, borrow one. Or, sleep in sleeping bags on your back deck.
Note: bugs live outside. I just wanted to give you a heads up.
2. Visit local free events. I find it sad that most people never check out the great local things they have. Instead, they seem to save them for visitors. In my neck of the woods, we have TONS of great things to do – lots of parks and museums that are just plain free. Make plans to take your family to see the local things you’ve never seen. Take them to a factory for a tour (Mayfield Dairy anyone?). Take them hiking at a local park.
Having a hard time finding your local events? Run by your Chamber of Commerce or check out their website. It’s a great resource for this type of information.
3. Visit a theme park that is close by…for the day. Yes, I realize that this one is not free. But, it’s a lot cheaper than driving to a destination that’s far away and THEN paying for a hotel stay. To make this option even cheaper, pack a cooler full of food so you can avoid restaurants.
Example – for us, Dollywood is a theme park that is easily reachable for a day trip. I’ve been there approximately 1 million times, so I likely won’t go again anytime soon. BUT, they offer the option that if you come after 3pm, your next day is FREE. Several theme parks offer this same deal. Then you can stay overnight in your car or find a cheapo hotel…and every person should have the experience of a cheapo hotel stay. Maybe sleeping in your car is a bad idea, unless you want to be murdered.
4. Have themed days at home. If you’re going to be on “vacation” from work for 7 days, why not make each day themed for the family? One day could be Movie Day where you sit around and watch classic movies and eat popcorn. Another day could be Water Day where you play in the water outside all day – use spray bottles and water balloons…and take a bath. Hey, sometimes a bath IS a luxury. Another day could be No Electricity Day where you attempt to see how long you can go without using electricity before you lose your mind. For this to work, you might have to flip your breaker box.
Note: The toilet still works when the power is off…thank goodness.
5. Make a list and do all those things you’ve been “meaning to do when I get around to it.” For us, this list is extensive. And let’s face it – when you’re working, sometimes those things get neglected. Wouldn’t it be nice to get them all done when you’re not in a hurry? Then you can go back to work and normal life with the satisfaction of knowing that those things are done.
Note: You DO need to make a list. Otherwise you’ll sit around all day and watch television and eat bonbons…then at 9pm you’ll wonder where the day went.