Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday (Friday) Thrifty Tip: Affording Get-Aways
I'm often asked by friends and family, "How can you afford to get away for your anniversary?" And my response is always, "I CAN'T afford NOT to!"
Having a strong marriage is very valuable to me and my husband.
Through fat and even lean years, we have always gotten away from the demands of life (including kids) for at least one day to celebrate our marriage. Over the years we have enjoyed lovely Bed and Breakfast inns, Ireland castles, standard hotels, and even camping. We have always made it a priority even if we only spent $18 camping in a nearby camp site.
At the beginning of the year we set aside a projected budget (a couple of hundreds to thousands depending on the year's event) to save throughout the year. Unfortunately there are year's that we have to dip into this special savings for accidentals (major car repairs, overspending, etc), but we still get-away... even if it means we have to do it in a MORE frugal way.
As the time nears our anniversary we look at where we are on a financial standing to finalize our anniversary plans. We often receive price breaks by staying at the same inn for more than one night or by staying mid-week. In addition, we research the area for free attractions, events, and activities. Maybe there is some amazing hiking or biking trail (we grab our hiking gear or bikes), perhaps a cool museum (we look for 2-for-1 coupons) or maybe a great festival (we grab the sunscreen, walking shoes and a sack lunch). The key here is being flexible in your activities according to your budget and NOT overspend.
One of the biggest areas we save is curbing the amount we dine out on our anniversary. Let's face it...going out to eat can be such a huge part of any vacation budget. Over a course of three days to a week we may only go out to eat 2-3 times the entire time, but it saves us money in the long run. (Big tip: Save big at least $5 on your restaurant bill by ordering only water...try it next time!) Instead, we pack a cooler full of snacks, lunches and drinks to sustain us throughout our trip.
For example, this year on Lummi Island we purposely picked the farm cabin which had a kitchenette, allowing us to have supper in the privacy of our cabin. We took advantage of the free breakfast at the main lodge that came along with our suite, packed sack lunches while we explored beaches and rode our bikes around the island, and snacked on our food...not some expensive food joint.
All in all we had a wonderful retreat, reconnected as a couple, relaxed and read in our cozy cabin, explored the island via bikes, but didn't break our "piggy bank".
From inside the little blue bungalow,