My family and I enjoyed vacation last week in our RV. In retrospect, I realize we spent very little during the week compared to past vacations. Here are six quick ways we saved money – and lived more simply as well.
We took a “staycation.” Our original plan was to drive the RV elsewhere for our vacation. Instead, we decided to stay put in the RV on the lot we own. We avoided a hefty rental cost for a different location for our RV, and of course we also saved on gas.
We took evening walks. In the past, we’ve rented movies for some evening entertainment. Last week, however, we didn’t. Instead, my husband and I took multiple walks throughout the day with our dog and our daughter joined us some of the time. However, we decided to all commit to a last big dog walk together after sunset. We were able to walk more leisurely and enjoy nice conversations as well as a bit of after-dinner exercise.
We completed two enormous jigsaw puzzles. Instead of spending money on entertainment elsewhere, we found two puzzles in the RV that we’d never tackled before. We set to work and were totally immersed without needing other sources of entertainment.
We used a water filter jug. It’s summer in the South, and it’s tempting to have cold bottles of water at the ready. Instead of repeatedly buying bottles, we filled (and filled, and filled, and filled!) our water filter jug straight from the tap and kept it in the refrigerator. Cold water was always available, we didn’t spend additional money on bottled water, and we didn’t add plastic bottles to the landfill.
We ate sandwiches. The heat also meant neither Greg nor I was interested in cooking or grilling much, so we ate most of our meals right out of the refrigerator. One of my fondest memories of summertime when I was growing up was the big spread my grandmother would put out for lunch on the picnic table. We followed her example and had deli and salad fixings on hand for a speedy meal. Knowing our lunch was conveniently accessible, we also avoided stopping for fast food.
We hit “happy hour.” When we did dine out, it was usually our evening meal. We headed out early to take advantage of restaurants’ featured happy hours. Since Greg and I both like adult beverages with dinner, happy hour specials helped us keep the cost down. We also didn’t need a big evening meal, so we were perfectly content to share a couple of appetizers as a family.
None of these things is shocking and new. But as I was reviewing our week’s expenses, it was obvious some expenses were absent or far lower than they usually are for a vacation. We treated ourselves to some restaurant dining, but our totals for the week were far less than usual.
Other than the decision to staycation, we didn’t intend to consciously save money. It just happened. Now I am motivated to purposefully behave this way on future trips. It could make for a fun challenge!
The other unintentional, but welcome, benefit was that most of our decisions led to healthier choices. I think this is well worth repeating in the future.
How do you save money when you vacation? Does it take the fun out of vacation or does it make for a fun challenge?