Would you rather go out to eat now, or would you like to go out to eat in Scotland? That’s a question my husband and I often ask each other when trying to decide to spend money or eat the food we’ve already paid for at home. Sometimes it’s easier to give in to something that seems small, like running through the drive-thru, when something we want seems so big. Scotland is a ways off for us but if we don’t start now we’ll never get there. Same thing for you. Here we are on week three, only six more weeks until your summer vacation you didn’t think you could afford!
Have the past two weeks of not going out to eat been challenging or have you gotten into a routine with it? Once you’ve done it for a while it becomes second nature. It’s been over a month since my boys have eaten at a restaurant, (unless you count eating at Costco on errand day) and they’ve asked for the past two days after swimming lessons if we can go out to eat. I simply remind them that we are about to go on our trip and we’ll be going out to eat then. That satisfies them and helps keep our budget on track.
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This week you are going to start making a list of all the things you want to do and see while on your vacation. Don’t leave for your trip without knowing what you’re going to be checking out. We’ve gone on trips with the idea of we’ll just see what there is to do when we get there and it’s a recipe for disaster if you’re traveling with kids.
One of the first places I look for ideas is in Frommer’s 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up (affiliate link). This guide is out of print but you can find used copies on Amazon really cheap. It doesn’t list every single thing to do in every single place ever, obviously, but it’s a good place to start looking for ideas. You likely already have some ideas of things you want to see but maybe there is something in the area you’re visiting that you haven’t heard of yet.
Next, I check out TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor has extensive lists of tourist attractions and restaurants for just about anywhere in the U.S. you could want to go. After I check TripAdvisor I go to the websites of places that look interesting. By checking out their website I can better decide if it’s something my family will want to spend our valuable vacation time on. I also go to check out their prices. Sometimes something that looks like a can’t miss quickly becomes a pass if the price tag is bigger than what we think it’s worth.
We wanted to tour the German submarine and the Coal Mine exhibits at the Science and Industry Museum in Chicago. When we realized how much of our travel time and budget it would take we decided to pass since we’ve already been on a sub in Galveston, TX for less than $30 and we were able to tour a real battleship as well. We haven’t been in a coal mine but since it’s an exhibit and not an actual old mine we decided that for $218 we would rather see if we can tour a real mine sometime on another trip.
The last thing I do is check out reviews. Reviews can be iffy so use discernment and don’t just read the good or just the bad. Read a few of each. There have been times that we knew we were going to do something but several bad reviews had the same theme so we decided to pass. I check TripAdvisor or do a Google search for reviews.
The Money Saving Task
In addition to keeping up with the past two weeks tasks, (check out Week One and Week Two if you missed them) this week you are going to be going through your home and picking at least 10 things each day to get rid of. In four weeks you will have collected at least 280 items to sell at your garage sale. I know you don’t want to mess with a garage sale but you have a huge chunk of your vacation fund sitting around your house collecting dust. If you sell 280 items for at least a $1.00 each you’re going to make $280. You might sell some things for $10 or 20 and make even more money to go towards your trip.
This week go through your kitchen and living room. Get rid of that blender you never use and all those movies you never watch. Have any furniture that’s in the way but you just don’t know what to do with it? GET RID OF IT! One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Be relentless when it comes to ridding yourself of junk. By getting rid of things you no longer use or want you’ll also be reminded to not buy something just because it catches your eye or because your child begged you for it. Buying something that isn’t needed may make you happy for a whole two minutes but saving money to go on a trip with your family will make memories and bring joy every time you think back on them. Do you want to be a collector of memories or of things?
Check out these links to help you have a successful garage sale:
10 Tips for Having a Successful Garage Sale -Money Saving Mom
My First Yard Sale -Living Well Mom
10 Tips to a Wildly Successful Garage Sale -Being Frugal
Only six more weeks and your on your way. Keep going, you can do this, the memories you make will be worth it!
You will leave this world with exactly what you came with. Nothing. Enjoy memories, not materials. -Austin Carlile
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