Frugal Ways to Get-Away
Husband and I sit in a bench in front of the zoo and watch as our daughters walk from the parking lot pushing strollers before them. Our hearts swell with appreciation for our precious ones and we look forward to an afternoon with them in the zoo. Greeting them with smiles and entering through the gates, we are most appreciative of the zoo pass given to us by all of our children as a Christmas gift. They know spending time with little ones is one of our favorite things to do.
This afternoon is a culmination of several days away together. A delayed celebration of our 31st anniversary and a testimony to Husband's getting us away on the cheap has been thoroughly enjoyed. One of the parts we like best is that all our expenses have been covered with careful planning and the finding of some deals.
Not quite as big of a trip as our 3oth anniversary celebration, Husband still wanted to be sure to find a way to get some time together for talk, planning and enjoying each other's company. So when a Groupon came through in his email, he decided to take advantage of a half-price Bed and Breakfast special about an hour and half from our home. Because we do not use Groupon unless we have already purposed to do something, he also had a $15.00 incentive towards a purchase. We have a small vacation fund in our budget and had a balance left from last year which covered the Groupon deal.
We also use a credit card with a rewards program. As we are debt free and have purposed to remain so, we pay off any credit card charges on a monthly basis. Most of our household expenses are paid by cash or debit card, but we use the credit card for gas and a few other purchases. Husband has saved up our rewards credit through the year and this is the money that covered our gas, simple meals and other expenses for our cheap get away.
I packed several salad in a jar to keep in the small refrigerator in our get- away room and we took some nuts and pita chips to have for snacks. We also purposed to keep our meals eaten out simple and actually shared a sandwich on one day with special hot drinks. We found eating out lunches to be the most economical and eating our salads in the evening when back to the room worked well. One day we stopped and picked up a bottle of sparkling grape juice and a dark chocolate bar as an added treat.
We visited a historical site on our way to the Bed and Breakfast and the following day went to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. Husband was thrilled to find out that the month of January was free. Now, I must confess that I am sure this is because there were no wildflowers to see. However, we found the opportunity to roam the grounds with nary another soul in sight a delightful way to get some exercise. Having access to the staff without competition and eating a delicious lunch in the cafe with a waitress who had time to chat and tell us when to come back to visit when the flowers would be out and the place not too crowded another bonus to our off season visit.
As we sat on swings in the gardens under a grove of beautiful old oak trees, Husband suggested that I write and be sure to let my frugalhacks readers know that vacation and get-aways can be most economical when done off season. I then reflect on how in years past when parents of younger children and when given the opportunity to get a week away, we would always do so when school was in session. (We homeschooled and had this freedom.) Accommodations were so much cheaper and the crowds minimal. Sometimes it was just a weekend that we could afford but we always had some interesting experiences. I remember some years ago when we lived on the East Coast, a weekend at the beach in January afforded us the amazing memory of walking on the Ocean City boardwalk in the snow! Pictures of our family bundled up in winter coats, hats and mittens in front of the ocean are unique to be sure.
And yes, there are seasons when a get-way may mean putting up a tent in the living room or roasting marshmellows over a campfire in your backyard. These are actually get-away ideas Husband and I are planning for our "Cousins Camp" visits when our grandbabies get older.
Any frugal get-away memories to share?