Disclaimer: Every once in a while I write a post where I later realize it’s taken me 10 paragraphs to get to the point. This is one of them. What started out as a brief introduction, turned into my life story. If you’re here looking for ways to save on spring break travel, scroll to the bottom!
Almost 10 years ago I became a stay at home mom. (That number blows my mind. Really, 10 years? I had to ask my husband just to be sure. Holy cow!) Anyway, at that time we’d recently moved. Not only were we transitioning to a new state where we didn’t know anyone, but we also transitioned from two incomes to one. I had my newborn and A LOT of time on my hands.
One way I could “contribute” to our family finances was to become extremely disciplined about our grocery budget. Prior to having a baby we were the type of people who went to the grocery store almost every night after work. We’d stand in the aisles together and say “what do you want for dinner tonight?” More often than not we’d end up undecided or it would get late and we’d eat out. With a new baby and a single income, that lifestyle changed QUICKLY!
Right around this time the nation’s economy tanked, gas prices soared and couponing became super trendy. I stumbled on a blog called Money Saving Mom…and really, the rest is history! Daily I checked the site and copied the blogger’s savviness. I often went to 4-5 different stores every week to purchase various groceries at the best deals with a binder full of coupons. (And honestly, I appreciated the human interaction too. I spaced out my trips so I could get out of the house at least once a day. Oh, those early mom days!)
Can I just take a time-out to point out HOW much time I spent doing this? We’re talking HOURS printing coupons, clipping them from circulars, organizing them in a binder and then making my grocery lists. What I wouldn’t give to have that much time these days! I even organized all my groceries on the counter and photographed them. I’m not entirely sure why I bothered with that step as I wasn’t blogging about my savings. At that time, though, if Crystal (author/creator of Money Saving Mom) did it, I did it too.
Fast forward quickly through the years. We’ve moved 4 more times and added another baby. Needless to say, my life has changed a lot. Most weeks it’s all I can do to get to the grocery store and remember to take the groceries out of the back of the car when I get home. (Surely I’m not the only one who forgets about the groceries right after I leave the store?) Although I don’t always make time to search for the best deals, I still really enjoy reading Money Saving Mom regularly. Crystal’s life has changed a lot too since she began the site. Her insights are often very inspiring.
All of this to say, over the weekend I was honored to be featured on the Money Saving Mom website! The site published an article I wrote called “10 Ways To Save On Spring Break Travel.” The post is full of great ways to avoid overspending on your spring break plans. As a bonus to my followers, I want to include 2 bonus tips in addition to the link.
Read the first 10 tips on Money Saving Mom (here) and then 2 more ways to save:
11. Reciprocal Programs: Be sure to take advantage of any reciprocal programs where you may already be a member. Most zoos, aquariums, museums and amusement parks offer reciprocal or discounted tickets if you have a membership to your local one. Do your research!! Will joining a local location save you money if you are traveling to another city?!?
12. Staycation: If you’ve read through all these suggestions and still know a vacation is out of the question, consider a themed staycation. Without even leaving the house your kids can go on a fabulous imaginary vacation. Plan a few meals that fit your dream location (it can be as simple as serving fish sticks to pretend you’re at the beach, or Chicago-style hot dogs to pretend you’re in the Windy City!) Put on bathing suits, and throw your kids in the bathtub with a few beach toys. Rent a movie, read books and do a craft with a destination in mind. There is really no limit to this staycation. And, as a bonus, you can make it extremely educational for your children by incorporating some great learning opportunities about the different locations you “visit” in your imagination!
Do you have any other tips for saving money on Spring Break travel?