Before I met and married Dalton I was a big spender.
I mean, I only made a whopping $5,000 a year but when my gas tank was full, college books purchased and I had an extra $15 bucks I forgot to save and blew my fortune on things like Dr. Pepper and Walmart flats.
Needless to say, my marrying my money-savvy Husband has been a big blessing.
We decided long ago that we would not go in to debt — no matter the reason. So, we budget, plan and save. We have allotted amounts for everything: gas, groceries, utilities, tithe, rent, and “fun money.” Because we’ve made it a goal to stay within the budget we are able to plan for future adventures like babies, vacations and car purchases. And because my Smart Man plans ahead we’re able to enjoy the adventures without the fear of going over budget or into debt.
Recently, we went to Branson, Missouri on a three day excursion; it was a lot of fun especially since we went with D’s momma, sister and her family. We really had a great time! And without a doubt, one of the biggest blessings of the trip was knowing we could enjoy ourselves without worry since we had planned ahead and would make budget-friendly decisions throughout our stay.
Here are three tips we used to not break the bank while enjoying our vacation:
1. Book your hotel ahead of time and be okay not staying at the ritz
Originally, we planned to take this trip with a few more family members and at a different hotel. Plans changed and some decided they wouldn’t be able to make it. My mother-in-love looked into the current hotel booked … at least $400 for three days just for D and I. Whew!
She and I agreed to look around for other budget-friendly options and soon I found a $40 a night hotel (with breakfast provided!) right next to Branson’s busiest street. $120 for a three night stay looked a lot more friendly than $400.
The hotel was a welcoming place. Sure, it wasn’t near as nice as our previous arrangements but it was incredibly clean, had friendly service and a waffle maker. Yum!
(p.s. some of our family pulled an excellent money saver and brought along lunch meat, snacks for the kiddos and water. They stored this in the room’s fridge and ate one less meal out. Smart! 🙂
2. Set an established budget for fun
Weeks before we left, D and I had been setting aside money for our vacation. We knew that we wanted to be able to have fun without wondering where the money was coming from.
We also knew that it would be best not to go hog-wild so after rounding up our saved pennies we divided the money equally and aimed to stay within the set amount We knew exactly how much money could spend each day. Our meals were split down the middle taking an equal amount from each other’s portions. The rest we spent individually on what we wanted without worrying about the bank. That’s why I was able to get my toes done with the girls and he was able to buy protein powder without blinking an eye. 😉
3. Shop around
Because several of our party were female, particularly females who live in small country towns hours away from shopping malls, we spent a good deal of our vacation browsing sales racks, outlet stores and looking for deals we couldn’t pass.
(aka we had a lot of fun.)
I was in the market for a pair of Sanuk sandles (my other shoes were three-years old and wore out) and found them at Branson’s Landing but wasn’t sure how prices compared. It was a big blessing to be able to look around at other shops, compare prices and designs before I went back and bought the original pair. And while looking around isn’t always worth the money you save it can be helpful.
Because we planned ahead, booked a clean but cheap room, set a vacation budget and shopped around we were able to have a wonderful, fun vacation without the stress of going into debt or over budget.
I definitely hope we do something like this again!
Question: How do you save money for your adventures?
With lots of love, blessings and coffee!