As you know, we’re really tring to cinch up the ol’ belt around these parts.
So, when vacation time started rolling around, I knew I would need to pinch pennies, budget, and have enough cash on hand to not use any form of plastic. Obviously, this took a lot of prior planning.
One way I keep myself organized is with my handy-dandy binder. I found this before we went on our honeymoon, and it’s been very handy for all of our travels since that time.
I believe I found it at Wal-Mart…it’s a plastic binder, with plastic folders inside. Each folder has a pocket on the front and back…so there’s plenty of storage space.
The first folder has the directions to our Bed & Breakfast destination, along with our reservation paperwork. The little pocket has our gas money in one envelope, along with the cash I used to buy our lunch food.
Yep, that’s the first step I made towards saving money. I borrowed a little cooler from my parents and stocked it with sandwich stuff and bottled water. Then I loaded up our newest pinic basket with chips, bread, oreos, and paper goods. The plan is to eat a picnic lunch each day we’re gone…I figure this will save us somewhere around $50!
As for our bed & breakfast, I cashed in a Groupon for the “Serentiy Farmhouse Inn” in Wimberly, TX. Valued at $511, I paid only $199 for a 2-night stay, complete with a farm-fresh breakfast each morning and fresh flowers in our room.
Oh, and yes, also in this folder is a coupon for the cute little brick-oven pizza place we’re going to eat at on our first night. score!
The second folder has our plans for the second day. We’re going to visit the Natural Bridge Caverns and Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch near San Antonio, TX. Besides our directions, I have the tickets I paid for online for the caverns (they had a discount that way!), the cash we’ll need, and a coupon to use for our admission at the Wildlife Ranch.
Love those coupons!
The third folder has our directions, tickets, and cash (in a plastic baggie of course!) for Schlitterbahn. I was able to get a fairly decent discount on Schlitterbahn tickets through my teacher association. I’m also excited that they’ll let people bring in coolers w/ food and drinks, so that will save us a lot of money while we’re in the park!
After Schlitterbahn I booked a hotel room for us at a La Quinta about 30 miles up the road. That little bit of distance saved us about $40, plus I was able to get an additional discount through my teacher union. Woo-hoo!
The most exciting part about that pocket is the envelope of cash to pay for our hotel room. It feels awesome to be able to pay with cash for a room!
The last pocket is directions to get us back to my parents house so that we can pick up our little pup and visit with the fam for a couple of days. We so appreciate them taking care of Huxley for us…they aren’t “housedog” people, so it really means a lot.
The last envelope includes a few additional coupons I found, in case we need them, and an envelope of cash for our food money. My goal is to come home with some cash leftover…wouldn’t that be sweet?!
Most of the trip was funded by the earnings I made working at camp a few weeks ago, supplemented by some of our grocery and gas money that was already planned for this pay period. I estimate (only because I’m not feeling like doing anything above kindergarten math right now) that the 4-day trip will cost somewhere between $500-$600. Perfect, since I earned $605 from camp!
I know others could have probably taken this trip even cheaper, but for me…it’s a start. (Especially considering last year our vacation cost over $1000!) I’m looking forward to getting away with the husby and showing him a little more of Texas.
And I’m pretty proud that the vacation won’t follow us home. (i.e. – no credit card bills to pay it off!) 😉
KEEP CALM & TRAVEL ON A DIME!