Five Days, One Hundred Dollars

23 Apr

Staycation on the cheap. Can it be done?

There used to be a show on TLC (I think) that was called Trading Spaces. I loved that show. Two families would renovate their homes and they’d have just two days and $1000 to do it.

Well this week was April Vacation here and we were having a Staycation, not traveling anywhere, but we didn’t have much extra money in our budget for the week’s activities either. (Technically we were home for nine days if you count the weekend before and after the vacation week but as far as days we wouldn’t normally be home already, it was five days.)

We had approximately $100. Five people, five days, $100. Twenty bucks a day divided by five people, $4 per person per day.

That’s a Staycation on the Cheap for sure.

So did we do it? Of course we did. Not a whole lot of choice in that regard, since there’s no overspending when you don’t use credit cards. If the money’s not in the account, you don’t do it.

Chinese take out: Big Splurge.

First off, we had some work we needed to do around the house which took up a couple of days at the start of the week. To reward ourselves for a job well done, and since we were too tired to cook, we decided to splurge on take out. 

Chinese take-out:  $30.

Who doesn't love lemonade on a hot day?

My kids were dying to have a Lemonade Stand at our house. They spent part of the weekend making their posters and getting their business plan in place. They worked out what hours they’d be selling, how much they’d be charging and got everything ready to go. The weather was gorgeous on their chosen day and they were outside all day long. They worked together and even stayed open an extra hour because business was so good.

Lemonade Stand: Free

The first of many dinners at the beach took place this week.

The start of the week was very hot, like summertime hot, so we opted to cook dinner at home and pack it up to eat down by the beach. We’d take a walk along the ocean and watch the sun go down. We can do that here, we’re very lucky. We even saw a wedding that night in the gazebo by the ocean.

Dinner and walk along the beach: Free

Mystery Ride to a new-to-us zoo!

Although it was vacation week, I still had to work on and off periodically throughout the week whether it was covering stories for the two papers or typing them, so we worked that into our schedule and later in the week we tried out a new zoo that was in the direction of a story I was covering. It was the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Tickets to the Buttonwoods Zoo for a family of five : $21.

Redbox is the greatest invention. You can rent movies for just over $1 per night. There were some movies we wanted to see so over the week’s time we rented three movies.

Family Movie Night times three, complete with popcorn: $3.75.

Even though we like Family Movie Night, there’s also nothing like seeing a “real” movie in a “real” theater, something we never, ever do since five people at a first run movie is expensive. Again, we decided to splurge. 

Matinee movie for five with five Entertainment Book Coupons: $38.

Last day on training wheels!

There were other things we did throughout the week like bike rides, scooter rides, eating dinner on the deck for the first time this season, watching the sunset from our own back yard, night hikes with flashlights (my favorite) and things like that, all free, all outdoors, all time spent together. Of course we ate our way through the week too, having “weekend” breakfasts every day, like waffles and crepes, muffins and pancakes, french toast. That in itself is a vacation in my book! And really, all of those things you just can’t put a price tag on.


Sometimes you don't even need to leave home to enjoy the simple magic of life.

4 Responses to “Five Days, One Hundred Dollars”

  1. Jennifer Lynch April 23, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    Jen, you truly inspire me! I’m always trying to save $ but you are truly the queen! PLEASE keep sharing your stories and all of you tips. p.s. Those are some lucky girls! 🙂

    • thewholebagofchips April 23, 2012 at 8:42 am #

      It’s funny you say that. I lived all week with the guilt of the fact that we didn’t take them anywhere, that we are always saying no. Then last night as we sat around the table Don asked them for their favorite meal of the week (we live for food) and their favorite activity of the week. None of them could choose just one favorite activity. They liked them all. That made me feel better, less guilty, and proud of what we’d accomplished on such a small budget.

  2. Sue Meyerson April 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    you continue to inspire me!! I love today’s post!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: