Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Recession Family Vacations

     Like most everyone we are cutting back on everything, eating out, entertainmnet, luxeries and even what we considered necessities.   I feel fortunate and hopeful that things are improving, financially our family actually seems to better than ever before, but that's not saying too much.  We still know not to take anything for granted, we try to put a little in savings whenever we can and pray for nothing devestating to happen to put us back at square one.
    But that doesn't mean we can't splurge a little, the trick is making a little treat go a long way.  Over spring break we are taking a mini vacation.  Spending two days in Indianapolis.    Our budget is approximatly $100, including hotel, food, and attractions for  family of 5. 
   First off let's get the $100 to spend.  Cut out the pizza place that we went to once a week and opt for making your own at home savings $20 and add in quality family time.  Savings over 5 week is $100.   . 
      Next the hotel, my husband travels for work so he racks up reward points, but we have also asked family to let us use their points if we know that won't be using them and I also have used Mystery Shopping with companies (such as http://www.freemangroupsolutions.com/) to get reimbursed Hotel Nights as well.  Just carefully read the insturctions to see if you are allowed to bring other people and how many, also note that you should allow up to 8 weeks to be reimbursed.  Because we are using reward points, our hotel this trip is no cost.  
      Our next largest expense is typically food. Breakfast is easy, free at the hotel.  I have Entertainment book buy one get one free coupons that cut the host in half if we stop within it's area on the way down or back.  Right now save 80% on http://www.restaurant.com/ with the code "Chow" (minus quotes).  I have purchased $85 worth of Indy restauraunt certificates for $7.20.  The total required minimum purchase is $140- $85 in certificates equals $55 for two dinners and 2 lunches. Total cost is $62.20
    Finally attractions, we are going to the Indianapolis Childrens Museum and the Conner Prairie outdoor pioneer village.  Each of these have a community outreach program, because the children qualify for Hoosier Healthwise each memeber of the family gets in to each park for $1 a person, total cost for two days of activites.. $10!   When it comes to extra goodies, souviners ect... the kids have had ample time to earn some spending money of their own by doing extra chores around the house. 
   So right now our budget is at $72.20, adding the gas will put us right at $100.