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Wednesday Welcome: Vacation Not in the Budget? Try a Staycation

Feeling the itch to go on vacation, even though you decided long ago that it’s not in the budget this year? It happens. Sometimes, the backyard just doesn’t cut it. But a staycation might. This week’s guest poster, Sean Bryant from One Smart Dollar, is here to share ideas for cheap or free ways to relax this summer. I’m not going to say you won’t miss the beach, but you will get the same sense of rest and relaxation.

sean-bryantSince the great recession, the idea of going on vacation has almost become thing of the past for a lot of families. Unemployment is still at an uncomfortable level and most would prefer to have a healthy bank account rather than a week on a sandy white beach. If I didn’t need a little rest and relaxation every now and then, I would probably agree.

My wife and I have a passion for traveling and have made it a life goal of ours to try and see as much of the world as we can. Lucky for us, I have been learning a lot of new tricks that have allowed us to start traveling for free. To be able to do this, it requires signing up for travel reward credit cards.  For some of you this might not be something you want or can do.

If traveling isn’t in the cards for your family, a great alternative is a staycation. A staycation is a way for you to relax and spend some time with family without even leaving your city or house if you don’t want to.

Before you do anything, turn off your phones, put a vacation reply on your email and put all possible distractions out of reach. Once that is done it’s time for the staycation to begin. Here are some ideas that will help you stay within your budget and also allow you to spend some quality time relaxing with your family.

Visit a Water Park. Grab your swimsuit and sunscreen and head on over to a water park near you. If you have kids, this is probably going to be one of the best ideas you will have all summer. Visiting a water park is a fun way for the entire family to enjoy a day out together. You might want to check your local grocery store because many of them run specials where you can save a little money on tickets.

If you don’t have a big water park where you live, then check out the community pools.  My wife and I took our daughter to a pool just north of Denver a couple of weekends ago and I could have spent all day going down the water slides.

Catch up on Movies. I love watching movies, but now that I have a little one it’s hard to find a couple of continuous hours to watch a movie from start to finish. A staycation is the perfect time to get caught up on all the recent blockbusters that you have missed. To cut down on the cost of rentals, I love to get movies from Redbox. Usually, you’ll be able to find Redbox coupons available for free rentals. Each of these codes can be used once for each debit/credit card.

Take Advantage of Free Museum Days. Museums are a great way to spend time with family and learn something at the same time. On the first weekend of each month, Bank of America customers can get free admission to one of over 150 different museums across the United States.

Unfortunately, I don’t have Bank of America here in Colorado, but most of the museums offer a free day at least once a month. This is something that you can schedule your staycation around, because it’s a great family activity and completely free.

Create Your Own DIY Spa Day. Noting is more relaxing than going to a spa, however it can really set you back financially. Instead of going out, bring the spa to you. By doing a little online research, you will find handfuls of recipes that will allow you to replicate the composition for facials and other spa treatments.

Start a “Fun” DIY Project. When I say DIY I am not talking about finishing something that has been on your to-do list for years. I am talking about something that you enjoy. Beer lovers would love spending an afternoon brewing up their next homemade concoction. If you have a love for gardening and canning, you could spend the day canning up your freshly picked produce.

About Sean:  Sean started his career as a banker and after being laid off in 2008 became a full-time blogger focusing on personal finance and the art of couponing.  He takes great pride in being able to help families save money and live a more comfortable life. You can connect with him on Twitter or Google+.


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