Saturday, September 21, 2013

Frugal Accomplishments - Travel Edition

This past week was spent traveling and visiting family.  It costs more to be away than it does to be home, but we found a few ways to save.  Here they are!

When we booked hotels, we chose ones with free breakfasts.  They were also the least expensive options, so we weren't paying extra for the food, and it saved us both time and money.  We booked through U Promise and got some cash back into Daughter's college fund.  We also got a 5-6% discount for booking through them....and another 5% cash back by paying with a credit card that was offering a special this quarter.

The Home Place - Land Between the Lakes - north of Dover, TN
quilt display - The Home Place - Land Between the Lakes
restful pigs - The Home Place - Land Between the Lakes

We packed a ton of snacks.  OK, maybe only half a ton...but plenty, with lots of variety.  Apples, grapes, peanut butter, crackers, some bread, water, soda, juice, jerky, granola and more, much of it purchased on sale or from our pantry. We also took books, I took my crochet, Daughter brought some school work, etc.  We had plenty to do during the travel part of the trip.

We had room in the car to take some things to my parents that they wanted.  That saved us postage we might have spent shipping those items at another time.  We took home some things as well.  By 'some things', I mean that I stuffed the trunk of the car so tightly that there was no air back there.  Not even a molecule.  :)

Rolling Bookshelves - Waterfield Library - Murray State University


We shared food from our gardens back and forth - I took some fruit preserves and fruit butters for them, and we brought home butternut squash, green beans and flower bulbs.

When we ate out, we drank water, shared items, etc.  For the most part we went to places we don't have where we live - places we just don't get to back home.

The Shoe Tree at Murray State University - If you marry someone you met at MSU,
you can come back here and nail a shoe or two to the tree.  Daughter thought this was, well, ridiculous. 
Husband and I still need to remember to bring a shoe!

I took a survey and earned $3.

The hotel we stayed in while we were visiting was in the low price range, but had an indoor pool, hot tub and exercise room.  It also had a small fridge and microwave in the room, so we were able to put together some light meals in the room, saving time and money.

smiling with grandpa

We made a loose plan, for while we were visiting.  We adjusted as needed to accommodate weather, schedules, etc., but having a loose plan meant we made good use of our time.  That said, a lot of the plan was to visit, and just spend time with family.  We were in town for a short time and didn't get to do everything we wanted, but we made fairly good use of the time we were there.

my brother's new place - so beautiful!

some early fall color

Husband checked "Gas Buddy" on travel days so we'd know what sorts of fuel prices we could get.  That helped us plan fuel stops to get the best prices on gasoline. 

There was a Mennonite bulk store in the area where we were visiting.  We don't have them in our area, so we went and did a little shopping.  I got some Real Salt and some sorghum syrup...and cloth hankies!  I know I could make some from calico, but these are just so, so pretty.  It's something I've been considering for a while - trying cloth hankies - so now I can...once I can bring myself to actually use them (they are so pretty!).  We also stopped at an Aldi store on one of our travel evenings and got a few things that were priced better than we usually get at home.

the church back home

We spent part of one morning checking out their thrift stores.  We enjoy thrift stores anyway, and going in ones we don't shop in id pretty fun, truth be told.  We had just watched Aristocats a few days before the trip, and we got Daughter an Arisocats hoodie for $1.  It's all new and fleecy inside.  We picked up some jigsaw puzzles for my in-laws for .25 each too!  It was fun to check things out.

So...yes...most of that is still spending, but we did things that allowed us to spend a little less where we could, and it does add up to some savings compared to just going hog-wild.  We budgeted funds for the trip, stayed with the plan and had a good time.  We ended our trip under budget - yay!

giggling with grandma


Sheila said...

Sounds like such a nice trip! I think being frugal includes spending money on things you care about, rather than mindlessly spending on things that you don't.

Crystal said...

That was inspirational! I am leaving for a 5 day trip, tomorrow. You have inspired me to pack lots of snacks and food and not dine out much! :)

Laura said...

I agree, Sheila. When we were at The Home Place, they had these really cool music sheets for zithers (a small string instrument that looks sort of like an autoharp, but you pluck it). We got two packs of those, because they are something we will use, plus they will remind us of the trip. We did buy things on the trip, for sure (I got some chicken earrings!), but we actually skipped the t-shirt thing, because we didn't really see any that we fell in love with. :)

Crystal, one of the things that snacking also does is it saves a lot of time. Many days, we had our breakfast at the hotel, then lunch was our sit-down meal with my folks, but supper was either something we shared or just snacks in the room. Restaurant portions are unrealistic anyway, so less at night was a good thing. You can take things that are healthy for you too - cheese sticks, hard cooked eggs, fruit - that will keep blood sugar where it belongs. :)

Cathy said...

Your mother seems to really enjoy your daughter. It seems like you all had a great time. I would love you to get a picture of your shoe when you nail it on the tree!

Whenever I visit my sister down south, I always go to the thrift stores. It seems the out of town stores have better stuff for better prices.

When I go on a road trip I always spend money but it is usually at those discount stores. I love a bargain and if I can get it, I will. I never do the t-shirt thing either. They are over priced and don't really have any memories for me.

I tend to enjoy eating out for lunch more than breakfast or dinner. You are right about the portion sizes for restaurant meals. They are extreme!

Laura said...

Hey, Cathy! I know what you mean about out-of-town thrift stores! We are happy to pay .79-.99 for a jigsaw puzzle at home, but when we saw them for .25, our hometown pricing suddenly seemed high, lol!

We did spend money, but we didn't go wild...and some of it was for stuff like sorghum syrup, a kitchen knife...we just aren't normal tourists, I guess. :)

The Moxley Family said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip!!

Here's my link.

momma-lana said...

You were almost in my neck of the woods last week! We are in the upstate of SC. But, we were in Florida checking on and visiting our elderly parents. I am training to be a natural healthcare practitioner and I think I was able to give some good advice and help to all of them. We travel pretty much like you do and we try to always hit some thrift stores when we are out of town. I found some great things last week in Daytona Beach! I was pleased when we got home and added up our expenses that we had only spent about $225 for our whole trip including gas!


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