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Budgeting Your Way to a More Enjoyable Vacation

enjoyable vacation

Guest post from Deanna of From this Kitchen Table

I tend to be a tightwad — in fact, spending money can cause me pain! This means I can be a difficult person to vacation with. I see dollar signs if we consider doing certain activities on a trip or want treat ourselves to something as simple as ice cream sundaes. Thoughts about what we aren’t going to be able to do with our money come to mind.

However, budgeting has helped me enjoy vacationing so much more. I even get excited about doing activities that cost money. How does that work? Isn’t budgeting supposed to help you not spend money?

Budgeting is about making your money work for you and having it go where you tell it. I’m going to share how our vacation budget works for us and allows me to get away for a few days with my family while actually enjoying myself.

1. Have a plan.

The first thing to do is to sit down and decide where you are going to go and when.

Look at:

    • family schedule
    • deals for certain dates
    • when the crowds will be minimal

Then research activities in the area and come up with a list of what you want to do and where you are going stay. Sometimes, we plan our vacation so we can stay with family and other times we’ll check into a hotel or rent a condo.

2. Figure out potential costs.

Now that you have a plan, tally up what lodging, gas or plane tickets, activities, and food are going to cost. When we start looking at the numbers, we often adjust our plan to make it more reasonable. Sometimes we add an extra activity if we’re spending less than we thought.

3. Start saving.

Use the months leading up to your trip to start setting aside money. Maybe the standard vacation category in your budget will cover this. If you are like us, you might have to set aside other money that comes in. Portions of extra income from jobs, gifts, or selling things might go towards the goal.

4. Bring cash for everything except gas and lodging.

Lodging has most likely already been paid and we find it easier to pay at the pump rather than bringing cash inside the gas station.

For the rest of the funds, take it in cash. Having a vacation envelope helped me remember that the money was there and that its purpose was the vacation.

5. Splurge!

You’ve spent time saving and looking forward to the trip. Now is the time to enjoy yourself.

Enjoy the pirate themed miniature golf course, zip lining, touring a mansion, eating shakes. Don’t let spending that money stress you out — that’s what it’s there for!

Budgeting, a little planning, and using cash are the ways that I’ve found that enable me to relax and enjoy our days away as a family. I can relish the memories being made instead of fretting about the amount of money we spend.

Deanna, a wife and mother, attempts to balance frugality, (semi) natural living, lack of time and sleep while trying to follow what the Lord wants for her life. She enjoys dark chocolate, BBC mini series, good books, and spending weekends at home. She blogs at From this Kitchen Table.

photo source

Gretchen’s $39 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan



1 Celery – $1.19

1 Cantaloupe – $1.49

2 cans Green Beans – $0.49 each

1 Flour Tortillas – $1.19

2 Grapefruit – $0.29 each

2 packages Cheese – $1.99 each

1 canister Raisins – $2.89

1 Roma Tomatoes – $0.99

1 lb Butter – $1.89

1 package Sugar – $1.57

Total with tax ($1.20): $17.95


1 Honey Nut Chex – $3.79

1 South Beach Meal Bars – $5, used Free e-coupon (no longer available) – Free after coupon

1 can Water Chestnuts – $0.99

1 bag Kroger Brown Rice – $1

1 Kroger Ice Cream – $2.50

1 Romaine Lettuce – $0.99

2 gallons Milk – $2.78 each (This is cheaper than Aldi’s price!)

0.96 lbs Bananas @ $0.55/lb – $0.53

1 Back to Nature Crackers – Marked down to $1.84

1 Annie’s Mac & Cheese – $1.69, used $0.75/1 catalina coupon – $0.94 after coupon

1 Kroger Sour Cream – $1

1 Cucumber – $0.79

1 So Delicious Yogurt – $0.99, used $1/1 printable – Free after coupon

Total with tax ($1.42) after coupons: $21.34

Total for all grocery items: $39.29

Menu Plan for this Week


Cereal, Homemade Granola, Toast


Mac & Cheese, Cheese/Crackers/Veggies, Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Baked Potatoes with Sour Cream, Cheese Quesadillas


Spaghetti, Tossed Salad, Green Beans, Steamed Carrots

Chicken Almondine, Grapefruit, Tossed Salad

Sour Cream Enchiladas, Peas, Sliced Oranges

Pancakes, Eggs, Hashbrowns

Italian Chicken, 30-Minute Rolls, Tossed Salad

Rice & Beans, Tortilla Chips, Cantaloupe