Thursday, February 21, 2013

Frugal Family 2013 - Frugal Vacations

In an effort to save money this year,  I'm joining my friends Marcy +Ben and Me  as well as Sam +Sam's Noggin  to bring you this weekly  link up full of tips for becoming a more Frugal Family. We will be sharing ideas to help you save money on groceries and meals, homeschool, crafts, and plenty of frugal DIY posts. We've made many sacrifices so that I can stay at home to teach the boys, and I've become pretty frugal in order to help make that possible and to keep it that way. It's become a challenge I truly enjoy, and one I enjoy sharing with you!

This week: 
Frugal Vacations 

OK, so you don't have to travel with quite as much gear as we sometimes drag along, but you sure can get a lot of bang for your buck once you have invested in a few necessities for camping. 

We have explored caves (a.k.a. "spelunking"). We've enjoyed river rafting, kayaking, canoeing, fossil digging, and all manner of exploring, along some of the countries most beautiful countryside - without breaking the bank! 

We bought a quality, large family tent on clearance sale - originally $159.00 on sale for $79. The kids sit on top kayaks (that happen to fit inside my minivan when needed) were bought at SAMs Club wholesale for $100. They get a lot of use around here, so they made nice gifts for birthdays, and they last! If you watch for sales, you can often pick up sleeping bags for a deal. Pay attention to labels for cool weather vs. cold weather, and purchase according to your climate. You can buy a decent sleeping bag that will keep you warm down to 30 degree weather, on Amazon here for less than $30, including shipping. If you'll be camping in winter cold weather, of course, you'll want to invest more. The good news is, once you've made the initial investments (maybe spread out over Christmas and birthdays) with a little TLC, you can make your gear last a long time.  

A few things we have found useful to bring along: blow up mattresses, felt blankets to go between mattresses and sleeping bags, small shop vac and extension cord, fans for hot weather camping, a bin for kitchen gear, a bin for sleep gear, a bin for food, and a cooler. We use a small camp stove, a lantern, several kids lanterns, headlights, a table cloth, a pot, a cast iron skillet, a sharp knife, tin foil and extra bags. A large stainless steel bowl is great for washing dishes. We use a plate for each family member, a cup for each, a fork and spoon. 

Taking a little extra time to prepare food ahead of time saves money and makes life easier while on the road. Chopped veggies, or wrapped potatoes can be cooked right in tin foil on the fire. Nuts, dried fruits and snacks stored in baggies can easily be tossed into a back pack for a day of adventure. 

State parks are a wonderful choice for family camping with fees ranging from $8 - $40 per day on average. They often include a picnic table, a grill or fire pit, electric and water outlets along with bath houses and rest rooms with private showers and changing areas.  Of course, some may prefer a more rustic approach. I have acquired the talent of bathing and washing my hair with only one water bottle. 

Check out the Florida State Parks here or check with your state park system to plan an vacation of a lifetime. Enjoy exploring nature during the day, or visiting local museums (with your frugal ASTC passport) , and sitting around the campfire  eating smores with the family at night.

 Consider making an investment in camping gear that will supply your family with unlimited adventure for years to come. It's a frugal kind of vacation that creates family memories we treasure.

Link up your own tips for saving money on our Frugal Family link up for January
Please grab the button to use or link via text - Visit others to encourage each other and
share great information! The group Pinterest board is here - I'm pinning away!


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