Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ideas to cut expenses, part 3

Sorry folks, after working on this post for about 4 hours, I went to another link and came back to my post having been eaten.
I'm trying to redo/recapture the lost work.

Ok, some more ideas I have on cutting expenses. This set includes some fun, low cost or free vacation ideas.

Sometimes just a change in our schedule can seem like a vacation. Have breakfast for dinner, eat dessert first, get up early and watch the sun rise, stay up late and look at the stars. Go to
spaceweather.com and find star maps for your location. Also get info for when the different satellites and space stations are passing overhead. One night, my kids and I went out and caught the ISS and Endeavor uncoupling. It was so cool! All we have is a pair of binoculars, but they worked very well. They even make looking at the moon fun. You can see it with your naked eyes, but with regular binoculars, it's a great view. There's also comets and the regular planets to be seen.

Pretend you're a tourist and go to all the local places people go to see. I grew up in a tourist town - St. Petersburg, and I can tell you, I saw hardly any of the "local" sights. For whatever reason, we just didn't go and do the sight-seeing that people paid good money to go to St. Pete and see.

We now live in a little tourist town in Northern Georgia. We have gone to some of the local things, but haven't "seen it all". Many of the things that tourists do are free and we have the added benefit of not having a "time-limit" on us. We can go when ever, where ever and not have to worry about checking out of a hotel at a certain time. And we don't have to pay to eat out. We can always take snacks, drinks and meals with us. Just put them in a cooler and away we go. Anywhere within about 100 or so mile radius is an easy day trip. That's about 1 1/2 hrs drive each way. It would cost about 1/2 tank of gas for the whole trip.

Think outside of the box. Write to your local tourist/chamber of commerce, etc for info or just stop in the local office. You can also write to your state board of commerce and ask them for info. There are a lot of historical places, landmarks and places of beauty in each state. Do an internet search of your state or if, like me, you're close to several other states, also look at what they have to offer that is near you. You can also so searches for "National Monuments", State monuments, national and state parks, you local county and your city (or cities nearby). All have free information that you can have fun with. Make a game of it with the rest of the family.

Take the family on a picnic. Many state and National forests have free pavilion areas complete with tables and grills. Some you can reserve, but many are first come, first serve. Get there early and have a fun day. Bring a Frisbee or a ball and play catch, soccer or other sport. Remember to slather on the sunscreen and/or cover yourself and the kids. Sunburn is NOT good for us.

Create a garden. It doesn't have to be large to be of interest to kids. Square foot gardens are easy and fun. I posted on some ideas on how to do this cheaply here.

Go for a walk. Go for a walk in nature is fun, but even if you just take your kids on a walk around town, it will be good exercise and breaks some of that "cabin fever".

Sit with the kids and brainstorm ideas on things they can do. Have someone be a scribe and make a booklet with the ideas in it. Then when the kids act or even say, "I'm bored", you have a ready group of ideas for them to keep themselves busy. (Around my house, "I'm bored" is not an option. Like my mean mother before me, "I'm bored" is an invitation to help with the never-ending chores that need to be done. And since they are usually the culprits in part of the mess, give me any excuse and I'll find something for you to do. lol)


Rhonda said...

Re your education/courses - you can take free courses at HP sign up as small business and as home office to see all.


Darlene said...

Thanks Rhonda!
I checked it out. There are free classes and classes that you pay a fee for. But you can take these classes from home at your own pace.