Hey guys! I’m currently spending 10 long, languid days in Sea Isle City, New Jersey. While my trip could be relaxing and restorative, it could also be a stress-inducing money pit if I’m not careful. But, of course, I am careful. I’m me, after all. I know how to have fun on a budget. Here’s how I’m doing it.
ONE: Get gas on the cheap and make it last longer.
A lot of grocery stores and wholesale store chains have points-based and/or loyalty programs that can earn you money off of gas. So why not use them? It may only be 10-40 cents off a gallon here and there, but that can really add up, especially if you have a large gas tank.
If you haven’t heard of gas buddy, you’re really missing out. Type your location in to gasbuddy.com or on the gas buddy app to get a read out of the lowest gas prices near you. Usually there is a big range of prices you may not even know about unless you go to this website. For instance, my 7 square mile area has prices ranging from $3.27 a gallon to a whopping $4.09!
Make your gas last through something called hypermiling. Basically, just be judicious with how much you push your gas pedal. For instance, there’s no need to push on that pedal and use up precious gas when you see you’re approaching a red light or stop sign; just coast to a stop. Also, be careful about how much you press that brake pedal unnecessarily, as that wastes the gas you’re using to propel the car forward. Keep your speed consistent and use cruise control to cut down on gasoline usage.
TWO: Buy food and liquor on the cheap.
Of course, beach towns like the one I’m in tend to inflate their food and liquor prices, especially during the peak vacationing season. I cut down on food costs by bringing as much with me as possible. I stopped at Aldi’s before my car trip to get healthy foods like spinach, berries, almonds, pecans, mushrooms, granola bars, etc. They’re things I could easily make a meal out of or pack to the beach for a post-swim snack.
Just like I bring food from home, I do so with liquor too. I saw a wine label in Sea Isle City that was selling for $16.99. That same bottle would cost me $9 at home. Why pay inflated shore prices? Bring your own liquor and beer!
THREE: Have fun on the cheap
Okay, I’ll admit it’s really hard to sit on your hands in a vacation town and not go out in the name of fiscal responsibility. I get that. But at least do your homework first to find some good deals.
For instance, research some of the bars near where you’ll be staying. Check out their websites or call them to see if they offer any specials or have any cover charges. This way you’ll have a good idea of what bars near you offer the atmosphere you want at a price that won’t make you feel financially hung over the next morning (Ha! Funny, right?).
Also check the town or county’s website to see what free or cheap events and attractions are near you. In Sea Isle City, they have morning yoga on the beach 3 days a week at $10 a class. Not bad for doing down dog while watching the sunrise. They also have free movie-under-the-stars events and their website even lists discount days at the city amusement park.
It all comes down to preparation and doing your homework. No, you don’t have to coupon while on vacation! Vacation is about relaxing, after all. But you can still prepare very easily with a few Google (or Swagbucks!) searches and know what prices you’ll encounter before you go. Be sure to set a budget for outings and only spend cash, so you see how much of your budget is leaving your wallet.
Have fun and don’t forget to apply sunscreen!
‘Til next time, stay saving, my friends.
P.S. How do you save while on vacation? Do you scour the internet for good hotel deals? Do you coupon while on vacation? Leave a comment and tell me how you do it!