If you read the exciting content over at my other site, The Frugal Farmer, you’ll know that we’ve had to re-assess our level of commitment to debt payoff. It’s not that we haven’t been trying; it’s just that several very large unexpected expenses this year in the form of car repairs, house repairs and medical bills have kicked our financial tails. Sick and tired of taking two steps forward and then having those steps trampled with a few steps backwards, we’ve decided to reevaluate how bad we want debt freedom and kick things into high gear.
Time for a Little Badassity
Here at Fruclassity, we are big fans of customized debt payoff that doesn’t involve living under a rock or eating ramen noodles for a year. But sometimes circumstances warrant a step up in action, and this is one of those times. So instead of our usual summer staycation, we’re changing things up a bit. Okay, a LOT.
Usually our summer staycation involves spending between $300 and $800 over the course of three months doing some fun things not too far from home. Because of our new MASSIVE Action Plan, we won’t be spending any money this summer for staycation – well, almost any money. Here’s our summer staycation “cheapskate style” plan.
Setting the Framework for our Cheapskate Summer
So, we will be spending a little bit of money this summer – sort of. I had already promised the kids a trip to the movies to see Cars 3 this week, and that’ll run about $60 with snacks.
I will also have a bit of birthday money coming in when I hit the big 5-0 this summer. I’m toying around with putting that aside for summer spending money. Reason being is that we’ve skipped the county fair for three years in a row and the family really wants to go this year. It won’t be a lot of money: probably totaling around $150 or so. Or, I could put it toward debt. Your thoughts?
But from our working income we aren’t spending ANY money on our staycation. Here’s what we’ll do instead.
Hiking and Biking
We are lucky to live within 20 minutes of three phenomenal state parks that are ripe with hiking and biking paths. In the spring we made our annual purchase of state and county park passes. Total cost? $90. We took another awesome hiking excursion this weekend at one of the state parks and it just fueled our drive to take more. This particular park also has rock climbing. Our rock climbing is much more risk free than what “real” rock climbers do. We never go further up than about 10-12 feet and so no equipment is required, but it’s a heck of a workout and loads of fun.
We’ve also got a cool bike rack that Rick made out of some wood and a chalkboard edge that we had laying around, so that we can carry the bikes safely in our trailer to the parks that have paved paths.
These staycation activities will also help us with our goal of getting in better shape this summer. Free summer fun and exercise to boot – woohoo!
Beaching, Fishing and Picnicking
One of the nearby county parks we have access to has a terrific swimming beach that doesn’t get too crowded. We also have several areas where we can gather with loved ones and picnic or grill out. One of our recent excursions with friends netted us a wonderful catch of Perch, which we promptly turned into a fabulous dinner.
Since we have to eat anyway – and we always make sure the costs for food keep us in line with our food budget – this is another source of free entertainment that we’ll be using a lot this summer.
The rural area we live in is surrounded by several small little towns of roughly 4,000 people or so each. I absolutely love these little towns. Small town leaders are pros at throwing town festivals that have activities ranging from water tank dunks to magic shows to car shows to bluegrass bands and more. You can enter most of these festivals for free and take advantage of the entertainment they’re serving up. One of the local papers puts together a summer guide that tells of all of the festivals and other summer events in one neat little magazine, so that will tell us where to go and when.
Gatherings with Friends and Family
We love to entertain, and we’ve got a great property for doing so. Luckily, we’ve got neighbors, friends and family members who feel the same. There will be several BBQs, parties and other events for us to keep ourselves busy with this summer. We have two fourth of July parties to go to, a family reunion and several other opportunities to gather with loved ones for fun and food.
We’ll have plenty to do that won’t cost us anything more than gas money – but we’ll still stay within our gasoline budget as well. It’ll be a fun, free summer that will help us make some serious progress on our financial goals when combined with our “extra income” plan.
What are your favorite free or cheap summer activities?