Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Planning a Frugal Staycation Summer

I'm sure you all noticed my family just returned from a big family vacation to Disneyworld. Since I opted to go in May to avoid the crazy summer crowds, that leaves us with a summer of nice and lazy days. It's always kind of nice to have things to do in the summer though, but of course after a big trip like that, we can't afford to do too many expensive things. I've decided to loosely plan a frugal staycation summer for us.  I don't want my kids to have to sit around all summer, but I don't want to wear myself out trying to work and keep them occupied. I want to spend time with them, but I want that to be more than watching TV in the evening.

There are tons of resources to find lots of free things going on around my city. You can find them in the publications Juice or Cityview, the See Des Moines site, and various libraries. There is also the Free Flix and movies in the park in all different areas of the city. This summer I plan on taking them to some movies in the park, the Drive-in, the beach, the Farmer's Market, on a picnic, to sign up for summer reading programs at the library, and whatever else might pop up. Instead of taking off full days since I don't really have enough vacation time to do that, I plan on coming in late to allow me to sleep in a bit after a later summer night of fun.

What usually happens with me and the way that I'm wired is, I see something that I think would be fun, and think I will remember to write it down, don't, and forget about it until after the fact. Or, I will remember the write it down and plan for a month to do the something fun with my family, only for some other event like a family birthday to get thrown in on the same day. In my world family events always trump free fun.

I had to come up with a solution that allowed me to see what free fun was going on in one place, while being able to see what is going on in real life as well. Enter the Cozi Family Calendar.

I had used this off and on for a while now, but now that I have my Iphone and their app, I am using it daily. AND it has helped me loosely plan my frugal summer staycation. I have all of our regular appointments, birthdays, and activities on the calendar, but now I've added every fun thing going on for free in the summer. I added every single movie in the park so I can see what movie is playing and where it's located. Since you can view the calendar by day, week, or month, it gives me a glance on what is feasible to do for the week. I also had my husband download the app since it's a shareable site, and he can see everything going on in our family for the week also! Genius!

Grabbing a blanket, bug spray, and a few munchies and sitting outside together is a perfect summertime activity and a great way to end an evening. Heading to the library for some quiet afternoon reading is a great way for the kids to keep reading and earn some free prizes. Walking around a weeknight farmer's market can be very relaxing especially when they have free music playing. Most of all, spending any type of time with your kids is all the summer vacation they need.

Do you do always go on big trips in the summer? Or do you do staycations too?

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