Columbia and I were married 3 years ago today. It was a wonderful day. To celebrate, each year we have gone to the Berkshires for the long Columbus Day weekend. We were not sure if we should go this year; we are trying to live on one income and vacationing is not so frugal. We thought there might be a way to pull it off. So we put our cheapskate hats on and came up with some ways to go away for our anniversary for only a little dough. Here's how we're doing it:
- Renting a car from a cheaper location, even though it's not so convenient
Columbia was debating where to rent a car in August when we visited my family in PA. The Enterprise in Yonkers is much cheaper than the rental car spots around here (and they except discount codes). While it's not the most convenient location (especially with an infant), we will save a lot of money by renting there. Columbia has off today for Yom Kippur (what a nice anniversary gift, no?) so we can get the car today. Pumpkin and I will pick up Columbia when he gets out of work tomorrow. While we're paying for an extra day to do this, the cost we are saving is significant. Plus, Columbia can pack up the trunk tonight so Pumpkin and I don't have to do it tomorrow. Sweet!
- Staying 2 nights instead of 3
We are not going away for the entire weekend. If we come back on Sunday evening we can return the car on Monday without rushing. It will still be a nice weekend and Columbia can have a day without driving a long distance before returning to work. We will save one night's accommodations plus meals for an entire day. It's a good way to save money and not need a vacation to rest after our vacation away.
- Looking for free activities
We could go to the petting zoo that charges $6 per adult or the one that is free! Pumpkin, in her 7 month old way, will not care if the $6 petting zoo would have been better. There are also tons of spots to go hiking and see the fall foliage. Free and good exercise!
- Bringing some of our own meals
Breakfast is included at the hotel and we are packing snacks and PBJs for the drive. We'll also bring water and some champagne to celebrate in our room... after our little girl goes to sleep. Food can be expensive, so the more we bring the less it will cost us in the end.
- Utilizing the car and the location
Living in NYC we find schlepping to be part of the package. We'll take advantage of having the car and get some item we wouldn't be able to carry easily, like kitty litter. It's bound to be cheaper at a discount chain than a local pet store. We'll also go to the fruit stands and markets to stock up on fresh produce.
- Staying at a hotel, not a B&B
We are not staying at the cheapest hotel possible. We thought about it, but we kept coming back to The Simple Dollar's post about saving money with a baby. There are some things not worth skimping on for the safety and welfare of your child. We thought a hotel fell into this category. We wanted a clean, safe place for Pumpkin. I didn't want to have to worry about bugs, or moldy tubs, or...
. We found a moderately priced hotel that had excellent ratings and was very family friendly. There's even an indoor pool - it will be Pumpkin's first pool experience. The price is still cheaper than what we've paid the past 2 years to stay in a quaint Bed & Breakfast. And the hotel has a DIY waffle iron for breakfast!
While the anniversary weekend may not be as romantic as those in the past, it will still be a weekend away together. Knowing that we've found ways to make it more affordable will help us enjoy it more. Best of all, we will be together - all three of us - and that's worth celebrating!
Don't worry, we won't forget you! We've got several great posts scheduled for this weekend.