More Staycation Tips – creating your environment

We learned some great things in our recent staycation experiment. First, both of us did better than expected in not letting the regular home environment interfere with “vacation.”  Second, it gave us an even greater perspective of “enough” – true contentment with what you have. Finally, pre-planning helped tremendously and although we only had a couple of days to design, any time you can give to creating the atmosphere and visually reinforcing the environment is tremendously helpful in mentally vacating from your chores and routine.

Some additional tips to creating your staycation environment –

Sleep in another bedroom. If you have an additional bedroom, set up vacation in that room. Create your favorite vacation experience with flowers, pillows, candles, scents, or whatever will provide you with sensory details to remind you of a vacation destination.

Create a video frame of your vacation favorites. My husband moved the video frame of several of our vacations to the second bedroom. One might think you might regret that you can’t take that big trip this year, but really, it makes you thankful you were able to go anywhere at all and relish in the memories of the trip.

Simple Pleasures. Use your leftover hotel products to reinforce your vacation or “away” mindset. Buy some special soaps or lotions that reflect the destination you are trying to create.

Use up you gift cards – whatever they are!  If you are a gift card saver, this is the time to use them up. Even if it is a shopping trip to Target.  

Visit your church bulletin sponsors. If you are wondering where to go, take a look at your church bulletin sponsors. The advertisers would appreciate the business and you are doing a good deed by supporting their sponsorship.  

Design your trip around a popular event.  Is it July and you can’t go see the Tour de France? Bring France to you. Watch the tour, enjoy some French wine. If you are cooking at home, set a Provence style cafe tabke and cook a French meal.  Or go out to a French restaurant.  Take a French cooking class or watch on Youtube. Buy some French products online and enjoy opening and using them. Use a map to “visit” a couple of popular cities, read up on the history, visit a museum with Impressionists works, or even go on line to learn historical details. Go for a bike ride. Order a French movie online.  Learn a couple of simple French phrases.

Create a wine or brewery tour – Mike’s a novice brewmaster so we always include a brewery tour or brewpub wherever we go. If you can’t go to a winery or brewery, bring it to your staycation.  Choose a region such as Colorado, California or the Northwest and design a tour with the brew, wine and some regional treats.

The important thing is separate from your routine, disconnect from chores, open and clear your mind of the ceaseless “listing” of things to do, quiet the voice that wants to critique, and just – enjoy the moment.

Found Money

I love to find “money drops”  in our household processes.  “Money drops” are those processes that, if not reviewed at least annually, results in you insidiously dropping money throughout the year that could add up to hundreds of dollars that you can invest or use for other purchases. I earned $70 in Found Money last week. Here’s how:

“Money Drops”

Something jarred our brains to evaluate the homeowner’s insurance to verify if we receive a discount for the security alarm system. Sure enough, our homeowner’s insurance does have a 5% discount for a security alarm system. One may self-talk “5% is not worth the trouble to submit a certificate.” I guess it depends on what 5% is of what total amount. 5% of our homeowner’s insurance was $70. They sent us a check. I liked that. $70 pays for 1.25 months of the monthly alarm system fee. That’s OK. Moving forward, we will save money on the premium.

Here’s my thinking and probably many others out there. 5% on a restaurant bill doesn’t even take care of tax. But 5% of total purchases throughout the year could be hundreds of dollars if not more. We wouldn’t just drop $500 in a barrel and burn it.

Let’s say you have a household income of $40k. You have $30k in purchases/expenses capability. If you save 5% on everything for a year that is $1500/year. Now, in reality, that is not feasible because your mortgage or rent may be 50% of your buying power. But, if you strive to save 5% on half of those purchases, that is $750. Hmmm, that’s 75 bottles of wine… ok, let’s not be wine hoarders.

What would you do with $750? Invest? Go on vaca? Add to your kid’s college fund?

Have fun with your 5% action plan!

Next post: Money Opportunities