Special Events

Financial tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your special day.

Save Money with a Family Budget – Staycation Ideas for Spring Break

Q. Spring Break is looming once again. We try and get away somewhere warm most years but this year, we just can’t afford a big trip. Do you have any advice on how we can make Spring Break fun without breaking the bank?

A. Spring Break has become known as a reason to escape from the dreary every-day and bask in the sun, even if it’s only for a week. However, many people are now reconsidering their expectation of going away and are instead favouring a staycation over a vacation.

Staycations got their name a few years ago and have evolved from simply a way to save time, money and energy to an event the whole family looks forward to. But as with any good vacation, a staycation also takes some planning.

Start with a family meeting, including the kids, and discuss what exactly a staycation is and isn’t for your family. It should be a time to see your city, take in local attractions, enjoy cuisine in a region you may not go to often and sleep in your own bed each night. A staycation is not a time for chores, renovations, honey-do lists or for your kids to catch up on homework assignments. If you have work to do, that should be a separate plan for either before or after the fun.

Next, brainstorm and decide what you would all like to do around town. Each of you could pick an outing and become the tour leader for the day. You would organize the activity, transportation and meals. Even if your children are young, they could take the lead in suggesting and planning as much as they are able to do.

Some ideas to consider:

• Visit your local museum, art gallery and/or science centre
• Enjoy an afternoon at the movies
• Take a day trip to another town and enjoy their attractions
• Go antique shopping
• Go to a regional, provincial or national park and enjoy the day in nature
• Rent some movies and have a pajama party with your kids

Look for group coupon deals to provide some extra ideas or incentives to try something new. Check your community recreation guide for special events during Spring Break. Connect with family or friends that you normally don’t get to spend a day with and invite them along.

The intention of a staycation is to kick back and relax without the stress or expense of travelling. Determine your budget ahead of time and then plan backwards so that you don’t spend more than you can afford. You and your family will feel more rested and energized knowing that you met your goal of spending time together without blowing the budget.

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