In the spirit of “staycationing” in our new home, I’m writing a new series of posts about ways to save money and live frugally without being extreme or insane. I used these methods to save for my down payment, and I continue to use them to survive being a new, yet thrifty, homeowner.
Let’s embark on the House Poor Summer Tour 2013!
Being house poor doesn’t leave much room in the budget for vacations.
As much as I love cruises (Our honeymoon on the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas was the best) and exploring new places with little road trips, I’m fortunate to live in a beautiful city with lots of cool stuff less than an hour away, and you don’t have to spend a lot to have a great “stay-cation”.
A few months ago, I bought the Enjoy the City coupon book. You can buy these online or through fundraisers for schools, churches, sports teams, etc. The books are usually about $20, and the coupons are good for the whole year. There’s a ton of coupons in the book, including many we will never use (fast food anyone? Thanks but no thanks), including coupons for restaurants all over Charleston.
I gave many of the coupons away, since we won’t drive to Monck’s Corner for Mexican anytime soon. Clay took some to work, since he works in a different part of town, and the guys use them for lunches out. Most of the coupons are high-value, like buy one get one free, so it’s easy to save what you paid for the book using just a few coupons.
I took Monday off work and drove to pick up Nadine, then we headed to Whirlin’ Waters at the Wannamaker Park in North Charleston. This park is just down the road from Charleston Southern University and very convenient to Ladson, Summerville, and Goose Creek, but there are two other great county parks in Charleston that also have water parks.
We hopped in the ticket line, and with my buy one get one free coupon, paid $19.99 total for two admissions to the water park. It’s not a huge water park, but there’s a wave pool, a lazy river, a few slides, and two kids areas (one for very small children like toddles and one for school-age kids). There’s also a restaurant, gift shop, locker room, etc.
Whirlin’ Waters is pretty no-frills, but it was fun and well staffed with lots of lifeguards. We didn’t encounter any crazy, rowdy kids either- so I guess they are serious about throwing them out if there are any incidents. Nadine and I stayed for a little over two hours and enjoyed the beautiful (not super hot and no rain!) weather and short lines for the slides.
With growling stomachs after a morning playing in the water park, we looked through the coupon book for something to use for lunch, and we agreed on the nearby Atlanta Bread Company. You bought two drinks and an entrée and got an entrée free, so we headed to ABC. Both of us ordered the “Pick 2”, and she had French Onion soup and salad, and I had a veggie sandwich and salad, with iced teas to drink.
Our total for two lunches was just over $13, so not bad for big lunches.
After our Atlanta Bread Company food, we saved some room for dessert at Bruster’s.
Bruster’s is one of mine and Clay’s favorites because we went there on our wedding night and on our first anniversary. Every March, they have a promotion where you wear your pajamas and get a free waffle cone, and since Bruster’s was so close to us, we participated. Needless to say, Bruster’s holds a special place in mine and Clay’s hearts.
I think Bruster’s is an east coast thing, so it was Nadine’s first trip and I was excited to introduce her. Armed with a $3 off coupon, we got two sundaes with caramel vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. Our ice cream was just over $5 and neither of us could eat it all- the sundaes are huge!
And yes, I am wearing a Moore on Running Couch-to-5K shirt while eating my sundae. Sorry I’m not sorry.
For reference, I paid $10 for my Enjoy The City book through an online deal. Using coupons on Monday, we saved a total of $19- which pays for the book as well as saving us $9.
Could we have saved more? Technically, yes. Sure, we could have done without the ice cream or gotten 50 cent cones of soft serve at Burger King. We could have eaten off the dollar menu or packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the water park. We could have skipped the water park in lieu of my neighborhood pool.
But, life and “staycations” are for enjoying and splurging- and I’m glad we could use the coupons to save money on a fun day out in North Charleston. It may not be a cruise or fancy vacation, but for less than $40 total, we had a pretty amazing time.