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Jenniffer's Journey:

Stress Free Staycation

For the past five years, Ashley and I have taken our annual mother-daughter trip right around this time. It’s historically the one time of the year where we don’t have some sort of soccer, school or work commitment. We haven’t ever gone anywhere extravagant, but it’s quality time together, just the two of us. This year, we (insert “Jenniffer”) chose to forego the annual trek in exchange for a staycation. As much as I would love to charge every expense and spend money that I don’t have, I figured I’d take a staycation from maxing out my credit cards in an effort to remain consistent with the new money mindset that I have taking shape.

I must admit that a true staycation was pretty nice. It was a nice blend of straight up laziness at home and low cost day trips. That made for a stress-free week.

Monday – trip to the International Crane Foundation (ICF) in the morning and the Big Cat Rescue in the afternoon. I used coupons to get a discount at the ICF and we got a free guided tour. Did you know cranes mate for life? That’s a free fact. We packed a picnic lunch that we ate at the Ochsner Park and Zoo so I didn’t have to pay for food. On our way home, we stopped at the (free) Pope Conservancy where everyone on Facebook has visited at some point in the past 2 weeks. Even the teens. Guess that makes it kind of cool then.  

Tuesday – lazy morning and free Capitol tour in Madison in the afternoon. Thanks Jenna and Jason for organizing the tour!

Wednesday – lazy morning with a bike ride and hike to Picnic Point in the afternoon. Free!

Thursday – did I mention lazy?

Friday – return trip to Pope Conservancy. Did you know there are over 500,000 sunflowers on the 9 acres at the conservancy? That’s another free fact.

So, here’s this week’s financial fun fact: a staycation is a great low-cost alternative to jumping on a plane and heading to a true vacation spot. You can use Groupon, Living Social, Retail Me Not or a number of other apps and websites to get discounts on admission fees. And fun facts from the staycation venues are always free.

Don’t get me wrong, I plan to revisit the mother-daughter trip next year. But I’ve set up a vacation savings account that I’m contributing to so that this time next year, I will actually have some money to spend instead of charging money I don’t.   



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