Save money with these easy, affordable staycation ideas
Even with the urge to travel and a long summer stretching before us, it still might not be the right time to head out into the world or max out your credit cards. For those of us still wanting to stay close to home, stay healthy, and stay on budget, planning a staycation is a perfect solution for summer fun without the travel, hassle, and expense. Here are some ideas to help make it time well spent—without spending much.
Take a virtual class
You may be at home, but the world is at your fingertips. Computer programming, cooking with a Michelin-starred chef, how to write a screenplay that sells... the possibilities for online learning are endless. Using videos and downloadable course materials, the new wave of online courses is affordable, super specific, and tons of fun. This list is a great place to start.
With all the money you're saving on flights, hotels, and meals, a little retail therapy is in order. Plus you're being a good neighbor to boot: Neighborhood and small businesses took a huge hit during the pandemic, so support your community retailers by doing a little shopping—think about stocking up on birthday gifts and cards, or treating yourself to some new home decor or a cute pair of PJs. Don't need anything new? Now's a great time to hire local service providers to clean out your gutters, train your dog, tune your bike, or help you organize your home.
Take a picnic to a park
Want to rediscover the joy of a good picnic? Head to a gourmet or specialty shop in your town and ask an expert to help you put together a mix of cheeses, salads, breads, meats, olives, nuts, and other treats. Pro tip: Drinking from a nice glass instead of a Solo cup makes a picnic feel special, so buy a few inexpensive non-breakable wine or beer glasses to elevate any beverage. Add a few melamine plates, too—they're lightweight, easy to clean, and a little fancier than soggy paper ones.
What better way to enjoy your time at home than by making it beautiful and livable? Take a step by cleaning out one closet.
- Call your local donation center, thrift shop, or nonprofit to see what items they need or are not accepting.
- Choose one to tackle and empty everything out.
- Sort into keep/trash/donate piles.
- Look for opportunities to create storage space, such as adding shelves for more vertical storage.
- Organize your keep items in clear storage bins in varying sizes so you can see the contents.
- Take washed, clean, usable, and undamaged donations to your local donation center, or advertise them for free on sites like Craigslist or Nextdoor.
Trick out your yard
Yes, you and everyone else in America have discovered the joys of a fluffed and fantastic outdoor space—so take a few days to really dig in and refresh. Snag some new seating, string some lights, add rich new soil to your landscaping, layer on fresh paint or stain, spread a little fresh mulch, and add some flowers, and then...
Host a tasting party
With your space organized and fluffed, why not share it? A tasting party makes an easy theme. Beer, chocolate, cheese, wine, honey.... whatever product floats your boat, round up as many samples as you can of different versions to taste and share, or better yet, ask your guests to bring their favorites. Have plenty of place cards and pens on hand, so you can label each offering, and provide a beverage or food pairing to fit.
Time spent at home can be as richly rewarding as any expensive trip, without the fuss and flights to distant locales.