Financial Advice

Budgeting for a Staycation

Need a vacation? You don’t have to break the bank to do it. Instead, get much-needed R&R by taking a staycation. Consider these tips to keep your vacation fun and on budget.

Published Jun 30, 2021 | Updated May 8, 2024
Budget your staycation (Feature-Image)

Let’s face it. We all need a vacation. But we don’t have to break the bank to do it. Instead, get much-needed R&R by taking a staycation, where you take a break from work and enjoy yourself at home. But even staycations cost some money, so it’s best to do a little planning to make sure your staycation stays within budget.

Search Free Things to Do in Your Area

Great ways to find local free or low-cost events are to check out a community calendar or local blog that specializes in free fun.

  • Enjoy your public library (they loan movies as well as books) or local park.
  • Go camping or have a picnic.
  • Take a day trip to a nearby town or place of interest.
  • Check out guide books for your area and be a tourist in your own city.

There even are apps that offer guided walking tours, famous stories for your area, or historical information.

Make the Most of Your Backyard

Your backyard and even your own home can be a treat when you call a time-out on work and chores and focus on spending time together or on the things that you love to do.

  • Enjoy family activities, like backyard games (cornhole, anyone?), movie nights, game nights, scavenger hunts, or dance parties. Or create a play together or have family talent show.
  • Unplug and indulge in quality time: have an at-home spa day, start a family book club, or take a walk down memory lane with the family scrapbook, old photos & home videos, or sharing family stories.
  • Camp or have a picnic in your backyard or living room.
  • Get moving with sports you can do in your neighborhood like biking, skating, badminton, croquet, kickball, or volleyball.
  • Learn or practice new skills: explore a new craft, have an at-home science experiment day, or have a family bake-off.
  • Go on a free or cheap virtual tour. Many museums, national parks, aquariums, zoos, and art galleries offer fun and engaging content online.

Raid Your Stash

Do you have a box full of party decorations, a closet full of craft and art supplies, a pantry of forgotten foods, or shelves of neglected games? Look through these hidden gems and see if they inspire you to spice up the fun. You can liven up the kitchen or living room for a theme night, or challenge yourself to a creative cooking night and use only the ingredients you have on hand — give yourself bonus points for using the most unusual items.

Reach out anytime to chat with a personal financial representative and learn more.

Budgeting for Your Staycation

A little bit of planning can help you keep your staycation costs down. First, determine the most you are willing to spend. Next, write down the cost of your plans for your staycation. Include the big things like lodging (for campsites or if you are indulging in a near-by hotel stay), activity costs, and food, and little things like gas money and supplies. Add up those costs and check the total — if you are over budget, see if you can whittle the costs down by repurposing what you have at home, borrowing supplies from friends, or finding deals and coupons. Also, see if shifting the timing of your staycation helps you take advantage of lower prices.

Once you know how much your staycation will cost, make a weekly or monthly savings goal, and determine how long it will take to reach that goal. For example, if your staycation will cost $100, and you think you can save $10 a week, plan to save for 10 weeks. Think through the little ways you can cut back to reach your savings goal — maybe you skip lattes while you are saving, or cut back on eating out, or take a break from an entertainment subscription service. Consider opening a special savings account just for your staycation if it helps you set that money aside. Once your staycation is over, you may want to keep that savings account going and put a little bit of money in it each month to be ready for your next vacation.

Always remember to prioritize your health and safety. Depending on where you travel, there might be guidelines you will want to be aware of if you do venture outside your front door. Consider these additional guidelines:

  • Know your county’s current COVID-19 regulations, including mask requirements, social distancing guidelines, and limits on public gatherings.
  • Look for outdoor fun. See if your favorite activity has an outdoor option.
  • Find out how your local businesses are creatively serving customers while following COVID-19 guidelines. Many businesses have expanded delivery and curbside options and have practices in place to help their customers social distance and avoid overcrowding.
  • If you plan to connect with family and friends outside of your household, have conversations first about how you will all respect COVID-19 safety guidelines while enjoying time together. Be flexible, and be ready to alter your plans for everyone’s safety.