For several months, we have considered inflation and how to beat it. A few weeks ago, we contemplated a recession and what we can do now to prevent suffering when one arrives. As discussed, one of the more important steps we can take to prepare is to get out of debt.  Consider this, a credit card debt of $4,000 at 17% interest, some credit cards are much higher, paying the minimum payment each month it would take 20 years and cost $5,107.62 in interest before the debt would be paid. The interest alone would be more than the original loan. Frightening, especially considering the increasing possibility of a recession resulting in a job loss or decreased hours. (See: Let’s Talk Recession) If you have debt, commit now to begin making extra payment and get rid of it and don’t add more.

Now is the season that people plan vacations.  The cost of gas and food are both rising rapidly and you still have debt. This may be the time to plan for a Stay at Home Vacation this year. You will save not only on gas, but also on lodging and the cost of eating out.  If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to commit to getting out of debt. We see families failing all around us and so much of that is due to the burden of debt. There are definitely financial advantages to staying around home to vacation but there are also other reasons to consider a simple vacation this year.

There are times in every family when we may feel we are out of touch with those who live in the same home. This has become especially evident with the dawn of cell phones and other devices. Most families were amazed, even shocked, during the pandemic to discover time alone with the kids been lacking and getting to know family members, really know them, was a blessing to them all.

A simple vacation, in familiar surroundings, will give you that extra time to really talk, share feelings of fear or worry, have fun without distractions and create memories to last for not only this lifetime but generations. If you have recently experienced a death in the family or a job loss or change, staying close to home will give you the time together to begin healing. When we take a vacation away, too often we are so tired by the time we come home from the amusement park or beach that we fall into bed without a word to each other. You may feel you have spent too much time together the last two years, but I am not suggesting you lock yourself in the house and limit fun to the backyard.

Research places to visit in your area that are close enough to return home each night. So often we neglect the attractions near our home that others travel hundreds of miles to experience. I grew up in New Jersey but never visited the Statue of Liberty. We attended my husbands 25th reunion and even though San Fransisco is only 70 miles away, most had never been there. Do some research and ask friends for suggestions.

Now is the time to plan and get yourself and the kids excited. As you ask for suggestions of places to visit, be sure the ask your friend’s children. Your kids will be more excited if they know a destination is also Owen or Lilly’s favorite place.

As you begin your planning get a binder, lined paper, and sheet protectors to keep track of your plans. Gather the family and you are ready to begin. Brainstorm together using the information you have gathered and plan a few day trips. Plan days at or near home and consider choosing a theme for those days making them even more fun. What about a Live Like a Pioneer Day, outdoor movie night or a Backyard Watepark Day?

When it’s time to complete your preparations:

  • Make final arrangements with those you have hired to care for larger pets, such as horses or livestock and your home and yard.
  • Get cash from the bank.
  • Make a list of meals for each day.
  • Purchase food for meals, snacks and day trips. Be sure to have plenty of fruit for quick snacks and popcorn for movie night.
  • Prepare meals which can be frozen and reheated–All containers should be disposable.
  • Purchase batteries for cameras, recorders, and flashlights.
  • Purchase supplies for crafts.
  • Gather coupons and pamphlets for day trips.
  • Purchase sun screen and insect repellent.
  • Clean your house.
  • Restock bathrooms with TP, shampoo and soap.
  • Purchase paper products and plastic utensils for meals.
  • Borrow any items you may not have.
  • Borrow or rent DVDs for movie times. Always ask friends before you lay out money for rentals. Borrow a projector and have a movie night under the stars.

Every vacation needs some rules, get the kids to help. Just a few suggestions:

  • We will let the answering machine and voicemail pick up all phone calls.
  • We will use the phone only to order food or in case of an emergency. Dad’s job does not count as an emergency. Let the boss believe you are out of town.
  • Computers will be turned off.
  • Cleaning will be allowed only to mop up a spill or similar minor clean up.
  • Sustaining life is allowed. Therefore watering the lawn or feeding the pets is permitted.
  • Laundry will be done the day before vacation begins– if you run out …oh well.
  • Paper plates, cups and plastic utensils will be used for all meals and we will THROW THEM AWAY or eat out.
  • Beds can stay unmade.
  • Absolutely no working on that to do list, no honey-dos.
  • Have plenty of cash on hand for the delivery guy.
  • Bedtimes are not strictly enforced. If you were away from home you would not stress over bed times. This is a vacation!
  • This is family time only!! No friends.
  • You can not cancel!!! If you had airline tickets you wouldn’t cancel, so cancellations are not allowed.
  • Only reheating, no cooking allowed.

Each day should be treated as a day at a luxury hotel or dude ranch with no responsibilites except to have fun as a family. To accomplish that feeling:

Trade with a friend. If you ask around, there is probably another family who is not planning to vacation because money it tight. Offer to help them with their Staycation in exchange for their help with yours. Ask your friend to come in on days when you will be taking day trips to make the beds and straighten the towels. Make sure they leave a chocolate on each pillow.

Create a breakfast buffet each morning. Buffet staples every day may include milk, juice, and fruits. Add a few items for variety each day.

Buy all those sugary cereals you never allow through the front door. My children loved vacation because we always took breakfast foods with us to save money. It was the only time they got all that sugary stuff.

Breakfast Sundaes are always a hit. I taught an after school cooking class at three elementary schools. The kids loved breakfast sundaes. They are so simple and no dishes! Simply place your favorite yogurt in the bottom of a clear disposable cup (you can use paper bowls but they aren’t as much fun) sprinkle a favorite cold cereal (even one of the sugary ones) over the yogurt, top with cut up fruit and enjoy. Some of the kids I taught told me they ate these each morning and made them when they had a sleep over. 

One morning include hard boiled eggs prepared before your vacation begins and add those to your buffet. Add muffins and you have a meal.

Self reliance in not just about being prepared for an emergency but also about being out of debt and the burden that places on a family. Eliminating debt and avoiding adding more, will bring peace and create a sense of confidence as you plan for the future. A Staycation can help accomplish this while strengthening your family. “Try it, you’ll like it”.

Just two more weeks and the personal emergency binder will be finished. Catch up by reviewing Monday posts for each week.Today’s article includes excerpts from the ebook “Pack Your Bags We’re Staying Home” Available at