How to plan the perfect ‘Staycation’
Being in debt is a struggle and summer can make it feel even worse. Friends go to beautiful, sunny destinations and post all about it online, and adverts are constantly trying to get you to spend money on bargain get-a-ways to the Mediterranean, but just because you can’t afford to travel this year, doesn’t mean you haven’t earned a holiday.
Whether you are staying on a budget for your Trust Deed, or just trying to keep your finances on track, you don’t have to go anywhere to take the break you deserve. If you are able to take a bit of time off work, relaxing at home can be fun and refresh you for the next few months until Christmas. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your time off.
1. Set your budget and plan
The best part of a staycation is the money you save on travel and accommodation. This, hopefully, means you might have a modest budget to do a few pleasant things during your week off. You might want to think about saving in the weeks or months before, even a small saving of £2 a week for 5 weeks could mean you can treat yourself to a film ticket or a light lunch with friends. The more you can save, the more you can do. Saving a total of £50 could mean a couple of nice days out to otherwise expensive places, such as the zoo, or you could treat yourself to a nice dinner for two.
No matter what your budget is, make sure you write it down and plan out how you are going to spend it. Remember to think of all your essential spending first, including your food and bills, and make it realistic – you don’t want to put extra stress on yourself when you’re meant to be relaxing! After you have your essential spending coordinated, you can see how much you have left over for fun, holiday activities and plan accordingly.
2. Fun for Free
There are all sorts of budgets that will allow you to take the time off that you deserve. Even if you only have your normal weekly budget to work with or don’t have any money left after your essential expenditure, don’t worry – there are some great ways to relax and have fun that don’t have to cost anything, especially if you bring packed lunches and take public transport. Here is a selection of free activities to get you started:
- Visit a museum or gallery
- Read those books you’ve been meaning to get around to
- Have a picnic in the park
- Go on a hike, walk or stroll
- Catch up on boxsets and films you may have missed
- Host a bring-your-own games night
- Go to the beach
No matter what you enjoy, there are plenty of activities that cost nothing. Whether you are a bookworm, a cinema buff, or love the great outdoors, there is something for you. Plenty of free local events, such as interesting talks or community activities, can also be found online, so do a bit of research and enjoy yourself!
3. Look for Deals
If you are lucky enough to have some extra spending money, don’t squander it by paying full price! There are several sites that offer great deals on experiences, fine dining, massages, and other great ideas for days out and holidays. Sites such as wowcher, groupon, and itson can all offer great budget activities for you to enjoy.
Hopefully, this can help you spread your money further. With £40, you might be able to go out for a great meal with a friend and treat yourself to an Indian head massage, or you could do a round of golf and get cheap tickets to the circus! No matter what you like – treat yourself at least a little.
4. Do something new
Staycations aren’t just about saving money, you also need to enjoy yourself! Staying at home can seem like a challenge when you’d much rather be exploring somewhere new and exciting. But I guarantee that no matter how long you have been living somewhere, there are places you’ve always been meaning to visit and never managed to. Discovering your town and region as though you were a tourist can make you fall in love with it all over again.
If you can’t think of anything new to explore, ask your friends and neighbours. They will definitely have a fun recommendation for you to discover – maybe there is a particularly great pub that you have been walking past for years, or a local band you’ve never heard of before. You don’t need to travel to gain a fresh outlook on life!
5. Do something old
Not everything you do has to be new and exciting. Most people take holidays simply to relax, and though it might seem boring to stay at home, just think of all the best times you’ve had at places right on your doorstep. That hilarious night out with your best mate, that gorgeous sunny hike across your local national park, and that adorable picnic you had with your family are all great experiences that you can recreate.
Reclaim your smile and the good times by doing some of what makes you, you. Just make sure you do it in a financially, mentally and physically heathy way. Even if your best memories cost a bit of money, there are plenty of cheap alternatives to expensive things you may have done in the past. For example, you and your girlfriends can go window or charity shop shopping and limit yourselves by bringing only the exact cash you are willing to spend – leave that card at home!
Financial worries are often cited as the most stressful aspect of modern living. Those in debt report how easy it is to lose yourself in the stress and worry, and stop doing the fun, social activities they used to love, so the most important thing with a stay-cation is to take your time out to step back, take a breath and relax. Breaks are very important for your mental health and remember: you deserve it!