Last week was our family vacation. This year, we decided to keep it cheap, since we raided our savings a few months ago to cover my son’s vision therapy.
Here’s what we did:
Friday (Yes, I started vacation on a Friday): My wife worked a half day, then we drove to visit my parents, roughly 120 miles north of our house. $110 for gas, round-trip, and $10 for drive-through lunch. $120 total.
Saturday: We went to the county fair and Dairy Queen. $18 for admission. $30 for ride tickets. $35 for food and ice cream. The ride tickets were totally worth it. My son and I discovered that he can handle the fun rides, which thrills me. $83 total.
Sunday: We had a picnic at the bottom of Inspiration Peak, the third highest point in Minnesota, followed by a hike to the top. That evening, my brother, his wife, my wife, and I tricked my parents into babysitting and escaped for several hours of adult time. After a couple of overpriced drinks at a crap restaurant, we went somewhere nicer and cheaper. A nice dinner, a few drinks, and a round of drunken go-karts later, we spent $90 for the evening.
Monday: Back to the go-kart park for the afternoon, and the return drive home in the evening. The go-kart park included 3 rounds of go-karts, mini-golf, and a round of bumper boats. $40.
Tuesday: A hands-on kids museum, a natural history museum that was hosting a portable planetarium, and a teppenyaki restaurant. We used museum passes for the museums, so this cost a total of $160. By far, the most expensive part was the restaurant. The museums cost a combined $30.
Wednesday: We spent the day at the Monster Mall’s indoor theme park, Nickelodean Universe, where we tested my son’s ability to handle the fun rides for $70. Then we ate at the Rainforest Cafe for $116, and we got my wife’s anniversary present, a family portrait at an “old time” photo studio. We chose a 1920s theme. I must say, I look dashing in a zoot suit. $260 total.
Thursday: My wife had to work on Thursday because she was short of vacation time, so I had the brats to myself. We went to a pick-your-own apple orchard where we picked a large bag of apples, a bottle of real, locally-made maple syrup and 3 cookies-on-a-stick. Afterwards, Brat #1 and I went to a Chinese buffet and the comic book store while the women-folk went to a saddle-club meeting. $60 total.
Friday: We had a fried chicken picnic at the largest playground in the area, and otherwise took it easy. $12.
Saturday: On Saturday, my girls rode in a horse show for the saddle club while my wife put in her volunteer work hours. Registration and the food for the potluck ran $40.
Sunday: I had to teach a gun class, so I made money, instead of spending it. My wife and kids played around the house.
Total, our vacation cost us $865, for 10 days of memories. If we would have skipped the restaurants, it would have cost $465, but we wanted those experiences, too. Our vacation fund has $906 in it, so we did all right.