Friday, July 22, 2016

Shopping for our Road Trip

It's been going on for awhile now. I've been pre shopping for our summer vacation.  Yes!  I pre-shop for our two week, on the road, motorhome escape.  We happen to love grilling and cooking during our vacations so it's not a burden.  Last year we rented an RV and tested our skills at long drives, cooking as we travel, and living in a small space.  This year we managed to finally buy an RV and plan to vacation with it for the next 5 to 6 years. 
Our 2015 rental

This is a major savings plan for our family.  Not only do we save big bucks on hotels, but we save on meals.  We're a family of five, and travelling with six this year.  I ran a quick excel spreadsheet on how much vacation will cost by driving, dining out and staying in hotels against an RV trip.  It was half the expense.  The road trip vacation plan allows us to go and see places we would never vacation to without the RV.  Our kids are old enough for the long drive hours and are looking forward to this year's adventure.

So here's how the coupons come into play:  First, we couldn't buy extra things like RV's in our life without constant and steady savings.  Think about it, $25 per week, for a decade.  Second, we manage to save money on all kinds of meals by grocery shopping with online coupons, apps, and good old fashioned newspaper coupons.  We do this year round saving a good $50 per week.  These all tie in together to free up some money in our household budget.  We don't eat out a lot by choice.  We have become great cooks of practically everything we want including steaks, stir fry and egg rolls, even home made donuts.  When the kids say, "I'm hungry for XXX," we find out how to fix it and gather the ingredients.

The third way coupons come into play is with stocking up the RV cabinets.  We splurge!  Yep.  Me.  Splurging on groceries.  I buy the extras we don't buy year round during our vacation weeks. Even with all the extras, it's far less money than restaurants for two weeks. 

I started back in JUNE.  I have a couple of totes of staples all ready to go right now for our vacation.  Remember when Ketchup was on sale?  I bought an extra bottle then, for now.  How about all those 4th of July snack foods?  Of course I couponed those and put them in the totes. I'm always watching for a small bottle of pancake syrup that fits the mini fridge and is cheap with a coupon.

One week out from vacation, all I need to pick up are the fresh meats and produce.  Last year the most expensive part of our vacation food list was stopping after the first week to restock Milk and bread.  We hit a grocery store that had price at least 25% higher than our local County Market.  Who would have thought Montana's milk would be so high?

Let's say your family is not buying an RV this summer.  You can still plan all the convenience foods early, plan a couple of grilled cheese/pancake/quesadilla lunches with a griddle and a cooler.  You can simply pick up a car adapter for your counter top grill or you can get fancy with a full camp stove.  Roadside parks make a great stop where ever you are going.  Like this stop....
Grand Teton 2015

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