Frugal Vacations: Camping – Part 1 Campsites

Camping is one of those things that I love, I have put a lot of time and effort into trying to make my vacations as frugal and fun as possible. I want to get out and see the world, but I have a teeny tiny budget. I love camping because it gives me the ability travel, affordability or adventure! In this series, I’m going to walk you through the basics of choosing your own camping adventure.

There are so many options when camping that can make the experience vary wildly. These options also come with extra costs depending on what you choose, but I’ve researched a lot, and I have to say, most of them are more affordable than any hotel I could stay at.

You can usually choose from primitive, tent sites with or without electric, RV sites, or even cabins. I’m going to walk you through each different type of site.
Primative Camping


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If you are like my husband, you might prefer a primitive site, with no restroom, no shower, and no tent pad. These are the best ways to get away from nature, as well as isolated from people as possible. It sounds serene, but it also requires a lot more work. 

They are often very affordable, or even free, with entry into a state or local park. Different states have different regulations, though. So your mileage may vary.

Campground Sites

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If you need a bit more luxury, like me, you’ll want a tent site with or without electric. They usually come with tent pads or a level area that is perfect for pitching a tent. This makes camping in groups easy, fun, and afforable (you can usually share a campsite 2-3 tents).  Many of them allow for pets, have access to showers and restrooms, and some even have laundry facilities.

If you need even more creature comforts, I would suggest an rv or camper site. You can rent or bring your own. Which, if you want to be an enthusiast traveler, or you happen to have a hand me down, can be a great way to see the country cheaply. They are usually included in normal campground sites, and may cost a few dollars extra.

Cabins

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Finally, we have cabins, which are like single hotel rooms out in the woods, some with, some without restrooms. They are wonderful for romantic getaways, or if you like to have all the living of home with the added bonus of nature. It may not come with a rugged camping experience, but it’s a good way to get a vacation for less than a hotel.

Whatever you decide, knowing what you want will help prepare you for what’s ahead.

-Aster

6 Reasons to Make Your Own Yogurt

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1. Cost

A gallon of Milk cost me 2.19 and a quart of yogurt cost me 3.89. I’ll be able to make about 3.5 quarts of yogurt (I strain my yogurt to get a greek consistency) – and I can use the whey to make sandwich bread.

2. Ease

That’s right. I said it. It’s easy. So easy that the most labor intensive things I had to do were check the temperatures (I used a thermometer with an alarm, because that’s even lazier) and stir in the yogurt cultures.

3. Taste

When you make your own you get to control what flavors you put in. That means you get a more authentic-tasting product that doesn’t have all those extra ingredients that alter the taste

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4. Ingredients

Speaking of ingredients, have you ever actually looked at the ingredients list of some of these yogurts? Chemicals I can’t spell and have no idea what they are, and just a plain old lack of good quality simple food. You also get to choose exactly what milk (including maybe your own!) you want in there.

5. Whey

The manna from the gods which is used to make so many things, like bread, oatmeal, etc. You need this in your life.

6. Cheese

That’s right, you can make your own cheese from the yogurt, you just have to strain it, creating that wonderful byproduct: whey.

I’ll be bringing you my follow along recipe soon!
-Aster

Frugal Entertainment: Beach Vacation for Less!

Imagine a beautiful seashore, the waves rushing up around you. Now imagine that entire trip being convenient, and cost effective. My husband and I love going to the beach, and we especially love spending as little money as possible.

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How is it possible?

  1. Take trips to state parks, rather than expensive beach towns.

    We visited Cape Henlopen this year in Delaware. It was a two-hour drive from our house, so it is something we can do for a day, or we can go for a week. The state park has a campground, so when we want to get away for a few days we take a tent and our furry companion and go!

    State Parks normally cater to RVs and have cabins as well, for those who are not comfortable with an air mattress and using the joint bathing facilities.

    With low daily rates, and fewer opportunities to park with our money (no boardwalk = no impulse buys), we have a much more relaxed time.

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  1. Pack your own food.

    We take a large cooler, dried goods, and do not eat at restaurants. Those little snacks, impulse purchases, and “cheap” meals add up quickly. Instead, we choose one or two places to dine at in the evening throughout the week. This allows us to feel like we got special treats while at the same time saving money overall.

  1. Bring your own equipment or rent it.

    Yes. I said rent the bikes and the kayaks. Hear me out. If you don’t already have a bike or a kayak, and you are not the type of person who would use them more than once or twice a season. The upkeep permits (boats/kayaks, etc.), and maintenance can cost you more than they are worth to own. This is an instance where renting makes more sense. Especially at a state park, because the costs are not usually inflated compared to beach towns.

  1.  Hit up free entertainment throughout the season.

    In the summer, many of the local towns have live bands and free movie nights. We’ve driven to the closest town, and it still feels like a fun vacation activity because it is all new to us, and the beach atmosphere makes it especially fun. We try to plan these days with a single boardwalk exploration or one of our fancy dinners. That way we have dedicated time to spend if we want to.

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  1. Bring some friends!

    Many state parks allow you have a certain number of tents or people per site. If you are frugal and have friends you feel you can share the space with, this is even more cost effective. Most tent sites are thirty dollars a day or less. If you take another family with you, or another set of couples, you can have a fun vacation with friends that make memories and won’t break the bank!

    But make sure that you really can get along in those circumstances because relaxation is the key.

  1. Head to the beach during the off-season.

    Many parks discount their rates outside of the summer months. This means that there is often no lifeguard, so swimming is usually either prohibited or at your own risk. But, if you are like me, you go more to look at at the ocean then to swim.

    Check with your local beach of choice for discounts, permitted activities, and other incentives to go in the fall or spring!

  1. Budget your spending, and stick to it

    This one may seem like a no-brainer, but we’ve all planned on a budget, said we were going to stick to it, and then just saw the one thing we “had” to have. Or we didn’t count “little” purchases. If you want to have a nice vacation without worrying about the cost you really do have to have clear spending limits and stick to them.

    One popular tip, that really does work, is the cash envelope system. My husband and I each get a certain amount to spend, we put the amounts in an envelope for each of us, and when it is gone, it is gone! No worries about the debit card, keeping track of bank accounts, or checking balances.

Have a fun and safe beach vacation! – Aster