Well, we are off to Lake Tahoe tomorrow. It will be a long driving day with an interesting drive between the desert floor and the 11 mountain passes to traverse along the way. Needless to say, I think we will drive separately. We have been at Great Basin NP for the last 3 days. What a different environment and scenery than where we came from in Colorado. The Great Basin stretches from the California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, through most of Nevada, to Utah’s Wasatch mountains. It is HUGE! The G...
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Frugal Facts of Camping
So there is a meme floating around on social media that I wish to bust. It says something like camping is the only thing you spend a fortune on and live like you are homeless.
Whoever wrote this was definitely not a truly experienced camper. Camping is a celebration of living simply. So here we go. Here are my tips for budget camping and loving it.
When my husband and I started camping, we had a borrowed tent and an air mattress that barely fit inside. And guess what? We loved it. We brought the necessities and maybe a little more. My husband and kids will read this, so I must be honest. I packed many things, but they were all things we had at home.
One thing I didn't do in the beginning but do now is 1. shop thrift stores for used camping gear. Sometimes people buy and use camping gear and then find out they do not like camping. Or sometimes, it means they may have purchased an upgrade.
This will work to your advantage. Check out Camping.tools marketplace. Oh, and do not forget yard sales. You can hit the jackpot there when people are cleaning out the garage. Others' trash can be your treasure.
Now for our second tip in frugality, skip big box stores, and 2. hit your local $1 stores. Oops, I mean $1.25 stores. You can find paper products, first aid items, toiletries, and food containers. You may also find some food items there for a bargain. Another thing I buy there often is sunglasses. All you that have expensive sunglasses and can keep up with them, kudos to you. I myself start the summer with about 5 cheap pairs and do not have any anxiety when they are misplaced.
3. Keep meals simple. You do not want to come in after a day of hiking, cycling, boating, or swimming and prepare a big meal. So pack easy meals like sandwiches, yogurt, pop tarts, donuts, and fruit. Raw veggies cut up with a ranch dip are great for lunch. And you can pre-cut the veggies before your trip. Make the big meals in the cool of the evening if you would like.
So sometimes it is not the camping that is so expensive but actually the entertainment. When camping near bustling towns with many attractions, it can be easy to overspend. 4. Choose free or cheap entertainment options.
You can hike, cycle, explore, swim, boat, or play family games. Games you already own may include games like cornhole, horseshoes, volleyball, catch, or even board and card games.
This is also where the travel games from the $1.25 store can come in handy. Also, check into the campground's scheduled activities. These can be great fun and a way to interact with other campers.
5. Choose where you camp wisely. Consider your budget, free entertainment options, peak seasons, and even amenities. Sometimes a matter of scheduling a week before or after can impact the prices quite a bit. It pays to think about these things well in advance. Also, going completely off-grid is an option. This means in some parks and forest areas you can camp for free. No electricity, and you will need to carry in potable water, but free. Many families choose this route.
Maybe you are driving across the country. Then this may be your tip. 6. Go car camping. Car camping is excellent for an overnight stop on the way to a destination. Evaluate whether your vehicle will accommodate all the passengers for sure.
I wouldn't advise this in the heat of the summer. Although if you are driving an electronic car, air conditioning may be possible. There are lots of posts on this check it out.
When preparing for any trip, the details can make or break its success. So tip 7. Make a list. And as Santa says, check it twice. Gear that has to be bought at a campground store will be more expensive. I have seen many lists on different internet sites. Doing a bit of research will pay off.
And the last tip may sound like overplanning, but I have found it helpful. 8. Make a plan. This means bringing the whole crew together and planning activities and meals so that everyone has contributed to the experience. This is when parents may want to discuss what activities are doable in the budget and those that are not. Kids deal much easier with boundaries and parameters that are set in the beginning.
Make some memories. You may need to pay a small amount for priceless memories.
Sometimes we get into a poor spirit. Little pun there, but it is true. We can be poor in paper and rich in people. We allow our lack of riches to determine if we can make memories or plan vacations with our family. The best vacation can be a tent and a pop tart. Time is the most expensive commodity.
You cannot buy time back. The years of childhood slip away. The time in college, new jobs, and marriage come and go in a blink of an eye. Before you know it, you have 2 kids and a mortgage trying to make ends meet in a troubled economy. Stress begins to affect your health, and each year it becomes more evident.
Turn around, and you see an empty nest. You can't buy back that time. When the grandbabies come around you, understand time and its nature. You realize I have lived longer than I have in years ahead.
You find you are not able to do the things you did before. Your kids giggle at you like you did your parents. You lose the remote more. You forget things you need to remember.
You get the large pill box with morning and evening meds you dole weekly.
Time marches on and seems to get faster. Before, tasks took you just a few minutes to do. Now take you longer because your body makes you take breaks. Time is the most expensive thing you have.
Use it wisely. Invest it in your priorities. Don't squander it away. If you are younger than 30, this lesson may be a little advanced because you think you have all the time in the world.
But you will realize the truth soon. And to those under 30 that are more mature for your age, investing time in your family is more important than any retirement plan. It is more important than a bigger house, newer car, electronic gadgets, or luxuries.
Sometimes ministers stress the importance of paying your tithes and giving in offerings. That is good. But many forget that time is worth more than money to God. He walks on streets made of pure gold. The gold is so pure it is see-through. He values our time with Him and times spent loving your neighbor more.
Matthew 6:19-21 “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
Watch your time investments closer than your financial ones. Money can be made and multiplied. Time cannot.