A family member has a home in the Rocky Mountains. We were actually married in this mountain town. With our “glamour” travel all over the great State of Texas via Southwest Airlines…we were able to purchase 5 airline tickets (the 3 youngest kids are going with us) from SA to Denver via Rapid Rewards. I reserved the minivan rental 6 months ago (that is, by the way, the best frugal travel tip that I never read anything about…there’s no risk in reserving a rental car b/c you don’t give a credit card number and you don’t even have to remember to call and cancel. If you don’t show up to get the car…no harm, no foul). So I managed to reserve a minivan for $380 for 7 days…but wait…we have free days with National so that will be reduced by 4 days; worth so the final charge for the van will be closer to $160. I have managed to squirrel that away from my spending money and although I know many of you will say every cent should go to debt…I’m not willing to go to that extreme when it comes to family trips.
This house has been available to me for many years–we are blessed. The family member who shall remain anonymous believes in paying it forward and is extremely generous…and he might also see this as the least he can do since he lives out of state (not Colorado–this is where he plans on retiring) and isn’t able to help with our aging parents. LOL…that gives it away! My kids and I have been going there for years now (yes that also explains some of the debt b/c I didn’t worry much about those airline tickets not being free back then!) Steve and my stepson have been to the house as well. We have always cooked all of our meals–even before the strict budget–so I don’t anticipate too much difficulty in sticking to our food budget…even on real food. We have already had the discussion that there’s no need for any shopping (besides grocery) and are doing our homework on free events in the area. A National Park pass is $20 for 7 days and really…when you are from Texas where going outside is near impossible bc of the heat and the landscape isn’t much to look at when you do…just being in a National Park in Colorado presents plenty of things to do!
There will be no “pre-trip” shopping madness like in years past. We all have everything we need for this trip.
So we are taking this budget living, real food eating show on the road! We leave July 1 and return July 8. I plan on providing daily spending reports to all of you so you can rest assured we have not gone crazy. I am prepared for criticism for this decision but also know that we are serious about debt reduction and going on this trip is not going to change that. In fact, I see it as a challenge to keep up the good work in a different setting.