Relax Without Vacation Costs

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Relax Without Vacation Costs

One measure of a civilization’s progress is the way the cost of relaxing keeps going up.

Let’s see– movies, sports, amusement parks, electronic games, vacations… Not only are these things that we buy in order to relax expensive but they often add even more tension to our lives because we often become tense trying to figure out how to pay for them. Some things just don’t make sense to me.

We really don’t have to “buy in” (no pun intended : ) to all of this. There are still many ways to relax without spending money. Here are a few:

  • Go to the park. My grandkids love going to the park to play on the swings and slides. They also love playing a game of baseball or just kicking a ball.

  • Lay on the grass with the kids and watch the clouds or roll down a grassy hill. Play tag or float twigs in a creek. 

  • The kids still love to be pulled in a wagon, to go on a picnic or just to go on a walk with “Nan” (me) or mom and dad.

    (Our kids pulling each other around in the wagon. Aren’t they cute???  -Tawra)

  • Curl up with a good book or work on some hand sewing, put together a puzzle or make homemade crafts. Toss in a glass of lemonade and a plate of cookies and you have it made.

  • Get out in the garden. My daughter finds gardening so relaxing and I even find pulling weeds relaxing.

  • How about sitting on a porch swing with hubby at the end of a long day just talking and drinking an ice cold glass of tea?

  • Go for a hike, either in the mountains, around your neighborhood or exploring your town.

  • Lay under the trees on lawn chairs visiting with friends, neighbors or family– What a concept!

  • Girls in the family give each other a manicure or pedicure

  • Boys just sit back and play video games for awhile and just enjoy it. 


You really don’t have to do something expensive to relax– only something different from the norm. Think of that this summer when you’re planning your vacation. Maybe staying home doing nothing but spending time together, sleeping in, not wearing make up or shaving for a week (although please do brush your teeth) or wearing extra comfy clothes all day would be much more relaxing than an action packed trip somewhere.

Give mom a break, too. Let your one splurge be on a few convenience foods and snacks to make things easy for mom. It would still cost much less than going away on a trip someplace.

Don’t forget dad and give him a break also. Mow the yard at the beginning of your vacation and then forget it until you are off of vacation, unless dad really loves mowing.

Don’t worry about all the things you need to get done. If you were gone on vacation, they wouldn’t get done anyway. Just relax. Enjoy each other.

Vacations are supposed to help us relax but how often do we come home from them exhausted. Duhhhh! There is something wrong with this picture. It doesn’t have to cost a lot for you to be able to relax and, believe it or not, it isn’t a sin to relax and just do nothing sometimes. God even highly recommends it. (It’s in the ten commandments!)



Photo By: Isaac and Aaron Goldberg


  1. Bea says

    You are so right, Jill, about nice times not requiring a lot of money. I like to read too and find just having a day where I don’t have to go ANYWHERE such a pleasure that no money could buy. This past Sunday I didn’t have to go anywhere at all, because I went to Church on Saturday, so for me having the time for a leisurely breakfast, that I didn’t have to gulp down, and staying in my nightgown was wonderful. And then I spent many hours relaxing and reading. What a treat. Later in the day I had time to cook a nice supper from scratch and not be rushed or exhausted from work. It was almost like a “Retreat” from the world or a “mental health day.” So nice. I like to buy used antique books and I found one at the library that I just had to tell you about, Jill. It was like a “God-send” or coincidence that I found it because it’s about staying out of debt. The title is “Out of Debt, Out of Danger.” It is from 1873! Isn’t that cool? And there is an inscription written from one woman to another wishing her a “Merry Christmas.” It’s in such beautiful handwriting, it almost looks like calligraphy. They wrote so elaborately back then. The book is about a family that went into debt by buying fancy clothes and having parties and giving expensive gifts, etc. They end up owing much money to creditors. The wife in the story doesn’t like the debt her husband and teenage children are making and wants to move from their expensive city house to the country. They end up eventually having to do that because the father “failed” as they called it in those days and most of their possesions where auctioned off and they had nothing left. The children were spoiled too. In the country they learned to live simply and value nature and work. The children never did anything around the house when rich, so they had to adjust to country life, but ended up happier. There are 2 quotes from the book I wanted to share. The first one is, “Debt, however cautiously it be offered, is the cup of a siren, and the wine, spiced and delicious though it be, an eating poison.” This quote is by Douglas Jerrold. The “siren”, in case people don’t know, is a creature from Greek Mythology that lured mariners to their death by their spellbinding singing. The other quote by the same author is, “Debt, like the moth, makes valueless furs and velvets.” Aren’t they cool quotes? I liked them and thought you might too, Jill.

  2. says

    you really hit home when you said “Remember you really don’t have to do something expensive to relax only something different from the norm.” Great post! P.S. Tea on the porch sounds wonderful!

  3. jill says

    Thanks Wendy. After spending the day packing tons of books to ship putting my feet up with a nice cup of tea is sounding mighty good to me too.

    Bea, your book does sound interesting. I love to read older books too. Tawra and I were just talking yesterday about how things really haven’t changed that much. She and I are finishing up reading a set of books of diaries and the lives of the first women to settle Kansas.

    In the one Tawra was reading the gal was talking about what were they going to do “in these hard economic times”. Do those words sound familiar to anyone? : )

    They worried about how to stretch their food dollar, how to deal with their children,what to do when the crops failed (losing jobs or their income) or when the grasshoppers came and ate everything and they had nothing left but a few potatoes to last them through the winter.

    Pretty much like we do – well almost I haven’t had a problem with grasshoppers lately. : ) There really isn’t much new under the sun.


  4. Bea says

    Jill and Tawra, Those diary books sound good. I guess women throughout the ages all worried about the same things. At least the women who cared did, not all do. I like to read books about seeing how people get through the challenges of life. They inspire me to keep going. Jill and Tawra, you are both two women who seem to be filled with wisdom. It never fails to delight me. I honestly wished I grew up knowing all the things I learned the hard way. I was never taught those things though and had to struggle with God’s help to overcome.

  5. Rachel says

    Great post, but my problem with being home is that my phone rings off the hook. We have pretty much learned to just let the machine pick it up, but it it still a headache!

    I love to read as well, and I would really love to find this book that Bea mentioned. I have a book that is a collection of essays written by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her adult years. Many were published in a newspaper. There is much said of trying economic times, losing the farm, homelessness, and even illiteracy. So even though we think our problems are new, they really are not.

  6. elizabeth says

    Great post. I love just having nothing to do other than putter in the yard and enjoy the outdoors. Or lay on the couch in a cool, quiet house. Sometimes I even “enjoy” having the time to catch up housework. I get tired of the go, go, go. I tend to have a running price tally in my head too.

  7. Bea says

    Rachel, I think you may be able to buy the book, “Out of Debt, Out of Danger” by Cousin Alice, thorough the internet or you may be able to read the book online on an ebook. You can search the title and author to see if you can find it. When you go to library book sales, or anyplace they sell used books, look through the really old books because I always find such interesting treasures.

  8. says

    We have had several “staycations”. When my youngest was born we stayed home for our week of vacation (he was only 2 weeks old anyway) and had a great time just being together and enjoying our newest family member. Last year we spent a few days camping and biked the Creeper Trail in Va. It’s free to do, (you do however have to pay for a shuttle to pick your car back up). We biked 17 miles and enjoyed our time in nature. There are lots of things to do around your home for very little or no cost at all. Hiking, biking, swimming, just enjoy being together whatever you do! Thanks for your words of encouragement, and praying for you and all of your packing!

  9. Doug Mc Cormick says

    I vacation in a small Scotty travel trailer that only cost $200 when I bought it three years ago. I look at the price of a travel trailer, and divide by 50, that is the number of nights I avoid staying at Motel 6 — to pay for the trailer. In this case, the trailer was paid for after staying in it just four nights. Last year I took it on the road for 42 nights over 6000 miles just one trip.
    My first Scotty travel trailer a smaller one, cost $300 to buy it, so avoiding Motel 6 for just six nights paid for that trailer. That trailer’s name is MOTEL 3.

    • says

      Too funny Doug. I wouldn’t mind having a Motel 3 myself. If I did when Tawra moves to Colorado I could just pull it into her back yard and stay indefinitely. :) :) The grandkids and I would love it I’m not so sure about Tawra and my son in law though. HA!HA!

    • Jeanne T. says

      Doug, I’m curious as to where you park your little trailer at night. Are you going to campgrounds, or looking for the WalMart parking lots (WalMart allows people in RVs to park overnight)? It sounds fun!

  10. Bea says

    Jill you are such an inspiration! I saw some pretty dandelions near my clothesline today and it brought you to mind. Today is such a lovely sunny day. FINALLY. It has rained ALL MONTH SO FAR!

  11. Sarah says

    I know it would not work for everyone because if you are rural there is not much there, I know because I just moved from a small town. However, use the internet to get a “free” vacation. I googled free things to do in my town and lots of stuff popped up. All it will cost is gasoline to get to the place. Sometimes it is only one day of the week, but some are all of the time.

  12. Bea says

    In the country there are trees, flowers, sky, sometimes creeks or other water sources. You can go out into nature and have a picnic, stare at the blue sky, sit on the grass and have lemonade or iced tea, read on the porch or out on a chair in the yard. Anywhere you live there is nature and free fun, but it does take imagination. Walking or riding bikes is easier with less traffic. There are many things to do if you use the imagination God gave you. I think all of these things were in the posting.

  13. says

    Our vacations have always been camping trips. With a lot of canoeing. We started canoeing when my youngest son was 5 months old. He slept most of the time because of the motion of the water.
    The boys still talk about those vacations with lots of memories.
    Like when the eldest caught a 5′ pike and we thought it was a log he had snagged on. Boy were we surprised when it hardly fit into the net.
    Or when the youngest thought he caught a 6″ pike and as he was hauling it in a 1′ pike caught on so he got 2 for the price of one.
    We woke up one morning while camping on crown land and looked out the front of the van and saw 2 young moose watching us.
    Can’t buy memories like that at disney world no matter what the cost.
    In Canada if you are a resident you can camp for 21 days on open crown land and around here that is a lot of land and lakes to explore.
    A tent chairs food stove portable toilet, old clothes bug spray and food and you are set to go. oh yes forgot need lots of books.
    2 camping parks are within 1/2 an hour of our house and there are 5 in a 4 hour drive.
    This year will be a major camping expedition. both sons and families will be here well maybe in the city of our one son so we will have to camp. A 2 bedroom house does not fit 8 extra people. especially with only one bathroom.
    Will be exciting tiring but oh so much fun and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
    Just started getting shots for RA so hopefully they will work so I can truly enjoy it for a change. Why do drugs cost so much my new shots are $1700. for 4 of them.
    oh well if they work we will do it. I need a life so I can enjoy my grandchildren.
    If summer ever arrives it will be wonderful but it is supposed to snow tonight and on the weekend.

  14. Tracy says

    Have a smooth move without headaches and without missing a few boxes or throwing out a box meaning to pack
    I have moved a few times We used colored markers
    that don’t wash off
    Red was colored for kitcken ,black was colored for living room and on three size of each box wrote what was in and what room it belonged in We would use red only for kitchen items and pack up with allot of good packing tape for each box .
    My brother and sister packed their own clothes using orange and green and would we all wrote kids bedroom #1 ,#2,and #3
    I think I used purple back then You might need a few dozen of those markers They don’t last and some are scent free
    And then in your trunk of one car have a box of paper ,plates ,cups ,can opener ,coffee pot .and a few boxes of cereal ,instant coffee,tea bags , pot, pan ,paper products and bathroom items ,snack stuff, canned milk ,etc
    So you can eat til the mover van arrives They have a different time line than most of us and they also get lost and be delayed
    Myself and my hubby enjoy reading your web site and receiving your weekly e-mails We wish you a good move and wish your new place is better than the old one
    Take care and drive safe

    • says

      Really like the idea of the different colored markers Tracy. We usually mark what room the things go in and I mark all 4 sides and top of what is in each box. I know that may seem extreme but it seems like it never fails but the boxes get stacked and if you write on just one side that is always the side you can’t see so you have to pull and turn etc.

  15. karen says

    I really enjoyed hearing everyone’s ideas for a staycation. We had made plans this year to have a BIG trip to Ireland to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, my son’s 16th birthday, my daughter’s 13th birthday and my husband 45th birthday. After analyzing how awful this year has been financially, we canceled the trip and will now be taking an overnight backpacking trip with the kids here in our own beautiful county. I am as excited to get away in the mountains as I was to travel and to be honest, the backpacking trip is easier and will be more relaxing. There is a line in “James and the Giant Peach” about trying to look at life in another way and I always remember to say this line out loud when I am faced with something that requires looking through another lens to see what is best.

    • says

      I like that Karen. Sometimes we get our heart set on something and when that doesn’t work our for what ever reason we are so devastated but the better way is to do like you said and look at life (or the situation) in another way. We waste spend so much time flogging a dead horse instead of burying it and moving on and finding another means of transport or way to do something.

  16. dawn m adair myers says

    I like reading your newsletter it inspires me to do things differently with a spin. I can’t help to wonder if you have had a chance to make extra monies to live in a nice house due to how you live. I just can’t tell you enough that your newsletter really helps me and I share it with everyone I know so keep the newsletter going and thank you for being honest and frank with us cause sometimes we need that to make us look at our own lives to see if we need to do something different too.

    • says

      Thank you Dawn. We really don’t do any thing different or extra from what most people do in earning money. We just have spent years being careful and inching our way up whether it is an nice house like Tawra’s or getting out of debt. It just takes time, work and being careful with how you spend it.

      Also we have had seasons in our lives like others. Sometimes we have more and others we have lost everything and haven’t had much. That is just the ups and downs of life.

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