We've just had the loveliest break.
We holidayed near the beach, and the best part about it was that the only time we ventured near the shops, was to buy groceries.
I hear people saying often 'oh we need to save X dollars for spending money on top of our holiday expenses'. I understand the need to buy food and to have emergency money, but what exactly is this 'spending money' for?
For sure if you are visiting a far flung location that is on your Bucket List, I completely understand wanting a souvenir or two. But if you're going to the same place you go every year, as many of us do, what is it that you think will be there this time, that wasn't there last year, and won't be there next year?
Markets, for example. People love 'em. But every market I've been to anywhere in the world, ranging from Australia to Fiji, to London and Singapore, to France and Italy and Spain, seems to sell the same kind of stuff with minor variations. Who really needs that stuff, and is it really a reminder of 'good times' to buy it? Wouldn't a photo or postcard do the same? And really, isn't the majority of that stuff now available on eBay at discount prices?
Now food markets.....that I get. You have to buy your food somewhere, so why not support the locals. Totally a great idea. And with far more romance and memories for the senses than the one selling windchimes and chopsticks.
We don't go to our beach haven to spend money. Why outsource your family memories? I know from conversations with my now 36 and 37 year old sons, that their fondest holiday memories have nothing to do with souvenirs or shopping.
We insource our holiday memories as we do with so much in our lives, and our kind of relaxing means creating memories of a different kind.
So my first tip for a Happy Homespun Holiday, is to plan ahead.
Ask yourself these questions...
1. What are your favourite things to do in your spare time at home, and can you take those with you? For us it's reading, cooking, and crafting. So that's an easy yes.
2. Can you use this time productively to get ahead on a long term goal? This could be writing a journal or a book, making gifts for upcoming birthdays, or passing on an heirloom skill. I taught my daughter how to crochet these sweet little hearts this time.
3. What do you want the memories of this holiday to be? For us, it was lots of beach time sitting in big comfy chairs in the shade, reading and relaxing, teaching new cooking and crafting skills to my now 16 year old daughter, and eating lots of wholesome food in beautiful locations not available to us at home.
So in planning ahead for our Homespun Holiday, it was important to take a couple of books each in a genre that we enjoy, some ideas of dishes that my daughter wanted to learn to cook,
crochet hooks and wool to teach her how to crochet and get cracking on some gift making, and
a shopping list for grocery shopping when we arrived, that included foods for picnics and easy meals for all of us to enjoy making and eating. Not hard at all.
We made little individual picnic boxes on Day One...
...and by the end of the first week, my daughter had mastered a pumpkin risotto to rival the local restaurants...
...I'd shown her how to use overipe nectarines and cherries to make a lavish fruit studded cake...
A couple of her friends had come for a stay and we'd made Rocky Road...
....and our own fresh and delicious pizzas...
Week Two saw us debating over who could make the best scrambled eggs. The Musician Husband favouring the stirred method like a custard, and The Diva and I preferring the pour and pleat method that sees us waiting for the butter in the pan to froth at the edges like a frilled petticoat, before pouring in the beaten eggs and cream, gathering the bubbly surrounds to the centre so that they form mouthwatering pleats.
It was generally agreed that we all surpassed the offerings at the local cafe`s.
In addition to the pretty baby blue hearts pictured earlier in this post, I taught my daughter how quickly chunky yarn and oversized crochet hooks or knitting needles can be turned into gorgeous gifts like this chunky chain scarf necklace, and yummy chocolate coloured throw...
....and we did lots of lazing on deserted beaches like this one....
Nobody felt the need to go to the Markets, the designer stores (except for inspiration for more of the aforementioned hand crafted gifts), or the cafes and restaurants. We treated ourselves to a few meals out at a favourite outdoor bistro, enjoyed some gourmet ice creams. We took lots of photos, and agreed it was a pretty perfect break.
All with very little in the way of 'spending money'.
If I had to compare each and every activity we created, meal we cooked ourselves, and entertainment enjoyed within our own four walls or outside of them, with a similar one we'd had to pay for, I think the amount would be staggering. I have friends who just holidayed in the same area, who came home nearly $3000 poorer for the experience. And that was without the accomodation expenses!
I'm going to say we saved a minimum of $2000 by planning ahead, being very clear on what our holiday memories consist of, and not being tempted to spend for the sake of it.
That's not all bad. See, you really can insource even portions of your holidays and save big at the same time.
What's your favourite Homespun Holiday?