The Formula for Cheap Family Breaks When You’re Broke

Cheap Family Breaks

Cheap Family BreaksWhen times are tough, and maybe even worse than that, taking some time to have fun as a family is still as important as ever.

But when there’s just no money to take the break time opportunity to have a fun trip or excursion, what’s a mom or dad to do?

You plan some cheap family breaks that take little to no money, and have some fun for a change of pace.

Here’s the formula for how…


Step 1:

Realize that it’s OK to have fun as a family, even in the midst of financial struggles or difficult times.

Besides your faith and God’s Holy Word, your family is the most important thing in your life!  They need to know that!  They deserve to know that too.

If you are constantly worried and working, wasting away and waiting for the next check to come, if it ever does, just so you can pay that almost late (or late) bill, your kids will remember your constant wrinkled forehead and wilted smile.

Now while what you are concerned about is a legitimate concern, I’m sure you don’t want your kids thinking those kinds of things are the ONLY concerns you have, but that’s what it will seem like if that’s all you do.

Instead, let your family know you are concerned more about THEM than about any difficulty you are facing.  Then claim the right to show them that.

Any time to show how important they are to you will do, but when there is a built in family break time, like spring break, fall break, Christmas break, family holidays, or even long weekend family breaks, take the opportunity it gives, and do something as grand as you can with it.

Now what you may be able to do may not be a fancy vacation to Orlando or even a day at the amusement park, but you know what?…  There are some days a family can share in together that will be remembered as special days no matter where you are or what you are doing!

Give them those days to remember, and enjoy the life you do have right now, your life together!

Even more… Take the time off from fretting about things, and free yourselves to spend that precious time with your family.

It’s OK and quite frankly, it’s your RESPONSIBILITY to do so!

Your spouse needs a friend right now.

Your kids need to know you still love them and that you’ll get through it all… together.  It will be OK.

Give them ‘you’ today, and be thankful you’re able to give of yourself to your family, if nothing else.


(And you’ll be giving your loved ones a chance to enjoy life with you too.)


Step 2:

Don’t bury your head in the sand when family breaks are coming up, but instead, use your situation to get motivated to give your kids a personalized break and your personal best.

I don’t always do things right, but I have discovered, when I have, that keeping focused in advance (instead of worrying over a future event and putting it off as long as possible) has allowed me to make the best decisions and sometimes get the best deal.

Like when I plan meals and find the items on sale before I go….  I can make good choices and save good money.


Like when there were times when I knew Valentine’s Day was coming up and I was keenly aware we didn’t have money to get things for the kids….

I could look at all the pretty “stuff” in the stores and feel bad we couldn’t afford any of it, only to run out at the last minute and buy something anyway which, of course was too much still and not the best choice for who I purchased it for…

And you KNOW that’s what you’re gonna do, isn’t it?????


I could step in and be proactive, making choices in advance and following through when there was still time to plan and act.

The second step would boost my chances of maybe finding something small and cheap but just right and personal, or it would give me the time to plan something completely free, or almost completely free, that would show how much they mean… example: making candy or decorating a home-constructed card, or planning a game day or scavenger hunt as my gift to them.

It’s important not to act like a deer caught in the headlights of a car.

Cheap Family Vacation Planning

When your a disoriented doe, you make stupid decisions anyway, and those stupid decisions usually cost you extra money when it’s all said and done.

Don’t ignore the fact that you have a break time or vacation time coming up and that you ARE going to have free time together on those family breaks

Instead, be proactive and give yourself a chance to figure out what you can do that:

1.  You can afford to do (even if that means you can afford $0.00), and

2.  Will be uniquely tailored to your family members.

If you can acknowledge you have these short family breaks coming your way and stay ahead of the game, you’re bound to do better than if you try to ignore the facts and jump in a day late and a dollar more short.


Step 3:

Keep it simple, and stay close to home if need be.

Let’s be upfront here.

You know, if you’re really “broke”, that you’re most likely not going to go on some wonderful last minute resort vacation.  And if there’s no cruise in the wallet, there’s not going to be one in real life either.

If something is not going to happen, it’s not going to happen, regardless of having family breaks and vacation time on your hands.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make SOMETHING happen.

Start to make something happen by first looking close to home.

If you have a small amount of money to spend, you can look a little further away.

If you have virtually no budget to even do that much, look as close as you need to.

Just look.

And be simple.

Packing lunch and going to a nearby state park for a day of hiking, or even just a picnic and walk, can be a wonderful day activity the entire clan can enjoy.

Perhaps this is your chance to check out a nice city park someone has told you about but that you never had time to go see.  Most city parks have nice playgrounds, and many have nice walking paths.

Some city parks even have little petting zoos, bird sanctuaries, gardens, lakes, and paddle boats, any of which can be nice activities for short family breaks.

Check your local newspaper, the internet, and radio stations online for conventions, local craft shows, on-location radio broadcasts (sometimes with free giveaways and food), community yard sales, and even church programs or festivals for cheap weekend family breaks.

Spring break provides especially great opportunities to enjoy a local lake, river, ocean, or bay.  Even the smallest of creeks provide the opportunity to sit around, skip rocks, or cool a watermelon.

Fall break provides the backdrop for wonderful car rides.

And don’t forget that All-American family favorite… camping.

If you have camping gear or can borrow some from a friend, consider that you could go camping, if not for the entire week, even one day.

If you don’t have camping gear and can’t get it, or if it’s just too cold outside to consider an outdoor camping site, set up a camping area in your living room, basement or rec room, or consider if you could possibly afford even just one or two nights at a hotel in a nearby town.

Even one night in a hotel with an indoor swimming pool, pizza delivery to the hotel, free continental breakfast with make-your-own Belgium waffles, and a fridge filled with sugar free soda and not-so-often-eaten treats can make for a glorious time for kids!

If eating out costs would be too much for your budget, all hotels allow you to bring your own food items to your room, so you don’t have to add those additional costs to your low cost travel agenda either.  Well, except for maybe that special ice cream treat you want to throw in while you’re there!

Whatever you have easily available to you for little to no money is something that you can consider in your quest to plan and prepare for a cheap family break!


Step 4:

Never give completely up, and always keep dreaming at least a little bit.  You might actually find something you can afford now, and if not, you’ll have something to give you a goal to look forward to later.

Whether you can expect to find a cheap family vacation or not, investigate all inclusive family resorts, family cruises, weekend getaways, and family travel packages from online travel sites and travel agencies.

Since meals and activities are usually included in the cost of many family cruise packages, and many online travel sites offer significantly discounted family travel deals, there is always a possibility of finding a reasonably priced vacation or even last minute travel deal.

You never know what you might find, and even if the prices are out of reach this year, you never know what next year might bring.


So there you go… four steps in the formula, and hopefully you’re ready for setting up some cheap family breaks that will give your family something to do now but that will give you all something that is far more special even – each other.

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