Saving Money While Living Life
In everything I do I try to save money. Last weekend my husband and I spent two nights up in Grand Lake. There are several great restaurants in the area, and there are lots of activities you can pay for. My husband and I managed to pay only for our two nights at a home on a lake, and one meal out.
Before we left I had quite a bit of prep to do, but it was all in the name of saving money. The biggest thing I had to prep was food. I really wanted to eat well, but it wasn’t in the budget to eat out more than once. I also don’t really want to cook on vacation. I would rather double up on cooking during the week.
Vacation Eats on a Budget
Dinner – Sandwiches on the road. Yep, that is it. Turkey sandwiches, and chips. Not too exciting, but when heading up into the mountains from Denver on a Friday traffic gets crazy! Even stopping for fast food can mean the difference of a few minutes which puts you on the highway with everyone getting off of work.
Breakfast – Thursday night before I made dinner I made quiche and put it in the oven. I followed this recipe for a crustless quiche, by http://mercyisnew.com/. The only thing I did slightly differently was cook it for 30 minutes at my house. I waited for it to cool, and covered it with foil. I then was able to heat it at the cabin. NO COOKING! I heated it with foil for 15 minutes, and took it off and heated it for an additional 15. This made it hot all of the way through. (If you were at a lower altitude, this amount of time might be too much.)
Lunch – We ate out at the Sagebrush. I love eating out for lunch. It is cheaper, and usually the portions are about the same. We were able to order the lunch special which was a pork sandwich with coleslaw, and an order of chili fries that could have fed an army. We split these items, and the bill including the tip was $22! A great deal for a delicious meal out.
Dinner – I made lasagna on Wednesday before my husband and I left. I made a full batch, but put it in my glass 8×8 to eat that night, and a disposable aluminum 8×8 to take with us. I again cooked it most of the way at home, and just finished baking it when we got there. Any recipe or frozen lasagna would work!
Breakfast – We heated the quiche one more time because we had a few pieces left. We finished that and had homemade cinnamon rolls that a friend made for us. Those were great, and you could bring the store bought tube too. So easy! We put the cinnamon rolls down on aluminum so that we didn’t have to clean a pan too. Cooking on vacation is all about doing as little as possible!!!
Free Activities are the Best
We also saved on our vacation activities. My favorite thing to do before visiting a new place, or even visiting an old favorite again, is to google free things to do! Some towns will even have a page or site dedicated to free activities.
This is pretty easy in Colorado because hiking is one of the most popular mountain activities. We were right outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, so there were gorgeous hiking trails everywhere!
I do recommend paying for parks when you are near them because they are beautiful and should be supported. However, we have hiked in RMNP many times both being Colorado natives. We decided to save money and hiked a trail just outside the park where you usually see moose. No moose this time, but the trees were changing, and the colors were gorgeous.
We finished our hike by 11 and headed to the Grand Lake visitor center. I always hit these for the coupons and tips from locals! We were lucky we stopped because we learned about a hike to a waterfall, and a parade that was going to happen at 11:30.
When we parked the car, we saw a moose and her baby on main street! I guess we didn’t need to hike to see them! We then found a good curb to enjoy the parade from. Small town events like parades are always fun because you get to see the character of the town. The parade was to celebrate Constitution week, so there were lots of veterans in uniform. It was very cool!
We headed to lunch at the Sagebrush from the parade, and walked around the town a bit. We don’t usually buy anything in those mountain shops, as they frequently are tourist knick knacks that end up lost in drawers or artwork well outside of our budget. It is still fun to look though!
Once we had our fill of town we headed to Adam’s falls, a hike recommended at the visitor center. The hike is only .3 miles to the falls, so it was packed with tourists. The falls are beautiful and were well worth it though. We decided to hike an hour further which was fun, and still held gorgeous views with far less people.
We were back at the cabin around 4:30, so we sat out on the patio and enjoyed the afternoon. I put the lasagna in around 5, and we enjoyed a fire while it cooked.
We watched a movie until 8, and were able to pop into town for fireworks. What a spectacle! For a small town, they really know what they are doing.
We did so many things, and spent so little money. I feel like we really got a feel for Grand Lake and only bought one meal!