Saturday, February 7, 2009

Trip to Florida :: Trying to Cut Costs

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Caleb enjoying the ocean water and hunting for shells.

Me: thinking I want to get in the van and head south again!

We thoroughly enjoyed spending time at several beaches along the Tampa and Clearwater area coastline, soaking in the sunshine and fresh breezes.

The sand at Clearwater Beach was like walking through powdered sugar. Heaven for your toes!

Tom and I had been discussing a trip to Florida for quite some time. Our last visit was during our honeymoon, over 9 years ago. He agreed to make the trip if I could keep our costs down-no luxury vacation this time! I was ready for a challenge and willing to do anything as long as I could see the ocean in January!

So here are a few things we did to save money:

Went camping! State parks are great. We tent camped at one, and slept in a yurt at another! The facilities were very nice. I'm not a primitive girl-have to have my morning shower.

Made online hotel reservations a couple weeks ahead-saving us $30 per night! Our AAA card gave us an extra discount as well.

And the biggest money saver of all-bringing most of our food. We ate out only one dinner, using a gift card saved from Christmas (thanks Dad and Mom!). Lunches are cheaper, and so if we did eat out it was (often using coupons!) at lunchtime. About 85% of our meals were from food I previously prepared and/or items purchased from a local grocery store. I brought my crockpot along and a few other kitchen tools. It worked great! I made some one dish dinners-like spaghetti-froze flat in freezer bags, and kept iced in the cooler. I have a few kinks to work out-like timing how I thaw the dinners!-but overall I was very pleased.

Be watching for the next post-one of our favorite crockpot meals enjoyed during the trip!


  1. Hi Rachel, this should have been an e-mail but I could not see an address. I too am a Christian, married to a Christian woman and we are blessed with five children. My blog is if you feel like reading and checking it out. If you like books, including Christian novels, may I suggest one to try? "Outcasts Of Skagaray" can be previewed on Whatever happens, I have prayed that you and yours will be blessed.

  2. Hey there!! Good money saving vacation tips : ) Looks like the beach was fun!

    I came across your blog from The Mother Letters Project blog. I know this is silly...but my daughter is in the Leelou Blogs cute baby photo contest and I am trying to spread the word for people to vote for her!! I need HUNDREDS of votes for her to even come close to catching up to the front-runners. I have been trying to figure out where to find hundreds of people, and I didn't think it was approriate to ask Seth to post something so silly on The Mother Letters Blog (obviously), but I figured maybe all the people who helped with the project would be willing to go give my little Makenzie from AZ a vote : ) If not, that's ok too. I am just trying to get creative and reach more people! If you'd like to help me by voting for Makenzie, please go to and spread the word for others to vote as well : )

    EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY THOUGH...I am also recruiting prayer warriors for a tiny little miracle baby named Kayleigh Freeman, maybe you've heard of her and are already praying for her. It was through her blog that I heard about the contest in the first place. Even if you don't take the time to vote for Makenzie, please take a minute to visit HER website: and say a prayer for this sweet girl!


    Daniele Brown

    PS- THE MOTHER LETTERS PROJECT is in NO WAY associated with this request other than the fact that I found your blog there!!