Sense & Centsibility Blog
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Staycations: affordable, fun and productive

Imagine yourself in Paris, admiring picturesque buildings and taking in the unique culture of one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Or you could be in New Orleans, listening to zydeco music and enjoying fresh Cajun and creole food on Bourbon Street. Picture a day relaxing poolside in the Caribbean on a cruise, with your feet in the water and a drink with a tiny pink umbrella in hand. Or you could spend a day in your backyard, staining your deck. Wait a second: can a home improvement project really compete with these other destinations? 

Gaining perspective

Going on trips can be amazing and unforgettable. Getting away from home and work and visiting new places also allows you to reset and put your life into perspective. But vacations can also be stressful and expensive. Who really enjoys standing in line at security, sitting around for hours at an airport, or having nasty weather spoil that road trip you and your family have planned for months?

A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine was able to take two weeks away from work. Well deserved, I thought! I assumed, with that much time off, that he and his family would visit some exotic, far away land. But no, they actually stayed home — not only for a break from the daily work grind but, among other things, to stain their deck! It was a stay-at-home vacation, or “staycation.”

My colleague’s choice was both economical and practical. And while home improvement projects are one way to spend a staycation, you don’t have to be quite so ambitious.

What to do on your staycation

Here are a few ideas that might work for you. Some are fun; some are activities that you just want to get done!

  • Try a new restaurant, with a menu that is completely new to you.
  • See a movie. It is okay to go to a theater by yourself.
  • Rip out that carpet that’s bothered you for ages. Make sure, of course, that your spouse/partner/family/housemates are on the same page!
  • Go see the doctor. Face it: you may have put off an appointment for a while.
  • Practice a day or a week of retirement. Wake up and savor your morning coffee, check the morning's news, or walk through your neighborhood. It’s a great way to reconnect with yourself and your priorities.
  • Paint that room that’s needed a fresh coat for ages. Again, make sure there is a household consensus before you spread out the drop cloths.
  • Get lost down a Wikipedia rabbit hole. You’ll be amazed at what you find and learn.
  • Clean and declutter. Do you really need to keep that silly memento?
  • Catch up on sleep.

The bottom line is that it’s okay to take some time off without traveling. While you might not necessarily want to have a “staincation” like my colleague did, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy a break from your work routine. Both your mind and your pocketbook will thank you!

If you are having trouble figuring out your budget or managing your finances, LSS Financial Counseling can help. Call us at 888.577.2227 or get started online with your free and confidential financial counseling session. Take charge of your finances today.

Author Dan Park is a Certified Financial Counselor with LSS Financial Counseling.