I didn't follow Mona's advice completely, but I definitely made really good strides in preparing for THIS vacation. Many things were paid ahead of time and we've been packing snacks and lunches from the grocery store each day. For supper I've been cooking easy meals at the hotel. I did a lot of research online and saved on tickets and accomodations. When I return, I'll share about the Williamsburg portion of the savings for those who might be able to use them.
Inside my nice cozy house (where sane people are), I was reading more of my January 1953 issue of Woman's Day. A reader (lovely Mona from Kansas) wrote in to talk about how her family budgets for their summer vacation. It seemed appropriate to be thinking ahead and planning for those summer months in January. Saving up takes time!
Here's the wisdom that Mona shared (my notes are in italics):
I'm wondering how many of the neighbors are already looking forward to and dreaming of a wonderful vacation next summer. I'm also wondering just how many of them are giving up the idea as "much too expensive" for their tight family budgets. (Sound familiar in 2011?) That was our first sad impression. It wasn't just the money for the gas and oil and lodgings, although those did have their place in our thinking, of course. What really worried us was the eating out on the trip. (Mona, you don't EVEN know about how expensive eating out will become!) We considered the problem and decided on a plan of action.
We buy our groceries by the week; so each week we buy something and put it away in our "July Picnic Basket." One week it is canned luncheon meat, (Mona, honey, Underwood Deviled Ham is for rich people now.), another week canned fruit, or pork and beans, or shoestring potatoes. (Does she mean those crunchy, greasy shoestring potatoes in a can? Anyone know what I'm talking about?) We plan to add pickles and jar cheeses (Mmmm--Cheez Whiz. Now there's some tasty fake food!) toward the last, also paper plates and cups and some plastic spoons. We try to keep our purchases around the fifty-cent bracket. (Wonder what the equivalent would be today?)
We also have a "Fun Bank" started. Each week when we come home from shopping, we put all our change in this bank. We also allow an estimated amount in our budget for utilities. When the utilities run under the amount allowed, we add the difference to the bank. We feel that by July we will have enough in our Fun Bank, along with our regular budget amounts for our milk, groceries, and gas for two weeks, for traveling expenses. We feel sure our Picnic Basket will be just bursting with goodies to be used. And if our trip should have to be cancelled, we will still have something that will help the family larder in the months ahead. Meanwhile, we are planning our best vacation ever! (And I'm sure it was!)
It's intriguing to think of slowly stockpiling non-perishable foods over the months in preparation for a vacation. We use our camper, so I know just where to store everything. I'll have to tweak those food choices a bit, though . . .