I Love Cheap Thrills

Baby, I don’t need dollar bills to have fun… on vacation.

Vacation wins:

  • I booked directly with the hotel chain and joined their rewards club (for free) and got a decent rate, lower than what was on Expedia, I believe.
  • We mostly ate dinner in the kitchenette of the hotel suite.
  • We didn’t make the mistake of trying to take the kids to a fancy restaurant and wasting money while they complained that there’s no mac and cheese on the menu.
  • The weather was mostly okay.

  • We split up at times so that people could do the things they wanted to do most, which saved money and avoided forcing people to do things they didn’t want to do.
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  • Most of us took advantage of the free hotel breakfast every day.
  • I had time to stop at the library and check out a real book to bring with me and it was GREAT and sooo exactly what I was in the mood to read (Arcadia by Lauren Groff).
  • I had time to buy some new-to-me T-shirts and a skirt and cardigan for work at Frugal before I left (and got rid of some threadbare old T’s).
  • I also bought a new bathing suit top on clearance at Target a few weeks ago.

Vacation losses:

  • A $30 parking ticket for forgetting to feed a meter.
  • Just the general expensiveness of everything at the shore.
  • We ate lunch mostly on the boardwalk.
  • The kids bought a big raft (with their own money) that got a hole after a day. They don’t make the Explorer(TM) like they used to.
  • We were barred from the beach for a few hours after a storm and this resulted in purchases on the boardwalk that wouldn’t have happened otherwise, because we hung around forever hoping to get back on (eventually we did).

Eventually we had to come home and I was disproportionately depressed for a few days. Then it was time to start planning Gemma’s birthday party, which generated, believe it or not, even more cheap thrills. Dare I say, cheaper thrills.

I baked two birthday cakes from mixes that were $1.25 each. I made frosting with powdered sugar I had on hand, and decorated them with sugars/icings I had on hand. The theme she had chosen was soccer:

I spent the prior several nights making soccer ball piñatas. I think making your own piñata is something everyone should do once. Just once. Like all my crafts, I started out strong, then got tired and didn’t care much about the details. I also didn’t realize that the string for hanging needed to be secured inside the piñata before sealing it. So we couldn’t hang it up. Ergo, we decided to play soccer with them until they cracked open.

Drying paper orb hangs near a hot stack of pancakes

All the pinatas cost me was $5 for a bag of balloons that I was going to buy anyway, and maybe $2 for white glue (plus the cost of the candy). You can’t beat that (with a bat)!

After that it was just pizza and drinks. I bought no paper plates or plastic cups or goody bags. Between the piñata, the water balloon games that hubs organized, messing around with the hose, and dancing to music from the radio, the 10 or so girls plus Sebastian seemed to have a fine time.

Now it’s time to use all that money I saved to load up the online shopping carts with composition books and glue sticks. Summer, where did you go?? Soccer practice has started for Aidan and Gemma. The PTA is rumbling to life. It’s getting dark at 7:30…. noooooo! I just want a few more weeks…

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