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Friday, May 1, 2009

Frugal Car Travel

We're going to be traveling to visit my mother-in-law next weekend for Mother's Day. She lives about 6 hours away from us, and that is quite a trip with a four year old. We tend to stop often to stretch our legs. Before I started my frugal shopping journey, we would just grab some extra cash from the ATM before we left home. Then we would buy all of our meals, snacks, and drinks when we stopped along the way. We didn't buy the most expensive items, but it still added up!

Now that I've been coupon-shopping and bargain-hunting, this is one area that I want to get under control. The last time we traveled by car, we spent almost no money when we stopped, and we're going to try to do that again. Doing this takes some planning and shopping, but I'm up for the challenge!

The first thing we're going to do is dust off the cooler and put it in the back of the van. Throughout this next week, I'll be scouring the sale flyers for great prices on snack items and drinks. We'll fill the cooler with these items. That does mean cutting back on looking for deals on household items and health & beauty aids, but it keeps our budget in check. I can usually find great deals on crackers, juice boxes, Pepsi products, cheese, and maybe a few sweets. :) I may even use up my CVS Extra Care Bucks, but it's worth it to not pay much out-of-pocket for travel snacks.

For more great frugal living ideas, stop by Frugal Friday hosted by Life As Mom.


momof4sweetsisters said...

I think it's the best way to travel. You get to choose what the kiddos eat instead of the fast food place. The last time we did a big trip to TN we only used Cracker Barrel for potty breaks. Kind of strange, but good not buying much of anything. Have a wonderful trip!

Jennifer said...

You're right that we can make healthier choices this way. I don't know if I can go the whole trip without some type of snack-ish splurge. :) I'm thinking about reporting back here after the trip to let you all know how much we spent while we were gone... gas and all!

Melissa said...

We do this, too. We do stop for lunch, usually fast food, but we bring our own snacks. Grapes are easy to carry and have the added advantage of not making everyone thirsty!

Katie L said...

We do lots of road trips with littles. Packing snacks is a must!

We've had lots of success with these car snacks and meals:
bananas, berries, cheese, crackers, lunch meat, tortillas, carrots, grapes, cherry tomatoes, canned pineapple, canned mandarin oranges, peanut butter, jelly, graham crackers, and reusable water bottles. Also, we buy car trip treats ahead of time at the grocery store instead of at gas stations.

Have a great trip!