There are many families that both parents work for the stated reason that the wife’s income pays for the extras like vacation, sports, and entertainment. While no one will disagree that things like vacations and sports are expensive, there are ways around spending lots of money for them.
First of all, why have things like vacations, sports and entertainment become needs as opposed to wants? Years ago it was rare for families to vacation on a regular or even yearly basis, often if a family did vacation they would spend years planning and saving for it. Today trips have become so common for children that they have lost the specialness. But families can still travel and vacation without having so much expense.
Givers and receivers of hospitality
Traveling out of town can be much less expensive if families practiced hospitality more. Instead of paying for hotel rooms, families can stay with other family members or with friends. No cost for overnight stays, much less expensive meals and fellowship. The children love having friends to visit with. I have to admit though that staying with other families is not as restful for me as a hotel room. This is mostly due to the fact that it isn’t a habit for me and I worry about being a bother. However, one of the churches we visit, the members are much more hospitable than we are. They think nothing of staying with friends out of town even with large families and then returning the favor. Unlike us, they don’t worry about not having enough beds for everyone or a guest bedroom. It is something that I need to work harder on, not expecting everything to be perfect when being hospitable.
What kids don’t like camping,? (It’s just some of us moms that don’t like it!) Friends of ours used to go to the beach quite a bit even though they had very little money. Their only extra expense was the gas (back before gas was expensive) and the camping site fee. I don’t know how she did it, feeding a family of five or six camping and not spending anymore than at home. When we have gone camping, just the meals have seemed to run up the cost tremendously for us. But even so it is much cheaper than staying in a hotel room and eating out. I’m sure I could learn to feed the family camping for cheaper but convincing them to give up the boxes of Little Debbie’s, I’m not so sure.
Our family has found that renting a house or condo is often much cheaper than hotels when we are out of town. We can get a rental house for much less than multiple hotel rooms. Since most rentals come with furnished kitchens, we can prepare meals in house and limit how much we eat out. The money saved on preparing our own meals plus the gas saved for not having to drive to eat out adds up.
Often a mission trip will be much less expensive due to the nature of it and the group rates. Up until a few years ago, the churches I had always been a part of would have missions trips but typically they were for the youth group or for adults. Lately though I have found out that there are several organizations that provide family mission trips. Now there is an issue with the style of mission trips, that can be bettered answered by listening to Paul Washer about his concerns and experiences with American missions, but once you find a group that is doing more than just getting a bunch of decisions on a card then you have to be sure they are not teaching counter to your beliefs. Trips to work on orphanages, build churches, English classes, distributing Bibles, literacy, and a multitude of other opportunities can be ways to share the Gospel, God’s love, and enjoy time away from home with your family. The extra nice thing about mission trips is often there will be church members who are physically unable to travel for missions but will be willing to help support a short-term trip. (Just a little side issue about missions trips, if you think that missions is a hotel room, hot showers, matching T-shirts and lots of fun sightseeing you are probably doing more harm than good.)
I know there are many more ways to save money on trips and vacations than I’ve listed but it all gets down to what is the biggest priority in your life and for your children’s life.
Does that once a year trip to Disney World have more lasting impact on your children than the daily interaction with a mom home with them?