Yes, You Can Go On Vacation And Be Frugal At The Same Time.

It’s very easy to go on a vacation and toss aside all self respect and good, sound financial reasoning. After all, you tell yourself, I’m on vacation and when will I ever be back here again? So, you whoop it up. Live like a millionaire for a week or two and then you return back home to reality. And all those bills.

Gulp. I know that feeling.

I have found that the only way I can avoid overspending while on a vacation is to spend a little bit of money and act like a semi-tourist. This way I feel as if I really was on a vacation but I didn’t break the bank.

We just got back from an eight day, super vacation on the beaches of Newport, Rhode Island. If you know anything about Newport, you’d know it used to be the playground of the very rich (still is) and it’s difficult to find a hotel/motel in the downtown area under $350 per night. You can, however, find affordable accommodations right outside the city, which is exactly what we did. We vacationed with my daughter and her family. They were able to find a lovely room for only $250 a night. DH and I did one even better. We found affordable accommodations at a nearby RV site for only $58 a night.

Ah! The joys of RVing.

We all pre-planned that we would spend one day sightseeing as tourists in downtown Newport. The rest of the time we were going to the beach The beaches are free in Newport. The parking isn’t. In fact, the parking is very expensive. Very very expensive. $20 on weekdays. $30 on weekends. We car pooled and split the parking fee, so it was only $10 a day and on the weekends, hubby dropped us off at the beach, so we paid nothing. It was free!

We planned one expensive meal out at a top restaurant to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. DH and I owned a beach house in Newport for 10 years and we still had a rewards account with this top restaurant. One of the benefits was getting a free dinner, valued at $27, on your birthday. So, we made reservations, celebrated my daughters birthday and got $44 off our $138 dinner bill, thanks in part to their rewards program. We ordered double appetizers and one side each of grilled asparagus and risotto (@$7.00 each). Here’s some of the food samplings:

newport1 check.jpg - 1
Here’s the check. It came to $64, with tip, per couple.

We also boarded a 90 minute ‘cruise’ around the Newport Harbor on an actual lobster boat. The cruise provided free refreshments, an inside scoop on several Mansions that can only be seen from the ocean (i.e. Jackie Kennedy’s childhood estate) and a tour guide who was hilarious telling us corny sea faring jokes. We had a great time ($26 adult fee, $23 senior).

But really, most of our time was spent on the beach. There was an Aldi very close by and we did all of our food shopping there ($120 for the week). Aldi now has little tid bits of take-out beach type foods, such as cut up watermelon, pineapple chucks, sliced apples, assorted cheeses and crackers, Mediterranean olive salads, as well as already-made sandwiches. So, we brought them along with us daily to the beach. We prepared breakfast at the RV site, as well as some dinners. We did go out once to our favorite seafood shack ($8.50 for fish fry) and twice to a superb, delicious inexpensive pita sandwich joint ($7.50 per wrap). Other than that, we BBQed at the RV site most nights.

Being the frugal nut job that I am, I kept a running total of what we spent for our eight days in Newport. The total for our RV site (full hook up!) came to $409 for the extended week. Meals out and other touristy things we did that had to be put on a charge card came to $384 (this included Aldi, round trip gas etc). Out of pocket expenses, such as beach parking fees, wine and beer etc. came to $143 bringing our whole weekly vacation expenditure to $936. That’s $117 a day or $58 a day per person.

Side Note: A lot of time and effort goes into writing these blog posts. Especially if I do videos. This little 1 minute 57 second video took me several hours to compose, edit and upload. Please take the time to like the page and/or sign up to follow this blog too! You can also follow me on Instagram and my YouTube channel. The social media site links are on the right side of my blog posts. Thanks.

Here’s a quick little video I made highlighting our time on the beach. Enjoy!


  1. You did well on your vacation. I was happy to see all the expenses. Did the hookup include wi-fi? You were able to spend this lovely time with family, and some joyful memories were made. The video was cute. Still though, a near $1,000 vacation is going to take out a big chunk of your budget. Are you going to do some economizing?


    • Hi Sue. The hook up included wi fi BUT we were too far away to enjoy it freely. We would have had to sit closer to the main office. We used our hotspot off of our iPhone instead.
      We saved for this vacation so we didn’t break any budget. It makes a tremendous difference when yo save for a future goal. Since the RV Park is a no-frills kind of place (no pool, playgrounds, hobbies, sports etc) it wasn’t that expensive. Who needs a pool when you can have the ocean, right? They offer FANTASTIC summer monthly rates: $900 per month, which comes out to $29 per day for the month of August. So, we left a deposit and booked next year’s whole month of August! And again, we will be saving for it through out the upcoming year.
      Since we enjoyed Newport so much more, I did cancel our Labor Day trip back to Maine. No one wants to go there anymore. If we can catch up with the bills, we may go back for a long Labor Day weekend in Newport. We’ll see. We also won’t be touristing any places there anymore, so we should be under budget.
      Thanks for your comment.


    • Absolutely! For me, it’s my desire to write, to encourage, to share and to inform. Many hours go in to research and opinion. Thanks for your understanding comment. 🙂


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