We are all about personal finance and living within ones means so while it may be tempting to leave our frigid Minnesota behind for a couple weeks, I read about some more "budget friendly" Minnesota trips over at the Plymouth Patch. To be honest these were not very good. Some of them are even closed in the winter. But it got me thinking about, "Getting away" for a quick weekend vacation, day-trip, or even a night out can still be done on a budget and without ruining your financial plan.
Bed & Breakfasts
There are many great Bed & Breakfasts either right here in the cities or a short drive away. And most of them are not any more then the cost of a hotel room. Keep your eye open for specials. My wife and I have stayed at the Olcott House in Duluth. Make sure you tell Dave & Jerry I say Hello. Duluth can be wonderful area to explore with great history, even in the Winter.
Indoor Activities and Tours
Now is the time to do some of the indoor activities that you don't want to waste on a beautiful summer day. For example go see the James J. Hill House in Saint Paul. The Minnesota historical society does a great job with their tours and I'm sure they keep it nice and warm in the Winter. I would also recommend their Summit Hill Walking Tour but this is better saved for warmer weather. Now might also be a good time to see the Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Minnesota History Center, or the Science Museum of Minnesota.
Take in a Show
Minnesota has a surprising amount of theaters. In Saint Paul you have the Fitzgerald (the home of Prairie Home Companion), the Ordway, and Park Square Theater. In Minneapolis, you have the Orpheum and the Guthrie. And who could forget about the Chanhassen Dinner Theater.
My Wife and I are going up to Chase on the Lake this weekend. Her parents were able to snag a deal by signing up for their email updates. As long as you are flexible, you can find other great deals at local resorts, for a nice weekend get-away. There is still plenty to do at these resorts even with the below 0 weather. There are many other resorts around Minnesota that will probably have deals around this time of year. I can't imaging anything cozier this time of year then the Lake Superior Barn for a weekend stay. Now doesn't that look inviting.
Things to Avoid
The Mall of America. Going to a mall is not a vacation. Can you believe people fly in from all over the country to see our mall! Insane! You should try to get away from consumerism for a while, go somewhere to relax, go somewhere to forget about crowds and "things" for a while. Along the same lines, you may want to leave your phone and computer behind. Even a real book is better then an e-Reader.
I know a lot of people who have the idea in there head that they need to take one or two vacations every year and it needs to be out of the state and maybe even out of the country, spending thousands of dollars each year. It's these people that are also living paycheck to paycheck and have little to no retirement savings. While it is nice to get out of our the state sometimes, you can have just as much fun and create just as many happy memories by staying right here in Minnesota. Your future, older, retired self will thank you. Make your new years resolution to start your financial plan so you understand how much you should be spending and saving each year to accomplish all of your goals, not just your immediate ones.