My mother just flew home from a two-week stay with us. Her visit had me thinking about how we spend money when we have guest visit, since even when such guests are close family members, our spending trends and habits can be somewhat thrown off.
Here are some of the things that I realized that we do — sometimes not even knowingly — that help either us or our guests save a little cash when they’re in town.
Ordering takeout or going out to eat with house guests can get expensive and create situations in which a guest may feel uncomfortable since they may not want to pay for meals outside the home or feel guilty if you are picking up the tab. This is why we try to buy at least a few items specifically for our visitor when out at the grocery store to get them started.
We come up with a few products or meals that we know are guaranteed hits with our houseguest to ensure that when they arrive they have something to eat, especially when longer travels are involved. For example, when my mother arrives, since she’s a vegetarian, we typically stock up on a few veggies treats that we know she likes, bulk up our lettuce supply, and pick up a big cheese pizza and a few other items. This way, we aren’t left scrambling and possibly spending extra money to fill rumbling stomachs when she arrives.
Having an idea of surrounding accommodations is another area in which we can help our houseguests save money. When a guest arrives, he or she may not have a good idea of local surroundings and where better priced accommodations might be. Being able to provide them with such information can end up saving them a lot of money.
For example, while we end up saving my mother plenty of money since she prefers staying with us, my uncle would rather stay in a motel when he comes to visit. I don’t blame him since our place is small and he doesn’t want to impose. However, he’s particular about where he stays, actually preferring lower end motels over newer, higher end hotels. Therefore, knowing where several such spots are conveniently located near our home helps him save money and be more comfortable when he comes to visit.
Entertainment venues and options
Knowing what a guest likes and finds interesting helps us find the activities best suited to keep them entertained in an affordable way. Coming up with a list of entertainment options before a guest’s arrival can help avoid coming up with pricier last-minute entertainment decisions. Some of the few that we often keep in our back pocket include:
- Going to the zoo (great for families, and with our annual pass and guest passes is super affordable)
- Going to a nearby historic neighborhood with scenic river walk
- Visiting area antique stores
- Playing card and board games
- Taking a trip to downtown Chicago on the nearby commuter rail system (something unique and entertaining for out of town guests, and with great views of the city)
In these ways, we keep our guests comfortable and entertained and manage to incorporate things that are unique to our area and that give them a feel for their surroundings while not busting their budget — or ours — in the process.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.