Valdosta Daily Times


July 1, 2013

BUDGET DIARY: Life is a highway ...


SAVANNAH — 2. Don't feel the guilty burn of snack attack on your wallet.

Snacks are like the number one budget killer on a road trip. Buying a bag of chips at a gas station is the equivalent of going to a drug store to buy your groceries. You're going to spend more and there's just no way around it. Instead, make a pit stop at a grocery store before you hit the open road. Buy full-size bags of chips so you aren’t stuck paying the same price for a lunch pack bag, get a full case of soda for near the same cost of one bottle, and be sure to rack up on energy drinks and chewing gum because they are going to be more than double at a gas station because these stores know you need it on a long drive.

3. Plan your meals wisely.

When you've been driving all day, hitting up a drive-thru seems like an easy, quick and cheap solution. However, on a road trip, those “cheap” solutions add up and before you know it you've spent $100 on cheeseburgers. Instead, pack some good food yourself that can be easily made at a pit stop or in the car. I'm a big fan of peanut butter and jelly. It’s super cheap, super easy and quite frankly, just delicious. It doesn't make a mess in the car and it's really filling.

There will be moments where you feel like you need a hot meal and pb&j is just not gonna do it (as Dana Carvey parodying Bush would say). While you feel like you may save more money at some of these chain restaurants, the little mom and pop restaurants are the way to go. Often they have lunch and dinner specials, and even cater to roadies such as you who are looking for an early bird deal.

When trying to find places to eat, the smart phone app UrbanSpoon is really a great resource. It allows you to look at the most popular restaurants in your area, or search by cuisine type or my favorite, price! They even have a section called “what's open?” where you can view all the open restaurants in your location. It really helps take your road trip to the next level.

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