I feel as though I am still recovering from Iceland, and February brings me not one, not two, but three lovely visitors from my hometown of Los Angeles. I love seeing my friends from all over and it’s great to catch up after so much time has passed! But then I also think, oh crap, that’s a lot of entertaining and going out….
How are you supposed to stay in budget when you have semi-unexpected visits? After failing epicly at dealing with this same problem last year, I’ve decided to be much better about it this year. I’ve made a point of letting my visitors know that I am not in the best financial situation and that we will be going to cheap places. That helps in setting expectations; luckily, most of my friends are in the same boat and need to watch their budget too. I also plan ahead and try to have some breakfast food, snacks, alcohol at home to keep the going out to a minimum. Going out three meals a day (heck, I hardly ever eat three full meals a day) can be really expensive….going from one place to the next, adds up. Having a stable base at home really helps.
I’ve also gotten creative with what I plan. For example, I recently won two free theatre tickets for attending an event and got some free distillery vouchers for free samples at another event. That helps me with two free plans this weekend. I also like just going to a bookstore and chatting with my friends, like the good old days when we lived in the same cities. In the end, these trips shouldn’t be exorbitant. Yes, I want to show my friends a good time and have fun and be carefree…but it’s more about reconnecting with my friends, cherishing the moments we have together and enjoying the little things.
I thought it would be a good idea, in a nod to Frugal Portland, to list some of my favorite inexpensive things to do in Portland:
- Drive to the Columbia Gorge and hike- yes, it costs some gas money, but it’s not much and is great for any visitor!
- $3 wine tasting at Edgefield McMenamins
- Chatting and having coffee at Powell’s bookstore
- Happy Hour at Tapalaya– $2 martinis, $3, hurricanes
- Food carts- fairly inexpensive, local and uniquely Portland items
- Walk along the esplanade
- Oregon Historical Society—free for Portland residents
There are so many great things to do in this city that are inexpensive. The pacific northwest is a wonderland of supremely delicious, local and unique items. I can’t wait just to relax and enjoy the company of my friends. Because in the end, these experiences are the ones we remember and friendship is the most valuable currency.