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Good Stuff Cheap: A Staycation

BOSTON (CBS) - Staying at home and using it as a base for your vacation can save thousands of dollars. Eat breakfast at home and pack a lunch and the only meal out would be dinner.

Start with our city. Boston is always fun. Become a tourist and play in our city. Park your car and use the T. That in itself will be an adventure for the kids.

A Swan Boat ride for a family of four is $11, explore the Rose Kennedy Greenway, take a Duck Tour and see Boston from an amphibious vehicle. Head to Faneuil Hall and check out the vendors and street entertainers. Then to the North End for good pizza and cannolis. Gawk at the buildings and walk around our beautiful city.

There are the many museums and the New England Aquarium to explore. Stop in at your local library and ask if they have tickets for the museums. Most libraries do have tickets that you can "borrow" for a day trip.

Head out to Lexington and Concord and let the kids see where "The shot heard round the world" actually happened.

Head up to the north shore and consider a whale watch or boat ride out of Gloucester. Gloucester is America's oldest seaport and they are very proud of that. Wander down around the harbor and see the fishing and lobster fleets. And get lunch or an ice cream.

And, of course, there is the Cape and the islands. The islands can be done as a day trip from Woods Hole or Falmouth. Three of my favorite things on the cape are really cheap. The National Seashore is free, a tour of the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory also free and then a stop at the Sundae School for ice cream which you must pay for.

As for dining and entertainment while you are traveling try the Entertainment Book which has been around for years. It is a book of coupons. You purchase a book for the area you are planning to travel to. Massachusetts has 3 areas, Greater Boston, Springfield and Worcester County. Books are normally priced around $35, but you can get the 2016 book at a discount for $12 with free shipping.

And did you know Massachusetts has a museum dedicated to bad art. I kid you not. MOBA Museum of Bad Art has three locations. And it's free. As it should be if you are viewing bad art!

To make this staycation really cheap, do not buy any souvenirs. Or limit the kids to $10 each and see which one holds on to their money longest!

One more thing: Here are some money-saving tips from AARP to help you keep your wallet afloat while on vacation.

Have a vacation budget

Don't let your vacation break the bank.  Just like you have a household budget, a vacation budget helps you identify how you will spend money for your wants and needs while away.  It should include expected expenses, and unexpected ones, like forgotten toiletries or extra costs for tours and theme parks.  If you plan to travel abroad, use a travel reward credit card to reduce or eliminate exchange rate fees.

Dine on a Dime

Dining is an essential expense.  Food can eat up a good portion your budget.  To prevent spending all your money on food, consider staying at a hotel that has a kitchen so you can cook one meal a day and pack meals.  If you can't cook, find inexpensive diners, purchase travel packages that include food and reduce the number of "fine dining" restaurants you frequent.

See sites for free

When selecting your destination research if there are any local free attractions such as museums and national parks.  If there are none go to Groupon or Living Social , download the site app or visit the website to see what discounts you might find to reduce the cost.

Skip the Souvenirs

How many more T-shirts, mugs or magnets do you need?  A good way to save money on vacation is to just say "no" to souvenirs.  If you promised someone you would bring them a gift, send them a picture of you having the best time of your life. Vacations are about memories. Take plenty of pictures — you don't even need to buy an expensive camera; your phone will do.


You can hear Dee Lee's expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee's Money Matters newsletter here.

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