How Not to Break the Bank When Guests Come to Town


Since relocating to Nashville, we have had a steady stream of out-of-town visitors. We are kind of like a free BNB without enough beds and with cereal for breakfast.

I’m not complaining. Our houseguests have made this transition smoother for our family. Every time someone stays, it reinforces what we told the kids from the beginning. We aren’t losing our friends — we are just adding to the number of people we love.

When familiar faces walk through the door with bags in hand, our hearts fill with joy.

But it isn’t without struggles.

Everyone knows having guests can be a lot of work. No matter how much you sugarcoat it. And no matter how many times you are told not to worry about the house being clean or sheets being washed. No matter how many times someone says they don’t need anything — a trip to the grocery will still be in order. 

At least that’s how it is for me. Maybe some of you are are able to let all of that stuff go, but I know myself well enough to know I can’t. I cannot have someone sleep on dirty sheets. I just can’t. (And if my grandmother were alive today, she would applaud me for typing that sentence.) This isn’t a college fraternity or sorority. This is a proper, grown-up house. 

I’m not saying it’s not worth the sheet washing. What each of these guests bring when they walk through our door is worth every bathroom scoured and every load of laundry run. 

I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, that’s not quite true. I would change one thing. 


My husband and I are quickly learning that entertaining on a regular basis can be, well . . . expensive.  

For those of you who, like us, have a steady stream of visitors eager to hang out and soak up every bit of marvelous that this city has to offer, here are five cost-saving tips that are sure to keep you from breaking the bank when guests come to town:

You don’t have to do everything you’ve ever wanted to do in Nashville in one weekend. 

And with kids in tow — who wants to? Dragging kids from one stop to the next without any rest in between can be a recipe for disaster. 

These guests are your buddies and are here to spend time with you. Yes, Nashville is awesome sauce, and we all want to dip our proverbial spoons in and bite off as much as we possibly can chew. But how about savoring it? How about choosing one or two special things to do over the weekend? Save the rest for a future visit! If these are your good buddies, they will be back again. No need to cram it all into one bite. 

Can’t decide what to do? Make it fun. Have your guests write down all of the things they would like to experience in Nashville on slips of paper. Throw them in a bowl, and draw one or two every morning to see what the day’s adventure will be. 

Heading downtown? Park at the Tennessee Titans/Nissan Stadium for FREE. 

Yep. You heard me right. Free parking in the city! Say what?! 

As long as there are not events taking place at the stadium, you can park in the “R” lot for free and walk across The Pedestrian Bridge toward the bright lights of the city. Not only is it free, but it’s also a good workout with a fantastic view — not to mention the perfect place for a family photo opp. 

Pack a picnic, load up the car and head to Centennial Park . . . or any park for that matter.

Believe it or not, spring is around the corner. That means warmer weather will be here before we know it. Yes-haw! It’s time to get out, enjoy some fresh air, and let the kids be, well—kids. They will be happy to run, jump, play and get all of those wiggles out. 

Enjoy a meal or two at home.

With such an exceptional food scene in Nashville, this may be hard for some of you foodies out there. But I have found that if we have simple breakfast foods in the morning and sandwiches for lunch — it really cuts back on cost. Still wanting to enjoy some Nashville hot chicken or Bar-B-Que? Pick up the main course for dinner from your favorite spot and make some sides to go with it.

Know you are going to be out and about all day enjoying the Nashville scene? Throw some food in the crockpot before you head out the door. Then, when you get home from a day of fun, you will have the satisfaction of knowing there is a hot meal waiting for you (for a fraction of the price).

Listen to FREE live music.

You know what they say . . . “When in Music City.” (I don’t think anyone ever really says that, but you get the idea.) What do people think when they think Nashville? Music. 

It’s everywhere, it’s awesome, and it’s calling your name. 

And the best part? In many places, you don’t have to pay a penny to hear talented musicians belting out familiar tunes. And there are lots of places to take the kids along too.

Another thing to remember is it’s always good to ask visitors what their expectations are before they arrive. At that time, you can also let them know what your limitations are. Remember, it’s okay for them to head off and do something on their own. If there is something they really want to do, but it doesn’t work with your family budget? That’s okay. You don’t want to go broke—or grow resentful.

And in asking about expectations, we have found that some friends really don’t want to do much. They are happy just hanging out at our house and letting the kids play. It really varies from family to family. 

Our next guests arrive in nine days, and conversations about expectations have already been had. We look forward to making memories with our loved ones and not going broke in the process. I am learning it is possible to have your guests and keep some money in the bank too.


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