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The "F" Word (Relax.. Read On!)

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

The "F" Word (Relax.. Read On!)

Frugal. Cheapskate. Tightwad.

Frugal living is not just for the poor, or for the cheap. It's for the smart! Vacation time is just around the corner, so I think we should talk about ways to have a frugal vacation while still making it an actual vacay for you!

Food.

It's expensive enough when you're at the grocery store, but when you're out of town it's even worse. And who wants to eat food out of the cooler for days straight? Can you say soggy cheese? To save money on food, go to the restaurants for lunch but not for dinner. Or better yet, have an early dinner! Most places serve lunch until at least 3 or 4. So if you arrive at 3:50, you still get the lunch price but after you eat your rolls or salad, you're eating at 4:30 (which is closer to dinner time) and still paying only lunch price. Score.

Stay at a hotel that serves breakfast for free. I think that's a given, but just in case you didn't think of it, that is one of the best ways to save money. Nowadays, it doesn't cost any extra to stay at a hotel that serves breakfast versus one that doesn't. Fill up on breakfast, grab a few bagels or yogurts for a snack for later (if you're having a late breakfast and early dinner, you can snack for lunch), and you're all set.

At buffets, kids usually eat free. If you have 3 children with you, and 2 adults, you're paying $10 each for the adults and the kids are free. If you really need to save money, skip the soda and get water (free). That means you paid $20 for 5 people to eat. Cheaper than the $1 menu at McDonald's, and so much better! You can also go at 3:00 (similar to above) and get the lunch price, but take your time so it is actually a lunch/dinner combo!

Share a plate. This can be romantic as well as frugal. :) If you end up at a restaurant that forbids splitting plates, one of you can order a soup (cheap!) or salad and share that as well.

Avoid.

You want to avoid souvenir shops all together if you are on a budget. Over-priced junk. Ick.

Don't rent a car if you're staying in a city. You can walk or catch a bus for a couple of bucks. Or better yet, see if they have a train to take you places. Fun and inexpensive. :)

Credit cards - I know this sounds crazy, but leave them at home! Bring one just in case of an emergency but do not use it just for the heck of it. When I'm on vacation, I carry a little bit of cash and leave the debit card at the hotel (hidden, of course). I don't want to spend more than I planned on spending, and I can't if I don't have the means to do so.

Avoid going over budget. Set a daily meal and entertainment spending limit and stick with it.

Airfare.

Obviously if you have more than one person going on vacation, driving may be cheaper, but if you must fly, plan ahead to get the best air fare deals. Now you could wait til the last minute and get great deals, maybe... but that's a maybe. So I wouldn't recommend it.

If you visit matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch you will be directed to the same database that travel agents use, but for free. You cannot purchase tickets on this website but you can compare prices so you know what the best price will be.

Taking the late flight is usually best, and if you can fly over night and during the week, that's even better. Air fare prices change up to three times a day, so when you are looking for prices, like I said, plan ahead. Then you can compare prices for a few days and grab them when they're low.

AirFareWatchDog.com is a website that will email you sales and alerts for any airport or trip. Farecast.live.com and farecompare.com search records of fares to give price trends for your trip.

Being flexible will also save you a lot of money. Keep this in mind when planning time off work!

Other ways to save.

Pack light. If you choose a few outfits that you can mix and match, you are going to be packing less clothes for each family member (easily saving yourself at least one piece of luggage and an extra charge at the airport).

Take photos of your travel documents and send them to yourself via email. If you lose anything, you will have these available at the touch of a button. This could also save you a lot of time and money.

If you are on a romantic getaway and still trying to pinch pennies, grab a matinee and then hit up Happy Hour. See what time the local pubs or restaurants have Happy Hour. Then watch the movie (matinee prices are always cheaper), and stroll over to Happy Hour afterwards. Think dinner & a movie, but reversed.

What are some ways you save money while vacationing?

Or how are you saving money to go on a vacation?

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4 Comments:

At May 5, 2011 at 9:47 PM , Blogger Megan said...

Those are all great tips!! Going on vacation is one of my favorite things, so I'm all for doing whatever to make it happen!

 
At May 5, 2011 at 9:48 PM , Blogger Michelle said...

Hi doll! I've missed you!

I just wanted to note that ITA gives you codes, if you call the airline with the codes, you get that same airfare. It's where we always get tickets!

Congrats on the weightloss and you seem to be so happy! Go you!

xo,
Michelle

 
At May 6, 2011 at 10:13 PM , Blogger Janet said...

Hey friend! I found you over on girlinair, we both are sponsors over there!

Going to friend you, come check me out too! :)

www.iheartmygluegun.com

 
At May 16, 2011 at 9:11 AM , Blogger ~*Safiyah*~ said...

Skipping the soda is an excellent idea! I'm a waitress and a lot of people do that- I don't really care of course because I do it too :) It's SO much healthier. And at two bucks plus change a person, you can knock quite a bit off your bill.

 

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