Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Great deal on glass straws!

My kids LOVE using straws. But I hate throwing them away, having them use plastic, etc.

Introducing . . . Strawsome . . . these look fantastic, are machine washable, pretty and hopefully will fill a need in our household. They are pretty expensive, but until noon tomorrow, you can purchase a $35 credit from Jasmere

The price is $16 now, but will probably go down lower before tomorrow - should end up over 50% off! The more people that purchase, the lower it will go, so consider purchasing such a fun, environmentally friendly product yourself!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Plan your vacation week!

So, we have a list of things we want to do this week (with input from everyone - my 3 year old added "eat candy"). How to decide when to do what?

Well, there are a few restaurants we love to visit while we are here, so I looked up their phone numbers and made a quick call to see if they have any specials this week. Sure enough, five minutes later I discovered our favorite Mexican restaurant has drink specials and unlimited chips and salsa on Mondays, and our favorite Tapas restaurant has drink specials and a live band on Tuesday nights.

With that knowledge we looked at our list of activities and loosely (it is vacation after all) planned out a few scenarios for each day.

We spent yesterday by the pool and our resort had a free bounce house on Mondays, so the kids enjoyed that. Last night we had Mexican and thanks to a B1G1 coupon from our Entertainment book, the drink specials (99 cent Margaritas) and chips/ salsa deal, all four of us ate (with 4 margaritas - two each but they were small) for $26 including tip. We had a healthly blackened mahi mahi fajita dish and a simple 3 tacos with black beans and rice. Yummy and we ended up unable to eat it all! After that one of the things we wanted to do was scope out a place to stay for next year - we plan on doing something really cool and staying at Animal Kingdom. It was actually really fun to tour the resort (they even showed us a room). We walked down and looked at the animals and we were there when they were doing the music in the lobby. Our original plan was to have dessert at one of the restaurants there, but by the time we were ready it was 9:00. So, instead, we stopped at Publix, purchased a Warm Delight and made quick cakes in the room. Total spent for the day: $28.

Tomorrow night is Tapas thanks to their specials on Tuesdays - YUMMY!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Last week of traveling!

Hard to believe our month long trip is almost at an end. We spent the weekend visiting with friends and family (everyone came to us) and so aside from two meals out, just ate in the condo. We did do great on our two dinners out:

Saturday we took our SIL and BIL to TRex as a thank you for spending her vacation with us. I had a $50 gift card from MyPoints (happy to send an invite if anyone is interested), and we used our Rainforest Cafe Safari card for a free appetizer. So, for the six of us our total out of pocket was $44 and change. Not bad!

Sunday we had friends from out of town visit and since the kids were all worn out from swimming in the pool all day we ordered pizza from Uno. They had a deal for 2 pizzas for carryout for $19.99. I had a $5 off coupon from the Entertainment Book, so it cost us $16 and change - for all eight of us! We even had leftovers which fed us lunch today.

This week we are trying to finish up the things we like to do in Orlando and haven't gotten to yet (due to our multiple nights at Sea World). We made a list this morning and have been figuring out the best days to cross items off - more on that tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Magazine Deal!

Well, along our latest topic of Budget Travel, there is a terrific deal this week on the magazine "Budget Travel." I've received it on and off for a number of years (mostly whenever I get a good deal), and it's a fun magazine to read when daydreaming of trips. There are some good tips in there and sometimes fun articles about places to visit. Right now, if you go to


you'll find it on the weekly special. After you place your order, use the coupon code: WKLYSPEC to get an additional percentage off - ends up costing you $3.75 for a year.

If you go through EBATES you'll get 10% back on your purhcase also!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Savings at the beach

We've been at the beach for the past few days. This is an EASY place to save a lot of money and still have a terrific vacation.

We would have done more than we have, but we've had an influx of the stomach flu - no fun while you are on vacation. So far everyone has had it except my husband - I guess that's one way to save a lot - don't eat! Kidding aside, we went to the grocery the first night we arrived and stocked up on food and that turned out great - we haven't gone out to eat at all since someone has always felt sick, so aside from our grocery stop we've spent nothing on food since Friday!

The beach is terrific as once you've gotten your room, the activities are free. We spend most days alternating between the ocean (which is beautiful here) and the pools. We brought sand and water toys from home, along with a great beach umbrella we purchased at Sam's Club three years ago and a few fold up chairs. Our room is so close to the ocean we don't even bother to pack food - we just run back when we get hungry.

A big plus of staying at a timeshare/ condo resort is the activities - we honestly never thought of that when we first purchased (off ebay super cheap of course), but the activities are so fun for the kids! This week alone we've enjoyed pool games, free cookies and lemonade, games at the activities center (checkers, connect 4, rock band, air hockey), bingo and more. The kids really look forward to these and most are free!

Our resort is older, but still very nice and very close to the ocean (2 min walk). Plus there is a pool right on the ocean. With two bedrooms and a full kitchen, we have everything we need. Plus, by snagging an older, but clean and well maintained location I was able to get it for a steal - including trade in and maintenance fees, this week is costing us $360.

I'll take $360 a week for sun, sand and swimming any day!

Hopefully today we'll be on the mend and I'll have some tips for saving outside the resort!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Theme Restaurant Experience at a low cost!

Still traveling and still saving money!

Monday night we were back at Sea World - really getting our use out of those annual passes! No money spent out of pocket. I took the morning off and we did a character breakfast at Chef Mickey's - no big savings there expect it is less expensive to have breakfast than lunch or dinner. Afterwards, we rode the monorail around and then the boat from the Magic Kingdom to the ticket and transportation area and the monorail back to the Contemporary where we had left our car. The kids think the monorail is fun and the boat was deserted since we were going the opposite direction from the Magic Kingdom. We ate at the condo the rest of the day . . .

Tuesday I worked all day and the kids and hubby went to Sea World to play in the splash pad all morning. In the evening we went to Downtown Disney, and had a nice dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Cafe - we split two meals and with our 10% DVC discount, got out for $17. Since the meal was light, after a few hours of window shopping, we decided to have dessert at the new T-Rex restaurant. It is similar to Rainforest Cafe, but dinosaur themed. This was the perfect way to have the restaurant experience at a minimal cost. We got the HUGE volcano dessert (comes out with dry ice smoke), and split it with two pieces of chocolate cake left to take home for later. Total cost was $15, but I had a $10 Rainforest Cafe coupon (courtesy of their Safari Club which is free to join), so out of pocket, after tip we spent $9. Total cost for another big day of fun: $26!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Theme Park Savings

Well, the weekend was spent at the parks - we went to the Magic Kingdom Saturday and Sea World last night.

How to save at the Magic Kingdom . . . I've mentioned this before, but I purchase 10 day, no expiration passes online and we use 2 - 3 days a year. My tickets end up costing about $30 a day - big savings over the $70+ for a one day pass! We also save money at Disney on food by: 1 - splitting a double burger and a hot dog meal for lunch - with the toppings bar and ordering an extra bun ($.85), we spend under $20 and get plenty of food for the four of us. We actually didn't eat it all! 2 - order ice water - any restaurant that sells fountain drinks will happily give you an ice water for the asking. If you can't stand Orlando water (I don't mind it myself), just add a drink mix pack - one is the perfect size for the cup. This tip alone will easily save you $10 a day, you'll stay hydrated and you don't have to carry around water bottles! We only had one meal at the park, went home around 3:00, dinner in the condo and returned at 7:00 when the weather had cooled off. Total spent $25 for the day (lunch and a snack).

How to save at Sea World . . . last year we purchased annual passes - they cost us $30 more than a day pass and are good for 365 days from date of purchase. Best part - they include parking ($12 savings a day). We went three times last summer, once at Christmas and will go several times this week. Last night we went about 7:00after dinner, and since the park closed at 10:00, enjoyed most of the rides (no lines that late at night), visited a few of the exhibits and then watched the fireworks. Lunch was at a great BBQ place (local dive) using a coupon in the Entertainment book (purchased for $12 end of the year), split two meals for the four of us. Then we did get Mickey Ice Cream Bars at Downtown Disney on our way home from Sea World. Total spent $26 for the day (lunch and ice cream).

Friday, June 4, 2010

Save money on the road

We've taken off on our month long June trip - this is something we've done the past few years. This year, I thought I'd document some of the ways we save money on the road - in real time!

So, today's big savings (and it's only 9:23 AM):

Stopped at Walgreen's on my way to "work." I had a few Register Rewards (RR) that expire Sunday - even though I'm not at home, doesn't mean I can't still play a condensed version of the drugstore game! I picked up the vitamins and Ecotrin that were on this week's RR, used my $2 Ecotrin coupon (yes I brought some of my coupons along), my expiring RR and also picked up a case of water. We leave family tonight for a condo, so we'll need some water. It was on sale for $2.99, but after my RR I paid a total of $1.61 for everything. Plus I got back $11 in RR that expire 6/18.

I wrote down in my calendar a reminder to visit Walgreen's before the 18th and use the RR for either something we need or something to roll them. There are Walgreen's where we are headed, so easy enough to swing in. I still have a $3 RR to use by Sunday, so when we arrive I'll run over for CoffeeMate and milk. The CoffeeMate, milk and water are all things we would have purchased at the grocery once we arrived at our condo, so by using my RR I've saved us at least $9!

Savings #2 for the day - while I travel I still work from Starbucks, restaurants, etc. Today I'm at ABC - because they have free coffee this morning! I still purchased a muffin (because I feel like I should give them some money for the free wireless!), but saved $1.60 on my coffee - with free refills I'm set for the morning.

Just because you're on vacation or away from home doesn't mean you can't save! More tips to follow as they happen!