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Money Saving Ideas: So We Can Still Enjoy Our Road Trips


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#1 beckyrepp

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 09:22 AM

I don't know about you, but, with gas prices on the rise I'm thinking about ways to save money everyday so we can still take our road trips. (Our road trips are imperative -- if we don't take our road trips we'll end up going crazy and will likely end up spending money on doctor visits!).

Here are some things we've done recently to save some dough for our road trip fund - and most have had additional benefits. The best part, I don't feel as if I'm sacrificing to achieve these savings:

-Switched to a pre-paid phone plan. Savings: $40/month ($480/year). I don't have the coolest phone or the best gadgets on it, but, I can check my email, send and receive text messages, and make and receive calls all with NO roaming, NO long distance, and NO limits on calls, text, or internet usage. Additional Benefit - I no longer have to worry about how many minutes I've used because its an unlimited plan!

-Started hanging laundry to dry after 15 minutes of dryer time (except for towels and sheets). I noticed a $15 savings/month for the last few months since starting this practice. Additional Benefit: Clothes seem less wrinkled (so they don't need ironing - which I don't have time to do anyway!).

-I've started buying almost all cleaning products at the dollar store. The only thing I still buy name brand is the automatic shower cleaner refill (I really dislike scrubbing shower tile). If the dollar store starts carrying one of those - I'll switch in a heartbeat!

My next move is to change banks - as mine just started to charge a $10 monthly fee unless one maintains a minimum $2500 in the checking account. (I mean REALLY, who wants to keep $2500 in a non-interest bearing account every month?)

I look forward to hearing what other folks are doing to save cash!

Becky

#2 Alex Burr - hester_nec

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 07:47 PM

Re cell phones. I have a Jitterbug cell phone. It don't take pictures, it don't communicate with Mars and it don't cook breakfast in the morning!!! What it does, ta da, is allow me to call AAA when the car decides today is the day to quit. It simply makes phone calls.

For $31 and change I get a 100 minutes a month with roll over to 300 - I've probably lost some minutes because I really don't use it that often. It is, however, great for what I want. I do pay extra, $3 a month, for voice mail and I did take the option for handset replacement in case I drop it in the swimming pool. I have a simply 19-monthly program that costs me $19.99 a month, so with the options its $27 a month - surcharges and other charges boot it up to $31.88 a month, which I consider very good.

It has an address book - it's very simple to use by going online and adding contacts that way. And it even has something most cell phones don't have - it has a dial tone to let you know, yes, I'ts working. With the initial package I got a free car charger, and it did come with a house plug in charger.

Not a bad deal for $31 and change. Peace of mind on the road on the cheap.

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#3 roadmaven

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 09:37 AM

The biggest thing we did last year was to actually sit down, go over everything we spend, and create a month to month budget. We then put the credit cards away (10 months & counting!) and only use our debit card for purchases.

Another big thing that helped is that we started carpooling to work. With gas prices (now) at $3.50/gallon and having a 35 mile round trip communte, my '97 full size GMC pick-up would cost me around $8/day at current gas prices. Last year we started to carpool in our Toyota that gets double the fuel mileage. The truck now sits except for those weekends we take the trailer out to camp, or on the days when one of us has to be somewhere else. I'd say on average carpooling saves us somewhere around $100 at current gas prices.

Another one of our favorite things to do to save a few bucks is to just have water when we eat out. A typical restaurant might charge close to $2 just to get a Coke. The cost savings here is minimal since we eat out may 3 times a month.

Another help is our grocery shopping card. Our preferred grocery, Kroger, also has their own gas station. When using our card in the store, we get a point for each dollar we spend. When the balance gets over 100 points, we get $.10 off per gallon of gas. Over 200 points gets $.20 off per gallon, and on down the line.

Something we've found lately is a website called http://fatwallet.com. They have a huge list of websites where you might buy something online. When you go to one of those websites via fatwallet and ultimately buy something, it's recorded on your fatwallet account and you get "cash back", depending on what the company you're buying from is offering. For example, you might get 5% of your total purchase put into your fatwallet account. Anytime we plan on ordering online, we'll go to fatwallet to see if that company is on there.

#4 knightfan26917

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 09:15 PM

One thing I do to save money ... DURING my road trips ... is to stay with family and friends along the way.

The major exception to this, for me, was my Route 66 trip in 2009. Otherwise, my other road trips, from 2002 to 2010, about 2 weeks each trip once a year, I spent maybe 10 nights in a hotel. I "chip in" when/where ever possible during my stays ... and I always offer to help out when/where I can. Save money for a hotel (obviously) ... and it gives me more time to spend with the people I want to see along my way.



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#5 beckyrepp

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 08:41 PM

Great ideas everyone!

To add to Pat's comment about Fatwallet.com, there's another similar site named Ebates.com. Some stores not on Fatwallet might be on Ebates and vise versa.

Another cost saving 'rule' I have is that if I'm running errands, I need to accomplish at least three in one trip. I try to avoid one stop errand runs.

:)

#6 beckyrepp

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:43 AM

I think it might be time to revisit this topic - given the current state of fuel affairs. Does anyone have any tips/strategies they are using to save some $?

We're on a special diet due to food allergies and I've found that ordering certain foods online and in bulk (such as gluten free bread mix and prezels) saves quite a bit - usually between .25 - $1 per container (especially if you order enough to qualify for free shipping). It also eliminates some runs to the grocery store (and that's no problem for me, because I really dislike grocery shopping anyway!).

I also was successful in reducing our internet/phone/cable package price after we received a special offer from a competitor. It saved ~$10/month on our bill.

Other ideas?

#7 Charlie

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 07:40 AM

Both Best Western and Choice Hotels (Quality Inn, Comfort Inn., Clarion, etc.) issue credit cards that can be used to earn free nights. We usually manage to get two or three free nights each trip we take. AAA members can get a credit card that refunds 5% on gas purchases and at $4 per gallon, that adds up (That's the Automobile Club - not the other AAA.)

Edited by Charlie, 22 March 2012 - 07:42 AM.


#8 beckyrepp

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 08:56 AM

Good ideas Charlie.

We're signed up for all the different hotel rewards programs, too.

We've been redeeming points earned on credit card purchases for gas cards to help out with travel expenses. Costco gas usually runs .10 per gallon less than other stations around us - so we try to fill up there. And, w/ an Amex card through Costco they give a higher cash back % than many other cards (up to 4% for Executive Members if memory serves).

I look forward to hearing everyone's ideas!

#9 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 01:57 PM

I'm surprised one of us, including me, hasn't mentioned the biggest money saver of all - Off Season. Costs of accommodations are often half what they are in season. We spent five days on the Washington coast about a month ago, in a suite overlooking the ocean, for half the in season rates.

Not only are accommodations less expensive, boutiques and the like are offering their wares at half price as well. And if you are ready to spend a little, you are treated like royalty. The owner, instead of a high school kid on summer break, is likely to serve you, and toss in a tour if you show a little interest.

And off season doesn't always mean winter. We spent a week in a lovely ski resort in Utah one summer, and enjoyed everything but snow, while saving at least half.

Nothing is without it's faults. Restaurants may be on shorter hours and many commercial amusements may be closed.

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#10 mga707

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:32 PM

I'm surprised one of us, including me, hasn't mentioned the biggest money saver of all - Off Season. Costs of accommodations are often half what they are in season. We spent five days on the Washington coast about a month ago, in a suite overlooking the ocean, for half the in season rates.

Not only are accommodations less expensive, boutiques and the like are offering their wares at half price as well. And if you are ready to spend a little, you are treated like royalty. The owner, instead of a high school kid on summer break, is likely to serve you, and toss in a tour if you show a little interest.

And off season doesn't always mean winter. We spent a week in a lovely ski resort in Utah one summer, and enjoyed everything but snow, while saving at least half.

Nothing is without it's faults. Restaurants may be on shorter hours and many commercial amusements may be closed.

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road!


Amen, brother Dave!

I've twice stayed at the 5-star/5-diamond Camelback Inn resort in Paradise Valley (Scottsdale) AZ in July for right around $100/night---in July!
Right now the "high season" rates at said property are probably three to four times that.
...and with cold A/C in your 'casita' and the pools cool and wet, who cares that the usual high/low temps that time of year are around 110/85 degrees!

#11 beckyrepp

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 12:20 PM

You are both so right! Off season does save some big $. I didn't think of it - because we virtually always travel at off peek times. One side benefit: places are less crowded, which typically means a much more pleasant travel experience. Its a win-win!




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