First, hotel. I did a bid on a Priceline Hotel. Priceline has two ways to get hotels. You can go to their website and pick or you can make a bid on a hotel. I have historically always bid because you can get much better prices that way. The main drawback to the name your own price feature is that you cannot pick your own hotel. This means if you want certain features like breakfast or a pool you can't be certain of getting them. The only thing you can choose is how many stars and in what area. My first bid was $40.00 per night. This was rejected by Priceline and they told me I needed to bid at least $47.00. So I left. I went back later and bid $41.00 and they took it! Yay! I got a hotel with pool AND breakfast, so I was very excited. This was a La Quinta hotel. This would have been $75.00 per night otherwise. so $82.00 vs $150.00.
We have birthdays this time of year which is one reason we go for a fall vacation every year. There are many restaurants that if you sign up for their newsletter etc, they will give you a freebie on your birthday. For this, you just have to search for different places you might be interested in and sign up. I had a few coupons for different restaurants.
Then, I saw an event I wanted to do and did a search for a coupon online, which a person can often find. I didn't find one, however, I found out that the twin cities has a coupon book that you can buy. The coupon book was more than I wanted to spend however and so I looked on Craigslist and found someone who was wanting to trade some of the coupons from this book. I wrote to this person and asked her if she would be willing to sell me some certain coupons. She was. Cha-Ching! I offered her $8.00 for four coupons and received them in the mail. These coupons saved me a total of $58.90. (I wasn't able to use one because the place was closed for the season.)
So the trip went as follows:
Next was a really expensive dinner. I mean really. My frugal bones just about couldn't stand it, but I did anyway. We went to Red Lobster where I got the Seaport Lobster and Shrimp and my husband got Yellowfin Tuna in Garlic Butter. We always order water in restaurants so there was no charge for drinks. Total bill $57.37 plus tips! Woah! But, my Mom and Dad (thanks Mom and Dad!) had given us a $25.00 gift certificate earlier in the year for our anniversary and I saved it for this trip. So total cost was $32.37 plus tips. Hey, we could have easily tried to stick closer to that $25.00 and done much better cost-wise, but we both ordered what we wanted and it was soooo good. :)
Next morning, free breakfast vs $20.00 somewhere else X 2 days = free vs $40.00.
I knew before we left that one coupon I had purchased was not going to pan out so I found a deal for a shooting range on Groupon. I knew my husband would enjoy that. It cost us $18.00 vs $40.00.
We ate lunch at Fuddruckers. (Were all the good names taken when they named that place??). I had a birthday coupon for a free burger $11.03 vs $18.12. My husband had the burger and I, the salad.
Then we went to a play at a theater. This would have cost $64.00 but cost $32.00 with my buy one get one coupon.
After the play we went to Woolley's. This is a super good restaurant. Real tablecloths and napkins, excellent service and the best food ever! I forgot to take pics of the food here but here is a link to the restaurant. My husband had the Panko Walleye and I had a burger (the best burger ever!). My husband and I split both meals and traded half and half. We do that quite often. I had a buy one get one free entree coupon. So what would have cost us $40.60 cost $23.55.
The next day, after free breakfast and a swim, we went to Mill City Museum. This is where they used to make Gold Medal Flour. It was very interesting. I had a buy one get one coupon. Regular would have been $22.00 but we were there for $11.00.
We had one more Dairy Queen coupon so it was back to dairy Queen for one last blizzard before we headed home $4.10 vs $8.20.
I still have some freebie coupons for birthdays. I hope to use one next weekend. These expire quickly and it seems impossible to use them all every year.
So, this trip cost $240.00 vs $475.47 for a difference of $235.47. I spent about an hour and a half looking for these deals and putting them together. That's about $156.98/hour. Or if you wanted to give yourself a raise for the year, about .11/hour.