Sunday, November 8, 2009

Five Ways I Saved Dollarz on Vacation

The above is a picture of me spending dollars on vacation.

I just got back from another San Francisco trip. Bet you didn't know I was going, did you? Yes, I just went in August, but I went again last Thursday for a short trip.


When I graduated from college, I was dead set on moving to San Francisco. Fortunately and unfortunately my job connections and housing options here in Seattle were much more financially practical, so I stayed up here. At this point I promised myself that if I lived in Seattle, I had to make an effort to visit San Francisco as often as possible. I was shooting for twice a year, and have met that goal now for this year!

Another reason I went was that tickets were super cheap. After taxes and everything, I paid just $99 to fly on Virgin Air. This was ROUND TRIP. Sweet.

Since I had not started a "wine bottle savings account" for this trip, I started a small cash stash in a jar that I wouldn't have to break, since I didn't want to have to break a WBSA after just a month and a half. I put as much babysitting money as I could spare in a little jar. By the time it was time to leave, this jar had about $300. I spent just $180 on vacation. Yeah, that's a lot for three days I realize, but hey, I could easily spend that at home in three days as well. could have been more!

Here are some things that I did that kept it from being more.

1. Snacks. I brought my own snacks. The night before I left I went to the natural foods section at Fred Meyer and bought some granola flakes, potato chips, pistachios, and allergen-free sugar cookies. Though these are not the healthiest things, they were the best things I could find that I wasn't allergic to that would travel well. I snacked on these things as much as I could throughout the trip so that I wouldn't have to buy snacks so often.

2. Public transportation. Except for two cab rides split three ways, I took it everywhere, including to and from SeaTac airport for the first time ever! The only reason we took a cab is because we saw some cops raiding a donut shop right by us and wanted to get out of the bad-seeming neighborhood ASAP.

3. Staying with friends. I am lucky enough to have extremely generous friends who will host me in SF. I hope they know how much I appreciate them, and I also hope they know that they are required to stay with me each and every time they visit Seattle.

4. Drinking less. I tried to limit my alcohol intake as much as possible. Everyone knows I love my drinky-drinks, but I didn't want to spend all my cash OR be too hungover to enjoy San Fran.

5. Eating good meals. Because on vacation I eat out a lot, I made sure to eat healthy, filling meals (that were allergen free, of course.) This helped so that I didn't want to snack as much in-between. I was also good at not splurging too much on coffee-like drinks or sodas in between meals.

Next step in achieving good San Francisco-related savings habits? I'm starting an ING Savings Account called "San Francisco". This will help to spread the cost of a plane ticket and expenses over several months through an automatic savings plan.

This way I can go back soon and pick up my heart that I left there. <3 <3

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