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Vacation spending so far

August 17th, 2007 at 07:45 pm

We are in the midst of a 2-week trip to New Hampshire. My rough budget included up to $100/day for activities - admission fees, boat rentals, tickets, parking, etc. I knew there would be days we spent that much or even more and days we wouldn't. So far, on day 7, we've spent hardly anything in this category. We've spent just a few dollars in parking fees. We haven't visited any museums, have not rented any watercraft and only went to one state park that charged a fee (and that was done on an honor system, but we did pay the suggested amount).

The more expensive part of the trip starts Sunday, though, so we'll make up for it in week 2. My wife already said, at least, that she won't feel so bad spending money on stuff next week since we spent so little this week.

Why We Save

August 13th, 2007 at 06:02 pm

There is a thread asking if people are saving for a reason. I just posted something there that I thought would be a good blog entry.

As I've said, we love to travel. We left home Saturday for a 14-day adventure in New Hampshire. This morning, we headed southwest from Manchester heading toward Keene with no particular itinerary in mind. Partway there, we passed a sign for a state park with an auto road. We pulled in and found there was a road up to the summit at 2,290 feet. We drove up the steep, narrow, hairpin-turn road. At the top, we decided to hike one of the trails that went around the summit. We got some beatiful views, saw some wonderful rock formations, saw a big swarm of dragonflies and DD discovered a snake in the grass.

Being able to get away and have experiences like that together as a family is why we work and why we save.

Back from New York - trip report

July 15th, 2007 at 03:46 pm

We're back from our anniversary weekend in NYC. We had a very nice time. We actually started our celebrating early. DD got invited out Friday night for a movie and a sleepover so DW and I went out to dinner at a nice French place nearby.

Saturday morning, we drove up to NYC and got there about 11am. The show was at 2pm so we had some time to wander and have lunch. We ate at Mama Sbarro's, one of our casual favorites. They have a by-the-pound Italian buffet. After lunch, we stopped at a candy store to buy some snacks for the theater as we don't believe in paying $4/box for candy that is under $1 outside.

We saw "Avenue Q" which is a riot. Very, very funny show. If you ever get the chance, it is worth every penny. As long as you are not the type to be easily offended by sex, bad language or politically incorrect humor.

After the show, we talk a walk up to the World of Disney store on 5th Ave. They renovated a year or so ago and we hadn't been there since. From there, we headed back to the car and went to the hotel.

We stayed at the Renaissance Meadowlands which was just a few miles from the LIncoln Tunnel. It is a very nice place and we had a free night certificate from the Marriott credit card. When I checked in, I got an envelope with a card saying I was the Silver Rewards member of the day and got a free breakfast coupon, so that was a nice treat.

After we relaxed a little, we got a restaurant directory from the front desk and decided to eat at P.F. Chang's. DW had been there once but I never had. It was very good and quite reasonably priced. We got back to the room, showered, watched some tv and went to bed (it was after midnight by then).

Today, we had breakfast. I gave the waiter my coupon and he was surprised that I only had one. I explained that was all they gave me. He said he'd take care of it and he somehow came up with a 2nd one, so breakfast was totally free (though I did give him a nice tip).

On the way home, we stopped at the Jackson Premium Outlets to walk around a bit. We didn't really buy much, just a couple of little things and grabbed a bit to eat.

So all in all, a very nice weekend.

Happy Anniversary to Me!

July 12th, 2007 at 05:36 am

Today is our 15th wedding anniversary! We are celebrating this weekend by going to NYC. We are seeing "Avenue Q" Saturday afternoon and staying overnight at the Renaissance Hotel in the Meadowlands. We'll also do lunch and dinner in the city and spend some time wandering mid-town. We actually haven't been up there for a while so it will be nice to visit.

The best part is that most of the trip is a gift. My mom bought the theater tickets and is giving us some spending money. DW's mom also gave us a small cash gift which can go toward meals.

For the hotel stay, we used the "free" night certificate we get each year from our Marriott Visa. I put free in quotes because the card has a $65 annual fee, but the certificate more than makes up for that. A night at this hotel would normally be at least $180 + tax, so getting it for $65 total is a steal.

Just booked two trips

June 23rd, 2007 at 09:13 am

DW and I are celebrating our 15th anniversary in a few weeks. My mom bought us Broadway show tickets (Avenue Q). Originally, we were only going to go up for the day. Then we decided we'd really prefer to stay over. I started looking around for a good hotel rate. Conveniently, we got a free night certificate from Marriott in the mail the other day. We get one every year on the anniversary of our credit card account. Using that, I booked a night at the Renaissance hotel at the Meadowlands, about 6 miles outside of NYC. It is a much nicer hotel than we would stay in if we were paying. The CC has a $65 annual fee, but it is well worth it for the free certificate alone, besides some other perks. The room would have been $170 plus tax if we paid for it.

Also, I booked our annual Disney World trip. We are renting a timeshare through SkyAuction. We've done that 2 previous years and really like the one resort. This year, we're paying $286 for the week, or less than $41/nite. That's a little higher than last time, but I'm certainly not complaining.

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