Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How I Took a Vacation for Less Than $300!

Woo hoo!  Girls' weekend in New Orleans!  Sounds exciting, right?  Too bad we're all happily married moms who will probably be in bed by 9 PM every night.  Good thing we have no problems with day drinking.

Since this was a spur of the moment trip, I hadn't budgeted the plane ticket or the spending money I would need to finance this trip.  Rather than cancel it all together or worse, go into credit card debt for it, I had to get creative on how to raise the money.  And if you know me, you know I love saving and spending money!

Below is an outline of what I did.  In the end, I only needed to take the cost of my plane ticket, less than $300, out of our budget.  The best part was I had a fabulous time and didn't feel like I was depriving myself of any fun because I was on a budget!

Sell Your Stuff

One of my Craigslist Ads.

This one can be time consuming but honestly, it's how I made the most money quickly (about $70 in a week). The best part besides the money?  I freed up a lot of space in my basement by doing this. 

OK, so kind of a no-brainer, but what you do is go through all of your old stuff and put whatever you think is usable up on a yard sale site. There are so many more options out there now besides Craigslist. Check Facebook for local yard sale groups and look for an app called "Varagesale."  Be sure to learn and follow the rules of each site and play it safe when making transactions.  For instance, I always make sure my husband is going to be home when someone is checking out an item. 

Clear, attractive pictures will draw the most attention to your item. Unless it's a hot ticket item, fuzzy camera photos are quickly passed over. Pro-Tip:  Always ask for cash!

Use the Ibotta App to Buy Groceries

I'll be the first to admit that I've neglected this phone app recently because I'm a big fan of Aldi's which isn't part of it, but many grocery chains are. When I was preparing for this trip I jumped back into using this phone app so I could save money on items I was already purchasing. Did you know it offers rebates for beer and wine?  It does and since Aldi's sells neither of those items I'm forced to go somewhere else for them. Between my husband and I we were able to save $40 this way. That might not sound like a lot but that's a couple of drinks on Bourbon street, know what I mean? 

If you are interested in trying ibotta for instant rebates on your grocery purchases then click HERE.

Use EBATES to Get Cash Back for Online Purchases

Never heard of EBATES?  Well, it pays members cash back for online purchases and offers online coupons.  They've made it easier to use than ever by allowing you to download a tool for your internet browser that glows a different color in your navigation bar if a coupon is available for that site.  If you are searching an online retailer it will pop up a dialogue box if a cash back coupon is available.  It even works for Etsy!  This is a great way to save money if you love shopping online like I do.  You can get your cash back in the form of a check mailed to you, through PayPal or a gift card.  In the end I made $20.

If you are interested in earning money back for online purchases just click HERE. 

Use SwagBucks for Your Online Searches 

Swagbucks is owned by Yahoo!  Use it as your search engine to earn points (swagbucks) which you can redeem for gift cards. It does take quite a few swagbucks to earn one. For instance, a $5 Amazon Card is worth 500 swagbucks, but if you use it religiously it will ad up quick plus you can fill out surveys, shop, trade-in electronics, and perform online tasks to earn even more. 

If you are interested in signing up for SwagBucks so you too can earn free gift cards then click HERE.  

Overall,  I was able to save up to $200 worth of spending money for my trip by using these methods and a few others such as mail-in rebates.  I wasn't a slave to them either nor did it take me forever to earn it since I just started working on it the month before. I only had to pay for the price of my airline ticket, $275, which I easily took out of my monthly budget. 

What are your money saving tips for saving for a great vacation?

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