Monday, August 29, 2011

Savvy vacation?? Is it possible??

I know that vacation season is coming to an end, but I had to share a frugal vacation my hubby and I took our kids on a couple weeks ago. I have been dying to go to the Woodland Park Zoo ever since my 6 year old was born. After doing some research and looking around at prices for the Zoo, food, and a hotel, I knew we could do it, but it would be tight. Then I remembered my awesome checking account I have with Spokane Federal Credit Union ** that lets me earn reward points on my debit card with every purchase made. They also offer an awesome rewards program with their credit card. Anyway, after looking up what I could use with my points, I redeemed some on a hotel in Seattle. ABSOLUTELY FREE. Plus we stayed at the DoubleTree Hotel by SeaTac, which was super nice. We saved $139 using our reward points for the hotel! Now this plan for a mini vacation was coming together.

(Our actual hotel room! Nice, huh??)

The Tuesday before we left, one of my friends posted on Facebook that Groupon was offering tickets to Woodland Park Zoo for $8 each!!!! I literally stood up and did a happy dance. Ticket prices for adults are normally $17.50, kids (3-12) are $11.50, and children 3 and under are free. Add that up for 2 adults and 2 kids (my 20 month old is free, phew!) and it would have been $58! Ouch! Purchasing the tickets through Groupon, cost me only $$32, saving me $26!

To save money, we brought our own breakfast and also packed bread and the makings for PB&J sandwiches, chips, apples, and water. That way we could save money on lunches and breakfast and be able to splurge a little on dinner!

For then next day, we decided to walk around Pike Place market. It was free and fun to check out everything that is sold there. The kids loved watching the fish being thrown about. We of course picked up some fresh flowers for $5!

(Me and my baby girl)
Later, we decided to eat at our absolute favorite restaurant, Ipanema, which is a Brazillian grill. I couldn't find any discounts anywhere for them, but it was worth it anyway! I am glad we did go, because our friends went there last week and it was closed. I found out the owner sold it and new management is taking over. I sure hope it stays the same!

I am usually a 'fly by the seat of my pants' kind of girl when it comes to vacations, but I have learned if you don't plan ahead, it can cost a lot! So look anywhere and everywhere for discounts to your favorite vacation destinations, use any reward points you have with credit or debit cards, and look for end of the season discounts to have your own mini weekend vacation! I know this wasn't Disneyland or Hawaii, but it was fun to get out of town for a little bit. Seattle has a lot to offer for family activities. There is still plenty of time to plan your own savvy vacation!

What are your vacation savings tips??

**I used to work for Spokane Federal Credit Union but I am no way affiliated or being paid to endorse them. I just love my credit union! And FYI, the account for the Debit Rewards program is totally free! So if you are being charged for your account at a big name bank, check out a credit union.

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