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A big decision

May 14th, 2014 at 07:40 am

Yesterday, I made a choice. It's not one I regret as this was a goal I've wanted far longer than I've been wanting to get out of debt.

Frontier Airlines was running a special sale. Tickets from Dulles to Vegas were $15 one-way. The other way was $109. Altogether it was about $125/person. While I want to go to Vegas, my mom was the real motivation behind the purchase. She's always wanted to go (she loves casinos, but just the penny machines Smile). I've been wanting to surprise her with a trip for years. (Last Christmas, I framed a Vegas skyline puzzle and she asked me if it came with a plane ticket...) I decided it was worth the $250 to knock off one of her bucket list items.

...But it didn't stop there. I went ahead and also got them for my brothers. To be fair, this is all of our presents for Christmas this year, so that $400 I budgeted for November and December will be open for debt repayment.

All told (stretch seating for two people), 4 round-trip tickets from DC to Vegas for $610. Not a bad deal in my humble opinion.

We've also already worked out tentative plans for the pets and my mom is going to look into using her credit card points for the hotel. (She also gets free hotel offers from the sister casinos of the one here, so we may also be able to use those.)

For the next few months, I will take $100/month and put aside all snowflakes into a new Vegas account in Capital One 360. This will be our first ever real vacation as a family and even though we're all adults, I've never been more excited!

Quick Editor's Note: I did not go into more debt to fund this, but it will be taken out of the money I allot to debt repayment. There are some other opportunities in the works that will hopefully offset this minor setback that I will elaborate on later.

12 Responses to “A big decision”

  1. Wife of the Deacon Says:


    Life is too short not to make sweet memories! A priority for our family is our annual vacation to California to visit my 94 year old grandmother who doesn't travel to the Midwest anymore. We cut corners when we can, and make choices that will allow funds to go to that trip. I would suggest that you save what you can, pay what you can on your debt, and go and have a great time with your mom!!

  2. Petunia 100 Says:

    Vegas is a fun trip, so much to do and see. My family last went over Thanksgiving weekend in 2010. We had a ball! I hope your family does as well.

  3. ThriftoRama Says:

    You know, if you can make your mom's dream come true, and it's in the budget, go for it. We took my mom to Vegas two years ago, and this year for Xmas we gave her a trip to San Francisco, which we're taking this fall. I want to be able to do these things with her, because she will not be here forever.

  4. Debt-free by Thir-ty Says:

    WofD, I've never been that far west, but CA is also on my to-do list one day. I plan to cut out all unnecessary spending between now and then to build us a nice cushion to have a great time and come back with no additional debt!

    Petunia and ThriftoRama, any suggestions or tips for our trip? I think we want a hotel with a pool as the older brother doesn't gamble, but loves pool lounging and a continental breakfast (assuming it's available somewhere) and ideally, a fridge. I also plan to check Groupon/Living Social/Goldstar for shows and such to fill our time. I'm thinking one or two fancy meals out, but for the rest of the time, we'll hit the grocery store early in the week and eat cheaply. Also, is a car a necessity or can we potentially get by without for the week?

  5. Mooshocker Says:

    Remember everyone....if we do not reap the benefits of our hard work....why work at all? Jamie

  6. MonkeyMama Says:

    Enjoy! Vegas is a fairly frugal trip for us (can drive, but usually can get $100-ish airfare). Of course, how much you spend there can vary widely. There is so much free entertainment there though, so it works for us.

    I would personally not rent a car in Vegas. There is an inexpensive strip shuttle or bus to/from airport, and buses on the strip, and a monorail type train. IF you are there a whole week, it might be worth renting a car on the weekend (buses get very full) and venturing out a bit. (We actually drove out there last Fall, and was the first time I had ever been there with a vehicle. IT's really unecessary to have a car. In fact, we decided we'd rather take the bus or walk than drive most places, anyway).

  7. korihor69 Says:

    Been there many times, follow the advise and not rent a car, take the shuttles and monorail, most casinos have them. Look into http://www.americancasinoguide.com/ the link to the coupons offered by American Casino Guide for 2014 will save you the cost of the book plus. If you decide to go to Fremont Street for the light show go at night but don't go off Fremont. When the parking lots have razor wire on top of the 8 ft chain link fences it should be a warning.

    Avoid the street hustlers and never take the handouts along the strip. Walk on by they're used to it. Most hotels you stay at offer coupons for 2 for 1 buffets, gambling chits and free drinks (which I don't). My favorites are the mob museum, water show at the Bellagio, walking through all the strip casinos to see what I can't afford and people watching. If you go in the summer remember the heat. Keep your purse cross shoulder and under your arm. Never carry a lot of cash, use the hotel room safes you're being charged for them.

    Sign up for a players card if you want I never give up my driver's license to anyone.

  8. Debt-free by Thir-ty Says:

    Thanks for the great advice everyone!! I was a bit shell-shocked (although I don't know why I was expecting them to be less) when deals on Groupon and Goldstar were stil $30+. That's $120 for the cheap shows! I've decided we're going to splurge on one 'name brand' show and then use free attractions to fill the rest of our visit. I found a chocolate shop, an aquarium, and several mini shows around the strip so far.

  9. Petunia 100 Says:

    I just happened to notice this blog post today: http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2014/05/las-vegas-recap-my...
    She says they stayed at the Flamingo, on the strip, with a nice pool, for a reasonable price.

  10. Petunia 100 Says:

    Oh, and I was just cleaning out my email inbox, and I have an email with Vegas hotel deals. Email me and I will forward it to you.

  11. Looking Forward Says:

    When we were in Vegas last I saw something called MyVegas - I guess it's a Facebook game or something - you play for free, but earn real comps like dinner, shows or rooms. Sorry I don't have any more info, but it might be worth checking out?

    I would also not rent a car unless you really wanted a day off the strip and to see some of the state parks nearby - very pretty desert areas.

    You can also do a Google search for free stuff on the strip. Bellagio Fountains cannot be missed! Watching the "street performers" inside the shopping plaza at the Venetian is fun. And the Mirage's volcano erupting is a classic.
    Try to see a Cirque show if you can afford it. Mystere is fun and I think the least $$.

  12. Debt-free by Thir-ty Says:

    Petunia, thanks so much for that info!! I think we may stay at Excalibur. I think my mom's a part of M Life and may actually have some rewards built up, but she needs to figure out how to access her account since she lost the card.

    Looking Forward, thanks for the tip. I'll have to check out the Facebook thing. I've already found a decent amount of free things to do, but I plan to try and budget for a more well-known show. Petunia sent me a link to the Excalibur Hotel which is also running a special for 2 of their shows for 75.

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