Mall of America – The Frugal Way

May 25

Mall of America – The Frugal Way

Bloomington, MN – Mall of America “Vacation” In addition to her day job, Ms. Red to Riches coaches figure skating several nights a week and on the weekends . The association she belongs to puts together a conference each year, and this year it happened to be at a hotel attached to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. I put vacation in quotes because this wasn’t a typical vacation Ms. Red to Riches and I would plan. The Mall of America, an epicenter of consumerism, is not my ideal spot to hang out, but we needed to make the best out of the location. To be honest, prior to the trip, I was a bit nervous this would become a spending trip, because the only way to really entertain yourself (or so I thought), was to go to the Mall of America and spend money. Below I will give some of the highlights of the trip and some of the ways we avoided spending unnecessarily.   Day 0 (Tuesday night, prior to driving Wednesday morning) Since we were going to be on our own for food each day, I wanted to plan ahead so we didn’t have to dine out for each and every meal which would have been a huge expense. The solution? Walmart!   Planning ahead, I thought it was important to have snacks for during the day when I’d either by walking around or hanging out in the hotel room. Without snacks, I’d be more likely to want to go out to eat. Additionally, I knew the hotel did not provide any type of free breakfast, so this would need to be covered for both of us. Once we got there, I found out the cheapest meal on the in-room breakfast was $17 excluding the 18% gratuity charge and 3% delivery charge. We did know the room had a mini-fridge, so we decided cereal and milk would be the easiest solution (we brought our own bowls and spoons and washed them right after eating each morning). Additionally, to keep the milk cold on the 5 hour drive, we put the half gallon in a small container with ice. Since we were on vacation, adult beverages could also...

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Octoberfest vs State Park Day Trip

Nov 21

Octoberfest vs State Park Day Trip

Octoberfest is a big deal in certain parts of the midwest. It’s one of those events you’re just supposed to attend. Heck, I’ve attended the past few years and had a blast. However, this all-day drinking event typically results in a high level of intoxication, deep fried food, a cab ride home, and a very unproductive Sunday. In 2013, I attended Octoberfest with my Ms. Red to Riches, her cousin and her cousin’s boyfriend. It is essentially a closed off downtown street with bands and beer. It was a great time, but after several hours of drinking and wandering around, Ms. Red to Riches and I called it a day and called a cab. I estimate the cost between the two of us as follows: $50 Beer and Food tickets $15 Cab $65 Total Not bad for a fun day of entertainment; however, most of our friends stayed out until midnight or later. If we would have done the same, I would probably double the above total as we would end up not only buying lunch, but also buying more fried food for dinner and continue drinking into the night. This year, a week before Octoberfest, we were contacted by friends to make plans. We were planning on going ,but decided we would just meet up with various friends while we were there instead of making firm plans. Then Friday came along. We checked out the weather and it was supposed to be sunny and relatively warm. Lately, I’ve been avoiding drinking heavily because I have had tons of projects I want to complete and hate waking up later than 7:30am on the weekends. I also tend to be a couch potato and eat fast food the day after drinking while I nurse hangovers. I suggested to Ms. RedtoRiches that we should take a day trip and spend the day exploring on Saturday rather than going to Octoberfest. We may disappoint some friends, but we’ll see areas of our state we have never seen and we’ll be active rather than drinking all day. Ms. Red to Riches thought it was a great idea. We did a little research the night before, picked out a starting destination, and packed some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...

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