My Thanksgiving Thanks, and My Two Almost Free Summer Vacations

by David Bakke

1207012_loving_momentsI am thankful to all the important players in my life. First, I am thankful for my parents, who put me on this Earth. Second, I am thankful for my family, who has supported me over the years. Third, I am thankful for my wife and son who have really supported me over he years.

Finally, I am thankful for whoever or whatever put the idea into my head to straighten out my finances.

I have detailed the history of my financial woes in my book, and I have gone over a lot of the ideas I’ve put into place here on this blog.

To shorten the story, let me quickly recount to you two big reasons why I am so thankful for this occurrence in my life.

It has to do with MY TWO Almost Free Vacations.

Now, I fully realize that some of the circumstances surrounding these vacations have nothing to do with saving money, or frugal living or anything else. Just go along with me, and hopefully share in my joy.

Myself and my family live in Atlanta. Most of my blood relatives live in Florida, including my parents. Over the summer, my mother-in-law was visiting us in Atlanta. She doesn’t get to see my parents very often,. so we decided to drive down and see my folks for several days.

Well, several months back, a supermarket ran a special on gas cards where you could buy a $50 gas card and pay only $40. Needless to say, I took full advantage of this back then. So, even though the gas needed to drive down to Florida was not free, it was at a 20% discount and there were no out-of-pocket expenses in this area.

Next, we all stayed with my parents, so, no lodging fees. Maybe a tiny bit on the crowded side, but it was only for a few days and I doubt anybody really noticed. Meals were basically all home-cooked. Had brothers and sisters over a few nites, so we really didn’t eat out at all. If you really think about it, the fact that I did not have to spend my money on groceries for these few days or money to heat/cool the house etc, I probably actually MADE money on that vacation.

The second almost-free vacation. My wife’s birthday always falls right around Thanksgiving. I know this is a little difficult for her having to always spend it out-of-town with my family, so this year, I wanted to do something special. We still went to Florida, and there were still no out-of-pocket expenses for gas, because of the reason above. But, I was able to find some Thanksgiving special for an island resort at a beach town here in Florida. Rooms regularly that went for right around $250 per nite, I got for $65. So, again, while not free, roughly a 75% discount. And luxury all the way. We packed food for most meals, so my out-of-pocket expenses for food was only about $75 for four days. Once again, when you factor in another week in Florida (and not having to heat/cool my house or buy groceries) I probably broke even on the deal.

So, there you go, a little luck with where my family lives, a lot of solid financial living, and I had two vacations this year, one basically free, and one where I probably made a little money.

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