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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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How we paid for the trip

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12 months ago our family of 4 decided to take a trip to the Christmas markets in Germany and Austria. I was using frequent flier miles for the airfare and I wanted to see how much money I could save from other sources for the trip. Here are my results:

Ebay sales - 1782.75
Direct sales of old magazines - 100
Prepaid grocery card discount - 80.08
AAA Discount - 12.60
Coupons - 702.62
Rebates - 250.85
Change of pharmacy - 75
Senior discount - 37.02
Gas savings - 97.61
groupon - 20
Lottery winnings - 41
Student discount - 0.70
Gift card - 30
Foreign currency settlement - 18.04
Medical refund - 229.65
Vacation house rental income - 1645.46

For a total of over $5,400.

Some explanations:
Ebay - sales were pretty good at the first of the year, but were very poor toward the end of the year. Best sellers were some silver medals I had bought when silver was about 8.00 an ounce and sold when silver was over $30. I also sold some old technical magazines that were just taking up space, an old autographed baseball and other misc. items.

Direct magazine sales - I sold some of the old magazines via an ad in the current issue.

Prepaid Grocery discount - Sprouts market sold $100 gift cards for 89.99. I ended up buying 8 of them throughout the year.

Coupons - I had gotten lazy about redeeming coupons, so I decided to get back into the routine. I don't buy items just because of a coupon - in fact I usually wait until the item is also on sale. This amount does not include affinity card savings which to me are not savings but just a measure of a stupidity tax on those who don't have the card.

Rebates - biggest item here was $150 when we changed out toilets for water saving models.

Change of Pharmacy - We had gotten disgusted with our current pharmacy chain, so when the supermarket offered $25 to change a prescription, we took advantage of it. After we had changed 3, they changed the rules and gave points in their gas savings plan.

Senior discount - I usually forgot to take advantage of this discount. It was especially helpful shopping early at the local Ace Hardware.

Gas savings - The two grocery chains in town give a 10 cents per gallon discount for every $100 spent. I made an effort to use this to the fullest by coordinating my gas purchases. Their gas stations have the same price as all others in town, so this is a true savings.

Groupon - there wasn't much that they offer that I use, but there was a 50% hardware deal.

Lottery winnings - yeah I probably lost money overall, but I chalk that up to recreation. I only included any winnings over $3.

Student discount - didn't amount to much - but we did save some on the trip.

Foreign currency settlement - this came out of the blue

Medical refund - The insurance company finally paid a bill that I had paid and so the provider refunded me.

Vacation rental income - our family has a rental property. This is the first year in a long time that we made any money.

Garage sale - I don't list anything here. We did have one that was a real waste of time. My wife appropriated our meager sales for her own purpose.

This was a fun exercise and one I am continuing this year. Some items can't be duplicated this year (such as the toilet rebates) but I expect to have a better garage sale in the spring. Ebay will be interesting. I have already sold one item this year that I had unsuccessfully listed for over 6 months last year.

What has worked for you?

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