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How we paid for the trip

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Jan 16th, 2012, 09:48 AM
  #1
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How we paid for the trip

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?
bigtyke is offline  
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Jan 16th, 2012, 09:56 AM
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Bravo, bigtyke. What kind of percentage do you pay with eBay?

Also, did I miss your trip report???
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Jan 16th, 2012, 10:03 AM
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Good for you!!! I only wish I were that energetic. I have tried the Ebay thing, but it is more work than it sounds. And I didn't get very good prices. Most of my items are antique glassware, so lots of trouble to mail.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 10:22 AM
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This is a nice reminder how the little things add up.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 10:28 AM
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I love this! I should print it out for all of my friends who say they can't afford to travel now.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 01:52 PM
  #6
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Trip report upcoming
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Jan 16th, 2012, 02:25 PM
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Bravo!!

Little things really do add up. We don't have cable/satellite or a telephone land line for a savings of $1200 or more annually. We keep our cell phone plan to calls and text only. We order water when we dine out as opposed to soda which probably also saves on health costs ;-). And we don't buy anything, not even a vehicle, on credit which saves us interest. All in all, these little things among others really put a dent in our annual European vacation bill.

Looking forward to seeing other tips!
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Jan 16th, 2012, 02:32 PM
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Good for you!!!! Every year I say I'll take a trip on Ebay earnings, but after a month or so I give up. It's a lot of work!

I didn't get overseas in 2011, mainly because I just couldn't afford it. You've reminded me of ways I can save.

Thanks!
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Jan 17th, 2012, 07:01 AM
  #9
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I don't know what percentage I paid to ebay, I just run everything thru paypal and pay attention to the net amount.

Ebay can be a lot of work. You can never tell what is going to sell. All it takes is two people really wanting what you are selling to make a big sale. I once sold six old SURFER magazines for over $100.
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Jan 18th, 2012, 03:44 PM
  #10
 
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I must say, I really enjoyed this post. It shows that you can afford travel if you save. Thanks for sharing.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 05:23 AM
  #11
 
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We don't exchange gifts anymore as a way to not waste money on stuff we don't need anyway.... Cell phones only, no land line. Minimal cable, no movie channels (RedBox for $1.07 per movie)... My car is 12 years old, hubby's is 11... and so on.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 05:38 AM
  #12
 
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My wife and I open/closeCCs forbonus points for us in 2011

$500 cash Chase Sapphire check 50000 points
1 Ultrabook Dell free and free suites top hotels in Europe
on 2 Amex Open Business cards 75000 points per card.
2 Free TA flights with AA.com AAdvantageCiti Cards.
Last month picked up 70000 mariott.com CC pointsand 60000 ihg.com points so 130000 worth of hotel pointsyet to be used.

Pretty good haul for us our credit score actually went up.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 05:47 AM
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Hubby's car is 18 years old - now it's not only a money saver but he gets to play martyr and claim to drive an older car than anyone we know (but as soon as it needs a really costly repair we are ditching it).

Bring your own coffee and lunch to work - I figure that easily saves $500 a year (and that's not even doing it every day).

We stay at hotels that average 100€ a night. Obviously sometimes we go over that but often we are under that amount and I have always been very happy with where we stay. But I'm going for 28 nights this summer so that's a saving of $1400 over what seems to be the 'average' cost.

I'm so sick of people saying 'gee, must be nice' when they hear I spend an average of a month a year in Europe. There are so many ways to afford it.
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Jan 21st, 2012, 07:18 AM
  #14
 
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Great list! Thanks for posting it. Like isabel, I save money on lunches, waiting for sales to buy clothes but I like how you itemized everything.
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Jan 30th, 2012, 12:11 PM
  #15
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Total spent on the trip - $6100, including airfare. 14 nights.

$18 spent on ATM fees
55.73 on credit card foreign transaction fees ($1854.05 in charges - just over 3%)

Exchange rate was $1.30-1.32

Trip report is at www.bensbauernhof.com
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Feb 20th, 2012, 12:28 PM
  #16
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Shorter trip report at
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...stmas-2011.cfm
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Jan 3rd, 2013, 08:58 AM
  #17
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2012 results
http://www.fodors.com/community/fodo...xtra-money.cfm
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Jan 3rd, 2013, 09:06 AM
  #18
 
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interesting!!
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Jan 3rd, 2013, 09:12 AM
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If you're so keen on saving money, why on earth are you paying foreign conversion fees? Get a Capital One credit card.
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Jan 3rd, 2013, 05:01 PM
  #20
 
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thursdaysd - I have a capital One card - what will it do for my foreign conversion??
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