Lets face it, adventures can cost money! One of the core values of Frugal Florida Fun is the minimize expenses that are associated with heading out for a day on the town. As the site grows, check back here for tips on how to reduce expenses and not break the bank while you’re exploring Florida!
The DYETT Factor:
You may have seen me reference “The DYETT Factor” when reviewing locations that offer annual membership or special discounts for groups or families. This mathematical information is named after a great friend of mine, Mr. J. Dyett, that shares our enthusiasm for frugality. A few years ago, he was the driving force that convinced my wife and I to purchase annual passes to Universal Studios. He was quick to point out that if we were to visit Universal Studios just three times in a year, the passes would pay for themselves. I have expanded this equation to factor in a family of four and consider the cost of admission for two adults and two children. I’ll here’s an example from the Glazer Children’s Museum:
Assuming a family of 4 (2x Adults, 2X Children) One trip to the Glazer Childrens Museum would be $49. A Family Annual Membership would be as low as $100. That means you would need to visit at least twice per year for the least expensive annual membership to be worthwhile. Technically 3 times, but it was only a few cents, so I rounded to two. DYETT Factor: 2
By planning ahead, you can really save some cash! Be sure to check out FrugalFloridaFun.com for attraction specific discounts and coupons. Many attractions offer discount pricing if you purchase your tickets online. I’m sure you have been to a hotel in the past and seen the racks attraction information right? If you didn’t buy tickets online, swing by a local hotel near the attraction you are visiting and check the lobby for discount coupons or flyers. No need to check in for the night, they are usually happy to help you save a few bucks!
Daily Deal Sites:
Rarely do we head off on a planned adventure without checking out Groupon! This website goes hand in hand with planning ahead, but if you have a smart phone, you can also download the groupon app which allows you to purchase discounted admissions and packages on the fly. The attraction just scans your phone or requests to see the confirmation right there on your phone! There are a handful of discounted sites including Groupon.com, LivingSocial.com, and Yipit.com. Because each of these sites require you to sign up (no charge) to receive daily deals, you may want to setup an email address just for receiving daily deals. It will help you cut down on all the emails you need to sift through.
If there is something you would like to do or see but is just right outside of your budget, you may want to get another family involved! This may sound counter intuitive but you can often get discounts for large groups. If you are travelling a large distance, you could reduce expenses by car pooling and splitting the cost of gas. When you get there, you may have enough people to get a sizeable discount. you’ll want to phone the attraction ahead because you may need to purchase your discounted tickets in advance or follow certain instructions to obtain your discount. In some cases more can actually be less!
Pack A Lunch:
Very rarely do we head off on an adventure without a cooler packed full of drinks and food! Depending on where we are going and how long it will take to get there, we often make lots of sandwiches, pack bottles of water, and of course snacks for the entire family. When you’re travelling on the road, with a family of four, stopping for sodas or water can really add up if being purchased at a convenience store. If we’re short on time or provisions at the house, we also enjoy stopping at Subway! We usually just find one on the road somewhere, grab a $5 foot long sub and split it. We’re only a 2.5 person family, so this works well, but even with a family of 4, your hovering right at $10, for a great lunch. Just bring your own drink to minimize your expenses.
Minimize The Cost of Money:
It’s unavoidable, sometimes you just have to shell out some of your hard-earned money on an adventure. If you’re disciplined, you really can minimize the costs associated with using money. For example, if you need to get gas, some service stations will give a cash discount. It’s sometimes cheaper per gallon if you pay via cash than if you pay via credit card. Just be sure you go to the bank first to avoid ATM fees, or it may not be worth it.
You may also want to check out Raise.com. This site allows folks to sell and purchase gift cards in a safe, secure environment. You can also sometimes get great deals for pennies on the dollar by purchasing gift cards on eBay, but may not be worth the risk. Raise.com on the other hand has a method to ensure the funds are available on the card before you purchase it, so it’s safer than other sites. If you can get a $25 gas card for $20, why wouldn’t you want to save a few bucks?
While this may not be an option for everyone, you may want to use a credit card that offers cash back! I’m a huge fan of Discover card. Not only have they always offered me great customer service, but we get a crazy cash back rate on our card for gas purchases. If you use a credit card with cash back, you technically are getting a discount on your purchases! I’ll warn you though, you need to mail a payment to your credit card company right after your adventure to avoid any finance charges.
If you find a brand, store, or product that you really like, check to see if they have a loyalty program. A great example is the InterContinental Hotels Group. This is the large company that operates the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express chains. They also have quite a few upscale hotels and resorts as well, but they offer a great points program. It’s free to sign up and if you need to stay somewhere overnight, you might as well be rewarded for it! We recently went to Tampa for a few days and only paid $80 for two nights at a Holiday Inn Express. Because of the loyalty program we also received a FREE upgrade to a King Suite, despite only booking a standard room. In addition Holiday Inn Express offers a FREE hot breakfast. We factored that into the cost associated for our entire trip. Sure we had to pay for the hotel room, but factor in that we would have paid at least $15 – $20 for breakfast each day, the costs associated with the hotel stay seemed manageable.