Ah, what a week it was. I recently returned from a week of luxurious vacationing. Much relaxation was had, as well much food and drink. As luck would have it, an acquaintance of mine also recently returned from vacation, basically the same type of vacation as mine, however with some slight (really not so slight) differences. Let me explain.
My family and I rented a very fine cottage for a week. This cottage had pretty much every luxury and convenience you could ask for, it was also spotlessly clean. To provide more detail, my cottage had a washer and dryer, satellite TV, wifi, and even a dishwasher, was a 5 minute walk to a great beach, had spectular views, and was situated so your neighbours were about 100 feet away. Perfect, in other words. We also went out for some fine dining experiences as well, however, we also brought a few groceries from home, and made a grocery run for further supplies our second day there. Also lots of sights and attractions were visited and scenic drives were taken to far away destinations.
This acquaintance also rented a cottage for a week. She and her husband (no kids for them by the way) stayed in a cottage nicer than mine, I will admit to a point. It had everything ours had, except it also had a PVR, and a “nice big flat screen TV”. However this cottage was located in a main tourist town/area and thus was packed in with other cottages, it also lacked any type of water view. There was also one other big difference in our vacations. She rented hers, one week after we did (key point here people).
Oh yes, one other key thing: the RIDICULOUS price she paid!
Our cottage rental price for the week: $500
Her cottage rental price for the week: $1300
Rental savings = $800
My goodness…I just “saved” myself $800 by renting an “inferior” cottage! That is a staggering amount of money for these slight differences. In fact, if you made me pick between the two cottages which I would rather stay at, free of charge, I would still pick the cottage I stayed at. I would NEVER pay a premium of $800 for the other spot. You could argue that some people would. Of course some would, however I hope none of them are readers of this (or any other) finance blog.
I’m going to give you a bit more insight on the main reason why our cottage was so much cheaper. Because we made an effort to find a deal, and did it pay off. Our effort consisted of maybe an afternoon doing some research and price checking. We found this cottage on line, and we found that like most other cottages, they had an “off season” rate. However their off season ran until the end of June. So if you rented the cottage the last week of June, you paid $500. If you rented “the first week of July” (technically starting June 29th), ie the day we checked out, then you get to pay the prime summer price of $1000! Can anyone, ANYONE out there prove to me, with no statistical doubt, that the last week of June is much colder or has worse weather than the first week of July for anywhere on the East Coast? No, of course not. So took this “chance” and went off season, and the weather was great by the way. Now for most places the off season ends in mid June, but that is what a bit of extra attention to detail gets you.
I’m also going to mention the food. As previsouly stated, we brought a few staples with us, and then hit the local grocery store, we bought $80 worth of groceries. We also went to restaurants or had take out 5 times, for a total of $130 (The Fake Cheap likes to be lazy on vacation too) So we will call that $210 on food for the week. Guess what my counterpart did? Ate out every single meal! Every meal! Even breakfast! Now I enjoy breakfast out, but the thought of driving somewhere and waiting for my breakfast every single day for a week makes me feel ill! They brought no groceries, because “they didn’t want to be bothered lugging them and preparing meals”. Well hopefully they also won’t mind the inconvenience of working until 65-70 years old either. Wow, just wow, I was blown away. These are also the people who enjoy high class fine dining, so I’m sure some very expensive meals were had. I ‘lls give them the benefit of the doubt when I do my little calc: 7 breakfasts @ $10 each – $70 plus 7 lunches @ $20 each – $140 and 7 suppers at $30 each (yeah right) = $210 (ha, my whole food money for the week!) total is $420! And that is being conservative. Wow, I’m glad her husband makes $200K/year, oh yes, he doesn’t..how can they afford this??? By sacrificing retirement savings of course!
Food savings = $210
Finally I just want to mention that they traveled to their destination in their vehicle, just as we did. And you guessed it, they have a crazy large SUV. Why do they have a large SUV? Great question. Who knows? Anyway, I’m going to assume they used 2.5x, yes 2.5x the gas I did and again I think I’m being conservative. We drove our “new car” and boy, was it in gas beast mode, I was very impressed, 590 Km on a 50L tank with the AC running most of the time, and I still had about 1/16th of a tank left. I’m going to set my gas expenditure at 1 tank plus $5, which comes out to $67, and they spent $167.5. Super, another $100 savings.
Total “fixed” vacation expenses (housing, food, transportation) us = $777
Total “fixed” vacation expenses then = $1887
Total vacation savings $1,110
And people wonder how I could possibly early retire before 50? Sometimes it is just too easy.
I hope everyone enjoys their summer vacation, while keeping things financially ship shape of course. Thanks for reading.