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Welcome to Tightwad Cruising - What Do You Do?


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(i posted in another thread, but meant to post it here).

 

 

In reading all of these posts, I have to say that I am probably the oddball out. I don't want to get into a whole thing - - but I have to say that the way that I'm able to cruise and enjoy all of our other vacations is because I began to look for ways to increase the size of my checking account.

 

I read a great book called "How to Get Rich Without Winning The Lottery" - and applied a lot of those principles.

 

Some are taking longer to "pay off" than others - but my bank account balance is growing monthly - - even in this "bad economy". :rolleyes:

 

I'm not meaning this to be negative in anyway. I am just trying to say that we all have choices and we all have the opportunity to move our lives in the direction that we want them to go.

 

If we don't do it - who will?

 

Y'know?

 

:D

 

 

Now - in general - I do have "budget tips" that I use to help fund my vacations:

 

- I buy in bulk when I can and freeze what I don't need right away.

- I do a lot of legwork myself in looking for the best flight deals, hotel deals, etc. For example, staying from Friday - Monday vs. Thursday - Sunday just saved us $1000 on airline tickets for our trip on Friday.

- We rent videos vs. going out to the movies (unless it's one that we REALLY want to see on the "big screen" - which is seldom).

- I buy my books etc. online vs. retail. (amazon dot com is my fav)

- I am an eBay shopper and look for great deals there before I buy retail

- we don't have 1000 channels on our tv.

- we don't drive the newest cars or try to compete w/our neighbors for who has the biggest, newest, etc.

- i am a big fan of online shopping and constantly am checking "coupon" sites for "codes" for things like free shipping, % off of order, etc.

- I use our "points cards" for our daily shopping and pay the balance each month. Those points do add up fast!

 

 

Regardless of the balance in my account - I enjoy being frugal and hunting for the best deal.

 

I don't think there is any "right or wrong" (as has been implied earlier in the thread) - - just what works for you and your lifestyle.

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The internet classified site "craigslist" is a great $$ saver for us - for both buying , selling, yard & garage sales etc - ads are free, and registration easy. It is international & most larger cities participate.

Good Luck:)

 

Leah, RN

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I don't skimp while cruising but I don't believe in wasting money either. I'd never buy art on a ship, I usually stick with the DOD's because they are on special and actually seem to taste the best for some reason. I never send my laundry out but have been known to use the coin operated machines now and again. I have a limit of what I'll lose in the casino each day. I just consider it the price of entertainment. I enjoy watching people gamble. I've only eaten in the specialty restaurant once. I think the food in the dining room is excellent and honestly don't think it's worth the extra money to eat elsewhere. I also get quite attached to my tablemates and would miss having dinner with them. I love the fruitpunch and lemonade on the Lido deck so a sodacard would be wasted on me. All in all, at the end of the week, my bill isn't bad.

 

 

We are only able to do 1 or 2 cruises a year so it seems we wait forever from one to the next. We DO send our laundry out, =X= does a great job, they are no more expensive then the cleaners where I live, and as Capt. Club members we use our coupons and fill the bag w/laundry for $10. We can get a lot in there! We eat in the Specialty Restaurant at least once out of each week we cruise because we really enjoy it and think that =X= has the best specialty restaurants (can't wait to try those on Solstice!). I do not get a soda card, but for some reason it is important to DH, he brings me on these wonderful cruises and if it is important to him - so be it - small price to pay. I like the iced tea and water (and martinis). When we first started cruising I heard and read horror stories about the Casinos - we only play the 25 cent slot machines and never more than $20 at a time, so we did not go to Casino at all. On our second cruise we were will friends that wanted to go to the Casino so we went and played some DH won $2500 on a slot machine with his first $20! On our last 4 cruises we have come home winners! So we do go to the casinos! We do drink martinis and non-house wines - that is why we build up our OBaccount before we cruise, no bill at the end of the cruise - so far:D

 

IF YOU ARE GOING TO GO ON A VACATION - BE REASONABLE (DH SAYS) BUT HAVE FUN !

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We try to go on 2 cruises a year. This is how we safe money.

- Flexibility - we "shop " for the cruise deals, will go when & where the deal will take us. Been wanting to go to the Med for 3 yrs. Instead, went to Hawaii, Alaska because the deal was too good.

- We do our own air - But price it BEFORE we book the cruise

- Always book cheapest cabin

- I don't drink, my husband will buy a bottle of wine ( instead of 1 glass) they will re-cork it at the end of the supper & bring it back the next day. He usually buys 2 bottles for a 7 day cruise.

- Do our own shore excursions. Never book with the ship.

- I do buy Souvenirs for my family. But safe them for the Birthday & Xmas gifts that I would be spending at home anyway.

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  • 2 months later...

1. I book using military rate - for all veterans check to see if the cruise you wants has a discount.

2. Book next cruise while still onboard.

3. Never, Never buy the cruise-lines water - bring a water bottle from home.

4. Never use the internet - you are on vacation.

5. Book land tours with shore based companies

6. Free self-serve ice cream

7. Limit soda - free lemonaide & ice tea is great

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instead of spending a ton of money at the spa i get a wonderful 1hr massage for $40 at home the night before i leave. a mana and pedi also are ell-cheapo but awesome there as well.

 

i hate pictures of myself so i dont buy the ship photos

 

i have learned that my own nice looking clothes i have in the closet are just fine so i dont have to spend any money for outfits to wear on the trip.

 

i am going to carry on 2 smaller bags myself on the plane instead of paying to check any at the airport.

 

i used priceline for my hotel and saved alot of money there also and hope they have free shuttle service from the airport to the hotel.

 

i never throw my money away in the casino. that money can be spent on a shore tour or something i find in a port i cant live without. a bird in the hand is better than a 10000 to 1 chance of winning on a bet. same for bingo

 

i still have wonderful time and do spend money on the things that i want too since i have saved in other areas.

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We don't splurge on our vacations but we do save money for a few months ahead of time for things we KNOW we will want to do. To each his/her own. I have found that everyone has different spending habits and different things that are important. This is just our 2cents!

 

DON'T DO's

* Art Auctions (sometimes we show up for the champagne)

* Casino's (neither one of us are very lucky and we have casino's here)

* FooFoo drinks (we love ice cold beer)

* Nail Treatments (I get nails taken care of at home a day before)

* Spa Treatments (unless DH surprises me with a massage)

* Shore Excursions (we do our own thing - usually cheaper)

* Buy a Soda Card (neither of us drink soda)

* Buy FooFoo Coffee's (I'm a cream and sugar girl and he is strait black so the free coffee is perfect!)

 

DO's

* We do buy a few of the photo's (I keep them up in my office)

* DH usually does the Golf Simulator (his one splurge)

* One specialty restaurant (it's our time to celebrate each other)

* Tip generously (IF the service is worth is, usually it is!!)

* Shop the sale tables in the atrium for island souvenier (saves time in port and usually get a discount)

* Bring our own bottle water (we are hooked on the flavored sparkling water from WalMart)

* On Princess we have free laundry and dry cleanging with Elite so we take advantage of that! (clean clothes when I return home!!!)

 

 

 

 

So at the end of the cruise we don't regret the things we have spent our money on. We know we have saved and allocated monies for the things that we wanted to do ahead of time. DH works so hard throughout the year as a carpenter so I always want to make sure he does what he enjoys (even if it is an EXPENSIVE cigar and a bucket of beer!!)

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I actually ended up less expensive than I planned.

 

I had approx. 150 on my S&S card after my cruise. 50 dollars in tips, 25 dollars in Internet ( I bought bulk time up front this was the cheapest option and I knew I wouldn't use more that that), 20 dollars for my one photo (I had planned on two but didn't like any others), I think about 6 or seven dollars for a coke the first day (it came with a thermal cup, I wanted the cup), 8 bucks for a small cake to be delivered to my Dad at dinner and the rest was for tshirts I bought buy on the last day onboard at the gift shop. (they were generic Carnival shirts 2 for 20, plus the one free so 6 of them for 40 these were the souveneers my family got LOL).

 

My dad had about 150 as well. Tips and our one paid excursion.

 

I had "budgeted" for two drinks a day, but the truth was I'm not a sunbather and I was usually running around doing stuff so I never sat around and drank anything. I had brought my own soda because the ship didn't carry mine, the cup was my one reason to buy a soda, I love that cup. I did go to the captains party and have two drinks, I went to 1 of the auctions and drank champaign but there was no way I was buying a print of a painting at those prices. Oh but I did buy a bottle of beer on the bus coming back from the ruins, it was so worth the $2. :D

 

I put in a whole whopping $40 at the casino, $20 dollars the first night, when I won some, I left it on my card and played on it that night and another night. The last day I lost my 20 and put in another 20 and lost it. I had planned on $100. Cie la Vie.

 

From my cash I spent around 200 as well. Tips at the docks. Stuff (tips/water/snack parking) at the airport flying in and home, buying snacks and soda and forgotten deoderant at Walmart night before cruise, dinner for three one night at a local burger place (my dad lives in Galveston so no hotel or parking fees for the two nights on land) stocking up on spices at Maceo's, went to the first night of Mardi Gras, I think I bought a coke or something, and some souvineers in Progresso and Cozumel (mostly tshirts and vanilla and some small pottery and jewlery pieces, coral set and a silver ring.)

 

I was gonna do a spa thing but I slept in, or I would have gotten one of the specials on a port day.

 

I didn't go planning to be quite that budget it's just how it worked out for me.

 

I thought I'd spend between 600 and 800. But hey 350 works for me. ;)

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Oh and I forgot to say, I had all my money saved in advance. I paid in cash for my cruise, and I paid off my S&S within a week of being home (I had given a cc number for my account). I did this by having a budget and putting my left over spending money in a account every week. It adds up, I also put any extra money there. I shopped for a good price. I sailed in Janurary for a great OV room, and I shared a room with my dad. That saved the most money. I'd do it again as well, in Mexico we climbed the ruins in 100 plus weather in freaking Janurary. I will NEVER pay more to cruise in the summer, I'd melt. Cold the first and last day and rough seas were nothing compared to what the heat would have been during peak season.

 

I had a budget before I left. I stuck to that budget and came in under but I would have spent it if I had wanted.

 

I looked at diamonds but was not impressed. I looked at the red and black coral jewelry but was not impressed by the quality, come to find out most of the junk sold on the steet is fake and ratty to boot. I stopped off at the small museum in the square. They had a shop that was licsenced to sell the coral. I spent the majority of my port money there buying a coral necklace and earing set for about 45 dollars. More than I planned for that kind of piece but worth it to get a good set. I also bought a silver ring for about 20 bucks. It was the best thing I got, I wear it everyday. The ones I looked at in the stores were twice and three times as much.

 

I felt like I had a great time, but I really was a tightwad.

 

 

My dad had his small S&S, he also spent around 200 cash in Cozumel on jewlery for my stepmom. That's all he spent. He spent most of his day sitting around reading and drinking coffee, while I ran around doing trivia (got a medal and a ship on a stick LOL) and games.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am one of the posters that Egg wishes wouldn't post because we always sail in a balcony cabin or better. My husband is claustrophobic and he needs to be able to go outside at all hours. With a balcony, he can just go out in the middle of the night if he wakes up. No need to get all dressed to go up on deck.

 

We do a couple or 3 cruises a year. We book way in advance, use Next Cruise to get some OBC. We book the cruise then use the discounts afforded us by the cruise lines. We at some time transfer the booking to agent to get additional OBC. We use our credit card to accumulate points to get additional OBC.

 

We usually do not use ship excursions. We don't do spa treatments or buy art. We do however, buy drinks, go to the casino, specialty restaurants and tip well. If we had to watch every dollar spent on vacation, I would rather stay home. I am not saying that that isn't the way to go for some people.

 

When I was young and divorced, I had to do that. I promised myself that at some point I would not have to do that and that's how it is for us now. On the other hand, I am not saying I buy lots of drinks (I don't), spend a fortune in the casino, spend a lot doing excursions.

 

We have been to the Caribbean many, many times so we know what we like to do and at times that means getting off the ship for only a couple of hours and enjoying the relative quiet of the ship while others are off doing whatever.

 

Everyone has his/her own idea of how to enjoy a vacation. Far be it from me to tell someone what to do. I think a lot of the suggestions given on this thread are great. Some of them we do without thinking. (No buying fancy ice cream or coffee as examples.) We do what we enjoy, and don't end up with a large bill at the end of the week.

 

Sorry Egg that you don't like to hear that we don't watch every cent spent. It's just not our style.

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I'm curious about the suggestions to pack your own bottled water & sodas - do the people who do this cruise from a location that is local or driveable? I'm going on a longer cruise and will need to fly to the port we are embarking from. We'll be lucky to avoid an overweight baggage fee even without packing water. It looks like the airlines are starting to charge for even the first checked suitcase - I'm afraid by next year this will be the industry norm.

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I'm curious about the suggestions to pack your own bottled water & sodas - do the people who do this cruise from a location that is local or driveable? I'm going on a longer cruise and will need to fly to the port we are embarking from. We'll be lucky to avoid an overweight baggage fee even without packing water. It looks like the airlines are starting to charge for even the first checked suitcase - I'm afraid by next year this will be the industry norm.

 

We usually fly into our port city, however, we fly in a day early. If we need to buy something to take on board we do it in that city. This avoids the extra pounds in your suitcase. Yes, your right by this time next year the entire airline industry will charge for a lot of things we don't currently see now. I am a TA and just got a new update from a few carriers that have informed us that charges are coming. When and what is the question now. I know you can't take Southwest overseas for your cruise, however, when/if you can take them. They currently do not charge for the first two bags.

 

Bottom line, have a wonderful cruise and don't worry about packing water or drinks prior to your flight. Get them when you get there.

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I'm curious about the suggestions to pack your own bottled water & sodas - do the people who do this cruise from a location that is local or driveable? I'm going on a longer cruise and will need to fly to the port we are embarking from. We'll be lucky to avoid an overweight baggage fee even without packing water. It looks like the airlines are starting to charge for even the first checked suitcase - I'm afraid by next year this will be the industry norm.

 

 

I flew in, but my dad is local so we just stopped by the local walmart. I did it as a convienence, but in a case where you'd have to pay to get to a store or pay to fly it in your cases, it might be better to just budget in the price for buying onboard.

 

If you are staying at a hotel your first night or taking a taxi to the port, maybe you could stop off and buy something, but otherwise I'd budget it. I wouldn't of if it hadn't been easier to buy my own.

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Thanks for the tips, yes if possible I will get some bottled water and some diet cokes or fresca to take on board after we get to miami. The suitcases won't have room but I can bring an empty tote to use. Still, I drink water like a fish and this is a 14 day cruise! I'd need to bring a handtruck to bring enough to last me - if we can avoid the charge for bottled water the first week it will still help. What do they charge for water - $4 a bottle? I'll have to get a fillable bottle & hit the water stations on board the ship too.

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Ways we save:

 

We choose a hotel near the port that'll allow us to leave our car "for free".

 

 

Would MrsPete (or anyone else for that matter) be able to tell me what hotel is close to the port in Canaveral that allows you to leave your car for free and may also provide free shuttle to the port?? If ther is some rule about not posting the names in this thread then you can email me at cqb@tampabay.rr.com with the info instead. I would greatly appreciate it!

 

We sail out of Canaveral this coming Saturday and would love to be able to arrange something like that. I did that a couple years in Fort Lauderdale and ended up spending less on two nights in a hotel than I would have in just parking at the port!

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Thanks for the tips, yes if possible I will get some bottled water and some diet cokes or fresca to take on board after we get to miami. The suitcases won't have room but I can bring an empty tote to use. Still, I drink water like a fish and this is a 14 day cruise! I'd need to bring a handtruck to bring enough to last me - if we can avoid the charge for bottled water the first week it will still help. What do they charge for water - $4 a bottle? I'll have to get a fillable bottle & hit the water stations on board the ship too.

 

 

Maybe a portable Brita filter would work. If you drink as much as you say it might be to your advantage to get a pitcher and take it along

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Maybe a portable Brita filter would work. If you drink as much as you say it might be to your advantage to get a pitcher and take it along

 

Great idea! I'd forgotten about that - a long time ago I used to bring a brita filter on vacation whenever I went to disneyland.

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Would MrsPete (or anyone else for that matter) be able to tell me what hotel is close to the port in Canaveral that allows you to leave your car for free and may also provide free shuttle to the port?? If ther is some rule about not posting the names in this thread then you can email me at cqb@tampabay.rr.com with the info instead. I would greatly appreciate it!

 

We sail out of Canaveral this coming Saturday and would love to be able to arrange something like that. I did that a couple years in Fort Lauderdale and ended up spending less on two nights in a hotel than I would have in just parking at the port!

 

 

There is a thread on the eastern seaboard, I work in Pt Canaveral. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=436720 It has tons of info. The woman who does most of the posting as well as the originator, request you search for info before asking questions as everything you could ask for has already been asked. The hotels most people use are Radisson at the port, Country Inn & Suites, and Residence Inn. All have shuttles to the port. Residence Inn has a fee of $3 each way per person for the shuttle. These hotels are really nice.

 

Good luck.

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There is a thread on the eastern seaboard, I work in Pt Canaveral. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=436720 It has tons of info. The woman who does most of the posting as well as the originator, request you search for info before asking questions as everything you could ask for has already been asked. The hotels most people use are Radisson at the port, Country Inn & Suites, and Residence Inn. All have shuttles to the port. Residence Inn has a fee of $3 each way per person for the shuttle. These hotels are really nice.

 

Good luck.

 

My apologies in advance for asking what must be a routine question. I did try to google the info but came up empty & the search feature on this board hasn't worked for me for days.

 

Best place to stay for cruise departing port of miami / flying into MIA? I'm trying to find something reasonable, with transport from airport & port either reasonable or free. Our flight gets into MIA after 10, so will need 24hr shuttle. I had reserved with Comfort Inn & Suites miami airport, but since have found complaints regarding housekeeping standards & security.

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