I can finally post about my upcoming VACATION with my hubby. It was a surprise for his birthday, but I had to tell him because I began to worry that he would plan work meetings or have other obligations that may throw a wrench in our vacation, so I let him know. And now I can post how exactly I pulled this off on a shoestring!
This Thursday we are heading (just hubby and I) to Clearwater Beach for 3 nights/4 days. I began planning a few months ago and worked really hard to save as much $ as possible. I’m very lucky to have such wonderful family & friends to come over and stay with my 4 kiddos. Saving the babysitter/nanny expense alone is a HUGE savings. That was the first of the plans-making sure I had enough babysitters to cover 4 full days.
Next, I had my hubby open a Groupon account. He had never done this because I have my own. But I told him he needed to have his own in case he wanted to buy ME something without me knowing. However, I knew he would not use the account. lol. My REAL motive was to see if I could pay for this whole trip using Groupon Money that didn’t result from my blog referrals. A completely separate account, to show you all that this can be done by anyone!! We (Ok, I) opened his Groupon Account on November 1st. When you sign up for Groupon, you can sign in and grab a referral link. If you post Groupon deals on Facebook or Twitter or email them to friends, you want to use your referral link. If someone uses your link to sign up for Groupon-you get $10 Groupon dollars to spend once they make their first Groupon purchase! So-I started referring. I posted some deals on his Facebook Page and my personal Facebook page, plus through emails. I put the referral link as a signature in my personal email account, so anytime I sent out or responded to an email, it was in my signature line. This way, I was not being pushy, but the link was there in my signature line and if someone was interested, they clicked, and I would possibly get a referral ($10) out of that! My sister also began helping me out. I would send her a good deal in her area, and she would forward it to her friends that lived in her area as well. The referral money started adding up! And I kept peeking at all of the Groupon deals in my city and surrounding cities as well.
Then-a GREAT Groupon popped up:
$40 for an $80 Credit to Priceline. It was now November 29th and in one month I had already racked up 10 referrals-so I had $100 to spend! I spent $40 and purchased the Priceline deal. What a great start! A few weeks went by.
And ANOTHER GREAT Groupon had popped up:
$245 for a Three-Day/Two Night Stay, Two 25-Minute Spa Services, and Dining for Two at Safety Harbor Resort and Spa (up to $501 value). It was now January 15th and I had $210 in referral money in my Groupon Account ! I grabbed that Groupon – it costed me only $35 out of pocket!! SCORE!
I then continued to refer-I was determined to pay for as many dinners, activities, etc with Groupons, Coupons, or anything to save as much $ as possible. I also turned to a few other daily deal sites-I signed hubby up for Eversave and Living Social. If a SUPER deal would pop up I would share it on my personal facebook page or email family / friends to let them know. The referrals were slow, but they added up! I kept an eye on the Clearwater/Tampa area deals on Eversave, Living Social, and Groupon!
Over the next two months I was able to purchase using the referrals :
(4) Movie tickets – that will cover 2 nights of entertainment while we are there!
(4) restaurant deals – that will cover 4 meals, plus we get a free breakfast from the hotel on Sunday
I cashed in the Priceline Groupon and was able to get a one night RESORT stay on Clearwater BEACH for $50 out of pocket. This will cover our first night, then we will head to the resort.
We plan to bring our breakfast foods, snacks, and drinks with us (there is a fridge in our Suite). Of course these items will be purchased from PUBLIX using coupons to lower our out of pocket!!
The final expense we have is GAS. Tampa/Clearwater is about 2hrs from us. Although I will not be getting FREE Gas (darn) I will be purchasing the gas cards at Publix on Thursday morning to save 20%. Beginning Thursday, use the in-ad coupon to save $10 off a $50 gas card. You do have to purchase $25 in groceries to get this deal, however I will be couponing and smart shopping to get my total to $25 before coupons, and if my transactions go correctly, I will pay $5 for the food/groceries-which will be the food we take with us on vacation.
Total Out of Pocket:
3 day/2 night resort stay + 1 brunch and 2 massages: $35
1 night hotel stay on Clearwater Beach: $50
(2) $50 Gas Cards: $80
Breakfast/snacks purchased prior : $20 (estimating)
Fishing gear/supplies: $25
Final Cost: $210
This definitely took some serious planning and dedication, but it is SO worth it. We will have a great time and don’t have to worry about breaking the bank. Plus-I may actually be able to afford a shopping trip or two while we are there! My purpose of this post is to encourage all of you. You can do this too! I just love the way Groupon, Eversave, and the other companies are set up. We can post the referral link on Facebook or in an email-it’s so easy. And you don’t need to be pushy or a salesman to get your friends/family to buy. The deals are so AWESOME on these sites, once they see the $ they save, they buy!