When Being Cheap Backfires – My Hotel Mistake

When Being Cheap Backfires - My Hotel MistakeWe are currently on another road trip to Colorado. We are attempting to climb and summit a few mountains, but we also want to explore different areas we may want to move to.

Since we have been going on so many trips lately, I have been looking for different ways to save money. I am a personal finance blogger after all, so that only makes sense.

So, I found a place the other day. We have been booking everything as we go, and since it was Labor Day weekend, nearly everything was already sold out or extremely overpriced. I found a hotel for $80 a night, and we only wanted to stay there for two nights. Our total damage was $160.

It was a great price when compared to the other places I found in the area for Labor Day weekend.

However, the cheap price was the only good thing about this place. Below are some of the bad things about this place:

  • The room smelled very bad. Like a dead person… I wish I was exaggerating but it is the truth. We couldn’t breathe because it was so bad and at one point I even had to put my shirt over my nose.
  • The room next door had their door wide open. My dog almost ran inside, so I peaked in and I was horrified. It was filled almost to the ceiling with trash bags and garbage. There was also a crazy pile of shoes that was around four feet high and six feet wide.
  • There was a blood stain and splatters about a foot wide on the carpet right in the middle of our room. It was impossible to miss.
  • There were multiple hairs all over the bed and on the pillows. This means nothing was washed or cleaned when we went in.
  • There were BIG stains all over the bed. Talk about wanting to barf everywhere.
  • The fridge in the room had food stains all over it. It was absolutely disgusting.
  • The pillows were stained yellow.
  • There were multiple brown stains on the wall.
  • The door and window both did not lock. This was scary considering I would be working from the room a lot alone since Wes had plans to do other things.
  • We saw several other people enter their room, only to leave seconds later and not come back.
  • They claimed they had good wifi, but there was not a single person at the hotel and I still couldn’t get a single thing to load. Keep in mind this is important because I work from my laptop.
  • They also claimed they were pet friendly, but when we arrived I noticed that there was no grass. When I asked the person at the front desk, she said there was a park just right around the corner that we could go to with no problem. Well, it turned out the park was four looooong blocks down a busy street and there was no sidewalk there. This meant I had to walk four blocks down a busy street with two dogs and then cross this busy street where there were no sidewalks (not even a curb), streetlights, stop signs, or anything. That is just too dangerous and mean for me to do to my dogs multiple times a day.
  • Lastly, someone claimed they saw a ghost in their room and they panicked. Haha this still makes me laugh but it made me wonder what kind of crazy people were at this hotel.

Wow, it’s just scary writing about everything we saw in the one hour we were there.

We checked in, left to grab something to eat, got back to the room and immediately started finding another place to stay.

At first, I was extremely upset that I prepaid for this place. However, since this was a “vacation,” staying in a place where we literally wanted to throw up just wasn’t going to work.

When Being Cheap Backfires - My Hotel Mistake

Imagine something similar to this, except the bed was “made.”

I found another hotel and booked it as soon as I could. I then walked into the front desk to the gross hotel we were at and checked out immediately.

And this is how being cheap backfired on me. I didn’t want to spend an extra $50 a day in order to stay somewhere “normal” and instead I ended up wasting $160 and a few hours because we couldn’t bare to stay in that hotel for more than a few hours.

I know there are others who are fine with staying anywhere and they only care about having a place to sleep, but I just could not do it. I thought about it for a slight second just because of the money I’d be wasting, but then I realized how crazy that sounded.

Luckily enough, the person checking me in at the next hotel asked where we just came from and how our day was. I explained our horrific story and how I was so glad that they had room for us at their much better hotel. He said he could NOT BELIEVE where we came from and that he knew we must have been horrified because we were actually not the first person who did the exact same thing we did (check in at the bad hotel, only to leave and go to his hotel). He then said he added a discount to our stay and that it was no problem. I told him he didn’t need to but he insisted. Isn’t that awesome?!

Anyway, here are my tips to avoid making a costly mistake like I just did:

 

Read the reviews.

I am a serial review reader, so I can honestly say that I read numerous reviews about this hotel. The reviews weren’t the greatest, but it sounded like a lot of people were just used to luxury hotels so I ignored them.

OH MY GOD was that a huge mistake.

From now on, I will always trust bad reviews, especially when there are a ton of them.

 

Compare the pricing.

The other hotels in the area were about $50 more per night. I thought I didn’t want to spend that, so that was the main reason we booked the BAD BAD BAD hotel.

In the end, the $50 extra per night was well worth it.

We received a clean room, a fantastic dog walking area and even a trail along a river to walk our dogs, fast wi-fi, breakfast in the mornings that was actually good, good customer service, and more. We also feel much safer here.

 

Think about how badly you want to save money.

I thought that since it was only two days, that I wouldn’t really care about how cheap the place was. I thought for $80, that the hotel couldn’t possibly be THAT bad, because $80 still isn’t dirt cheap. Considering I’ve stayed in nice hotels in the Caribbean and Florida for around $100 a night, I thought an $80 hotel would be somewhere near average.

Nope, I was wrong. I couldn’t make it an hour so there was no way I would have been able to make it two days.

I didn’t want the savings that bad and I realized that once we arrived at the hotel. This hotel should have been no where near $80 a night. I think it should have been one of those $29.95 highway motels that I often see.

 

Has being cheap backfired on you recently? How much money did you lose?

 

Images via Flickr by TaxRebate.org.uk and Nitram242

September Goals and Life Update – I’m Ready For Fall

September Goals and Life Update

It was National Dog Day the other day, so here’s an old picture of my pup and my laptop. Some of my favorite things in life!

Hello everyone and happy Friday!

This month’s goals update is a little early, but I figured I’d get a somewhat early start and think about my goals sooner rather than later.

Even though August isn’t over yet, it has been a good month so far. Nothing really happened this month. It was a relaxing month and I’m always all for that.

I’m more excited for September though. We have two trips planned for September, and the weather will be much nicer than August. I also love fall and the clothing that goes along with it. I’m ready for boots and sweaters!

It’s been a VERY hot month for St. Louis so far.

With the heat index, the temperature has been around 110 to 120 degrees each day for much of this month. Pairing the hot weather with the disgusting humidity that St. Louis has, it means I haven’t been outside too often lately.

Because we have been experiencing sticky and disgusting weather in St. Louis lately, we have been dreaming of Colorado even more.

We are still thinking about moving there within the next few years. We want to visit some of the cities we may be interested in again in the winter months. While we love the summer months in Colorado, I’m a little afraid that I will not like the winter. Anyone from Colorado want to share their opinion of what they think of the winter months?

August Goals Update

  1. Make $13,000 in business income. PASS. I had another good month. I’m not sure yet if I will beat last month’s income, but it was a good one. Read last month’s post $14,937 in July Business Income if you haven’t yet. August’s business report will be out sometime next week.
  2. Work out 2 times a week. FAIL. This has been nonexistent. We have been eating very well though.
  3. Walk 10 miles on a trail once a week. FAIL. This has been nonexistent as well.

 

 

September Goals

  1. Make $13,000 in business income. I’m keeping this the same. We are going on two trips in September so I’m not sure what will happen.
  2. Work out 2 times a week. I just can’t get back on the workout wagon to save my life it seems like.
  3. Work on passive income ideas. One area we have really been slacking in is passive income. I want to create an action plan to jump start this. If you have passive income, what do you do? What do you recommend?
  4. Work ahead on MakingSenseofCents posts. One thing I am very bad with is writing ahead of time for posts on this blog. I would like to get at least a few weeks ahead, with one day hopefully being a month or more ahead of schedule. I do have a question for all of you – What topics would you like me to cover? Are there any products you would like me to review?
  5. Have fun at FinCon! FinCon is this month. I can’t wait! I went last year and it was well worth it. This year it’s in New Orleans so I know it will be crazy… Are you going?

 

How did you do in August? What is your main goal for September?

What are your plans for the long weekend?

 

Easy Ways I’m Currently Saving $1,200 Each Month

Easy Ways I'm Currently Saving $1,200 Each MonthLately, we’ve been trying to save as much money as we realistically can.

We’re not doing anything too crazy, but we are trying to make a few lifestyle changes so we are not frivolously wasting money that doesn’t need to be spent.

We are mainly trying to save money so that we can put a large down payment on our next home. We also want to start investing more heavily and take more trips.

We’re saving money in many other different ways besides just the ones below. However, the ones below are areas we are primarily trying to work on and they equal a total savings of around $1,200 a month right now.

 

We’re eating out less.

I’ve talked about this in the past, but I’ve never really dived into this topic too deep because I’ve been ashamed. While we are spending no where near the ridiculous amounts of money that we used to spend on going out to eat, just a few months ago we were still not doing very well.

I estimate we are currently saving around $500 a month by not eating out as much over just a few months ago.

We have been able to cut down on eating out less by eating at home as much as we can. Of course that would be the case, but it’s really been meal planning and less food waste that has really helped us cut down on our food spending.

We now shop with a grocery list and stick to the grocery list as much as we can. We have no where near the amount of food waste we used to have. I believe I once read a statistic that said the average family throws away around 40% of the food they buy.

That’s a TON of food waste!

 

We’re cleaning out our pantry.

Our pantry and cabinets are nearly bare because of this one. We have been making meals out of the food products we already had in our pantry. I was sick of our pantry continually building up more and more. We had cans and boxes of food filled in our cabinets, so I made it our mission to finally start eating everything.

I’m sure some of you are laughing at this, but I know there are a LOT of you out there who are guilty of this as well.

At one point I believe we had around 5 different packages of spaghetti noodles in our pantry. That didn’t include the other 10 different kinds of pasta noodles we had in there as well. We also had cans of vegetables and everything else in there. It was ridiculous and it seemed like it was never ending.

Now though, I believe we only have a few cans left and we actually have NO pasta left. It’s like a whole new world here!

I believe we have probably saved around $100 by doing cleaning out our pantry. Seems like a lot but we had a lot of food in there, and I’m sure you do as well.

 

We have a fuel efficient car.

Last month, we got rid of our Camaro and traded it in for a 2015 Subaru Legacy. The Legacy was more affordable and it gets twice as good gas mileage, which is amazing.

We were tired of having two cars that only got 15 miles to the gallon (our other car is a Jeep Wrangler), so we decided to trade in the Camaro.

This switch has been saving us around $350 per month already.

We are about to go on another road trip, and driving the Subaru will save us around $400 on this trip alone. That is a GREAT amount in savings.

 

We’re thinking about cutting out our cable completely.

This is one we haven’t fully done yet, but we did recently lower our cable package. We cut some channels out and were able to save $20 each month. If we were to cut it further, we could save around an extra $40 a month.

The reason why we are thinking about cutting our cable is because we hardly ever watch it now that we have Netflix. We signed up for Netflix around two months ago and haven’t really watched anything else.

This means a potential overall savings of around $50 a month from cutting our cable and adding Netflix to our lives.

 

I’m on a unexpected clothing fast.

I haven’t been trying to lower my clothing spending, it just happened. I honestly can’t even remember the last time I bought any clothing for myself. I’m going to guess that it’s been around 5 months.

I’ve been to the mall a few times, but nothing ever seems to work so I just haven’t bought anything. Also, working from home means I’ve been a little lazy when it comes to finding fun outfits to wear.

I’m going to guess that this unplanned clothing fast has saved me around $200 each month.

Oh yeah, and I also sold some clothing the other day and made $40. I plan on also donating around 6 bags full of clothing as well. WOOHOO!

 

How are you currently trying to save money?

How much money do you think you save each month?