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?

 

Living In A 200 Square Foot Tiny House – Could You Do It?

Living In A 200 Square Foot Tiny House - Could You Do It?When we first moved out when we were 18, we moved into a very small house.

It was extremely small at around 400 square feet (less than that if you don’t count the basement), but it was cheap, had a backyard and was located very close to the college I was about to start attending.

Also as a reminder, last year Jordann also posted about how she used to live in a 400 square foot house.

I recently became interested in tiny homes again when I was watching a documentary on Netflix (we’re starting to find cable less and less worthwhile) called Tiny: A Story About Living Small. This documentary followed a man building his very own tiny home, and the documentary also showed others who lived in their own tiny homes.

I find tiny homes very interesting. They make great use of their space, they are usually very cute, and they are very affordable. Even with the positives below though, I don’t think it’s something I could do.

For me, the negatives greatly outweigh the positives. I think we could do something smaller than what we currently have, but 200 square feet is just too extreme for me.

Below are the positives and negatives of living in a tiny house:

 

Pro: Your housing expenses will be cheaper.

The average tiny home costs less than $30,000 to build. That includes the exterior and interior of the home. That is very cheap! That is much cheaper than the average home.

However, I do think you have to remember about where you are going to place this tiny home. Yes, you can buy land for cheap, but land can also be very expensive in other areas.

Your home will also be cheaper in that your utility bills will be cheaper. It’s much cheaper to heat or cool down a 200 square foot house than a 2,000 square foot house.

Repairs, maintenance and replacements will also most likely be much cheaper in a tiny home.

 

Con: I think it would be difficult with children and pets.

We don’t have children yet, but we would like to have them in the future. With all of the people I’ve seen and read about who live in tiny homes, I don’t think there’s been a single one who had children or pets.

I think it would just be very difficult with a family. People need their space… Or, maybe that’s just me?

However, I think if it were just one or two people living in a tiny home, then it would probably be much more doable. When we lived in our 400 square foot house (let’s keep in mind that we haven’t lived there in a very long time), it wasn’t completely bad. The size didn’t really bother us at all at the time. I think it really helped that there were multiple small rooms to escape too, and there was also a front and backyard and porch.

 

Pro: You’ll spend less money on material items.

I am a bit of a hoarder. Just ask Wes and he will probably want to cry just thinking about how much stuff I have.

My closet is jam packed to the ceiling with stuff, and then I also have things in the guest bedroom and in our basement.

Moving into a tiny home would probably be a lifesaver in that I would be forced to think about each purchase I make. Since there’s only so much room in a tiny home, you will buy fewer items.

 

Con: Having guests over won’t be comfortable.

I remember watching in the documentary when the main person being filmed had guests over.

He invited his family over to see the home he just built and it was extremely cramped. It was almost like everyone had to bend over in order for their to be room for everyone.

Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t throw raging parties or anything, but I would like the option of having people over when I can. This is especially true since we plan on moving to a new state and we would like people to visit us occasionally.

 

Living In A 200 Square Foot Tiny House - Could You Do It?Pro: You may be able to bring the tiny house when traveling.

Okay, this doesn’t apply to every single tiny house, but there are some that are small enough where you can actually travel with it.

You can bring your tiny home to where you want it to be, and you may even be able to do some road trips in it as well.

This makes the list of possible places to live pretty much endless.

 

Con: Not a lot of personal space.

This is no surprise. They are called tiny homes for a reason. According to the documentary, tiny homes are homes that are 200 square feet or less. That is extremely small.

That’s smaller than my bedroom, and my bedroom is not huge by any means.

Since I work from home 24/7 now, I would like to have more space since I’m at home more. I think I would get a little crazy if I was in the same exact room hour after hour, day after day.

 

Would you ever live in a tiny home? Why or why not? How small could you go?

How big is your home currently?

 

Also, if you live in a tiny home (less than 250 square feet preferably), I’d love to hear from you and possibly conduct an interview for this blog. Please send me an email if you are interested.

 

Images all via Flickr by Tammy Strobel