Judge how you will, for nearly a year we made it a point to tune in to the MasterChef series over dinner.
This has sparked some culinary interest within my 9-year-old daughter and she is pretty well convinced that Gordon Ramsey is the best chef in the world.
She recently day dreamed aloud about one day savoring his signature Beef Wellington. From where we live, the closest opportunity would be in Las Vegas.
This snowballed into a wild hair to take my budding chef on a little trip to Sin City at some point in the distant future. After crunching the numbers, I decided it would be good to save up and give each child their own private excursion on their big 2-digit birthday milestone.
But, alas, as I delivered this news to my gifted child, she politely reminded me that she was not in fact turning 9 this year, that she was already 9 and would be taking me up on the whole fantastic trip idea for her 10th birthday…NEXT MONTH.
(Foolish parent. Always double-check the birth year)
So it looks like we are going to Vegas in four short weeks, which brings about the hard lesson from today’s associated trip booking activities.
I’ll get to the point quickly:
I spent 3 HOURS researching and finagling the best possible deals for our hotel and Cirque du Soleil show. In all, I saved MAYBE $100.
This doesn’t count the time I spent identifying which of the eight Cirque du Soleil shows we wanted to see (going for the original: Mystere) and the lengthy decision around whether to go for a budget hotel or really pull out the stops and stay in a decent Casino (went for Treasure Island rather than the strip Travelodge).
Nope. I spent those three hours comparing online and over-the-phone pricing for the show from six different sources, finding a discount promo code for Vegas.com, finding and purchasing a Vegas.com gift card at 10% off to make the purchase with, and then comparing rates for Treasure Island on just about every major hotel booking site and through all of their various “specials”.
At first, I was quite proud of the deals I pulled together.
Then it hit me: This only equates to $33/hour and I have plenty of work waiting for me at much higher rates.
It’s just second nature to continue to “invest” in the deal (one never plans to take three hours making the magic happen, either).
Frugal habits die hard (with the exception of couponing, which went out the window at the soonest justifiable moment).
I can’t really say it won’t happen again either.
Frugality is an addictive lifestyle – I simply wouldn’t feel good about paying retail. The hard fought deal reinforces the illogical time expenditure with a sense of pride…perhaps leading to a miserly future.