Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Saving and making money on vacation

As you may know over spring break we went to Myrtle Beach and stayed at the Marriott OceanWatch Villas. The villa's floor plan was wonderful. It had a kitchen, dining area, living room, master bedroom with a master bath and another bedroom with 2 queen size beds that attached to a bathroom. The balcony overlooked both the pool and the beach. It was a spectacular view. This was courtesy of my Step-Mother who owns several timeshare weeks through Marriott. We were asked to pay her annual maintenance fee for the week.

Estimated savings for the accommodations: $400.00

During the trip to and from Myrtle Beach we stayed at a Fairfield Inn. I used some rewards points from my Marriott Rewards Card to get a free room each way. The night going down we had a fairly nice room. However the night heading home the room was not good at all. That is all I'm going to say here. Marriott has been properly admonished for the quality of that room.

Savings for the travel accommodations: $218.00

We ate all of our meals at the villa while in Myrtle Beach. We had planned on going out one night to a seafood buffet but I called several restaurants and asked how much their buffet cost. The average was $23.50. For six people we were looking at $141.00. We decided to ask everyone what their favorite meat based meal was and headed to the store. That evening's dinner prepared back at the resort came to $58.26. I had steak cooked on the grill. mmmm good. Groceries were about $300.00 the estimate for eating out [breakfast $90.00, lunch $165.00, dinner $285.00]

Estimated savings from eating in instead of out for the entire week: $240.00

Most of the grocery shopping was done at a very conveniently located Kroger. The first day in Myrtle Beach we went grocery shopping and noticed that quite a few sale items need a preferred customer card in order to receive the sale price. So I went to the service desk and asked how to obtain a card. They gave me a visitors version of the card to use while in town.

Savings just for asking for the card: $31.18

We were curious how much a Marriott timeshare costs so we decided to spend 90 minutes and listen to the sales pitch. A perk to listening to the sales pitch was a $75.00 gift certificate for some local restaurants. After setting up the appointment and arriving for the sales meeting we were told that since we were staying on the property already that they had upgraded our gift to $100 in Visa gift cards. Cool!

Earnings for attending the timeshare sales appointment: $100.00

Total "income" for the week: $989.18. Wow that number is a shocker. I'm pleasantly surprised by how high it is.

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