FUNemployment in Action: The Southeast

Published December 28, 2015 by Funemployment Princess

Hey guys – I have to admit, I’m quite proud of myself for writing this post less than two months after the trip took place.  To catch you new readers up, I started this blog back when I didn’t have a full-time job, and was balancing a few different part-time gigs, many of which didn’t involve looking at a computer all day.  Now that 90% of my time is spent in front of a screen, I find coming on to write in my spare-time difficult.  But I know there’s that 0.00000000000004% of the people reading this that enjoy my dumb humor, so this is for you!

Last month, the boyfriend and I (oh yea, I have a boyfriend now – I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned him before.  Let’s just call him Chipmunk) went on vacation together.  Which was a big thing for a few reasons: first being it was our first couple-trip together, and second, I had already done my big vaca back in July, so doing a 2nd one within the year was a new financial challenge for me.  But I’m awesome, and figured it out😉

Ok, back to the point (kind of).  Chipmunk and I had planned to go to Walt Disney World and Miami in Florida.  It was supposed to be a week trip where we’d go to Disney, Universal, and then off to this zoo in Miami where you can play with large animals like tigers and jaguars (don’t believe me?  Skip down below!).

Round-trip flight in-and-out of Fort Lauderdale, pick-up and drop-off the car at the same airport, easy-peasy, right?  Well, it’s me, and I can never resist a good deal!  One day, I’m at work and my coworker announces that JetBlue is having a sale: $31 one-way flights if you leave on 10/31 (which was just 4-days before our original flight was scheduled for).  I knew Chipmunk had friends living in North and South Carolina, and JetBlue had flights heading to both Charlotte and Charleston.  (SIDEBAR: I’m bringing this up because to this day, my mother still has no idea where I was.  Charlotte is in NORTH Carolina, Charleston is in SOUTH Carolina.  They are different places, hours apart!)

I gave Chipmunk .2-seconds to decide (because I already knew we were doing it, but you know, you’ve got to let your guy think his input matters ;P ) that we’d extend our trip and start-off in Charleston so he could see his friends and we could see more states we’ve never been to!  Now, if this was a travel blog, I’d go day-by-day, minute-by-minute describing our trip.  But since this is more about how we saved money while vacationing, I’ll just give you a quick rundown of the trip before going into money-saving tips:

  • 10/31 – 11/2: Charleston, SC –> Halloween, tour of a haunted warship, plantations, aquarium, lots of food!
  • 11/3: drive to Orlando, stop in Savannah, GA on the way –> walk around town, prettiest street in america, a big tree, lots of food!
  • 11/3-11/7: Orlando, FL –> catch-up with a friend, both Universal Studios, Magic Kingdom, Epcot + Food & Wine Festival 2x, Hollywood Studios
  • 11/7-11/10: Miami, FL –> nice date night, visit to the zoo to play with baby tigers, pool and beach

On to the point of this post: ways to save money during adventures and activities!  This trip was a bit tougher than past ones – Chipmunk and I had never been together for more than a few days at a time, so I didn’t want to scare him with my travel-craziness.  Plus, there’s some things friends like to do that couples don’t (for example, barhopping is something more to do with friends, rather than just your significant other), so the planning process was a bit different.  Here are some ways we saved money but still had a great time!



I’ve posted about AirBnB before – it’s a great way to stay in a city and not spend a fortune on sleeping accommodations.  If you’re like me, when you go on vacation, all you really need is a bed to sleep in and a shower to keep clean.  AirBnB is perfect; you can find an affordable place in a location that fits your needs.  Something new I did with this trip was look to rent a Private Room instead of an Entire Place.  The Entire Place provides you the privacy and security that a hotel room offers; a Private Room is more-or-less like a dorm room: you rent a room within a house or apartment, and share the entire space with a host or another guest.  Normally, I’d never consider this, especially if I was travelling alone or just with females (I’m a horrible feminist; I feel like I need a male there in order to feel safe in this situation, just let me be on it), but since Chipmunk was with me, I felt confident with this choice.  For Charleston and the first 2-nights in Orlando, I found us Private Rooms where we’d have access to our own bathrooms.  Total cost?  $303 for 5-nights!  That’s just over $60 per night!  We had queen-size beds, our own bathrooms, and the hosts never bothered us at all.  There was parking at each place, fresh towels, and they even provided us toiletries in the bathrooms.  It was all we needed and helped us save money!  Go search Priceline for hotels in either place, and see the difference in cost.  Go ahead, I’ll wait…….see!  As long as you read the reviews on AirBnB and make sure it has the accommodations you actually need, a Private Room is a wonderful way to go!

AIRBNB pt 2:

I knew Miami was going to be the tough city to save money.  It’s kind of like NYC but on the water – aka, it costs a lot!  AirBnB came to the rescue again, but this time, instead of a Private Room, we rented a…wait for it…boat!  Yup, there’s more than just traditional locations on AirBnB.  They have treehouses, private islands, teepees, vans, and yes, even boats!  We found a cute 2-person boat in a marina just south of the main part of Miami.  It had great reviews and only cost $381 for 3-nights.  I know, you’re thinking that’s a lot, but go research some of the 5-star, beach-side hotels Miami has to offer, or even the inland 3-star ones, and then I’ll say “I told you so”😛  We really wanted to be by the water, but opted for ON the water instead.  It was amazingggg (ok, minus that the shower is over the toilet, which broke.  But the marina had a shower and toilet, and for 3-nights, it was totally fine!)


Here’s a little secret from me to my fellow New Yorkers: Uber is an incredibly cheap option if you take it anywhere else besides in New York City!  Yes, taking it at 4pm from Midtown to Chelsea will cost you $50.  But taking it anywhere else in the world, for the same distance, at the same time of day, will cost you maybe $10 tops…maybe!  Knowing this fact, I opted to get rid of our rental car while in Orlando.  Because we were no longer flying in-and-out of the same airport, the cost of the rental car increased since the pick-up and drop-off locations were changing.  When doing the math, I found we could save over $70 if we returned the Charleston car as soon as we arrived in Orlando, and picked up a new car on the way to Miami.  This saved us the rental fee, gas, parking fees, tips for any valets, and more.  Instead, we had to spend a few bucks on some Ubers to get to and from some parks and the gym.  Because we weren’t in a city like New York, our Ubers totaled maybe $22.  Of course, you have to see if the hassle of returning the car and picking another one up is worth it.  Well, the drop-off location was across the street from Universal, and the pick-up was 2-miles away from our Disney hotel so… totally worth it to save the $70!


As you get older (because for this part, I’m going to pretend you’re a teen I’m giving advice to you), you realize how importation relationships and connecting with people are.  This trip helped affirm that belief.  To begin with, when I told my mother of the trip, she recalled that we still had Disney park passes from the last time we went (umm, 2001?  2002?).  I emailed and called with Disney, and discovered the 2 passes still had 1-day, park-hopper passes on them that were valid!  This saved us $330!  Secondly, I’m fortunate enough to have a friend in Orlando who was able to score me 2 free tickets through his job to Universal Studios with a park-to-park pass for Islands of Adventures.  This was another $300 in savings!  (Of course, don’t be rude – send a thank you gift, or take your friend to dinner in return.  Plus, it was great to finally catch-up with him outside of a work environment!!)  Lastly, Chipmunk’s parents have a timeshare they graciously let us use, which scored us 2 free nights at a Disney World resort, thus saving us even more money!  Oh wait, a different lastly: when I began planning this trip, I had reached out to a PR-friend of mine about connections in Miami for a hotel.  While the prices didn’t work out through that, one of the connects offered Chipmunk and I passes to the pool at her hotel, which was the absolute perfect ending to our trip and only cost us the drinks I ordered!


Overall, the trip was a success (Chipmunk and I didn’t kill each other and had a great time!) and we managed to save money where we could.  I’m not really sure where this trip ranks in regards to total-cost compared to my previous trips.  I do know it was a few hundred more than I had hoped for, but that could also be because we splurged at the zoo in Miami and went with the $300 Feline Encounter option instead of the $120 choice, which only got you a photo with the baby tiger instead of playing with it for 20+ minutes.  I also discovered boys eat more than girls, so the whole splitting 1-entree I’m able to do with my female-friend in order to save money on dinner didn’t really work with the boyfriend LOL but the food was just so yummy, I was ok with it🙂 Here are a few photo highlights from the adventures –

Tea Plantation in Charleston:


Famous willow-tree in Charleston:


One of the most-photographed streets in Savannah:


Fun at Disney:

341  427  389

Boat and Zoo in Miami:

436   463   577

642   701   734




Funemployment Tips:

Published May 20, 2015 by Funemployment Princess

Hello all and happy spring🙂 I have to say – spring is definitely my favorite season.  It’s just warm enough where you can wear jeans, a shirt and sandals, but not too hot where I’m embarrassingly suffering from some serious swampass and thunder & lightning (aka my thighs) are chaffing from me wearing shorts (was that TMI??  sowwy :X).

Spring is also when I start to get out and adventure more, especially around New York City after work.  There’s so much to do outdoors in the spring and summer, from markets, to concerts in the park, to random street fairs.  One thing I love to do is get out and hit up a nice happy hour at an outdoor bar, preferably with food involved.  I love to eat!  (Did the nicknames I’ve given my own legs because of their mass from food not imply that already?😉 )  Unfortunately, eating out in NYC can be a pain for a few reasons (yes, I’m going to list them):

  1. Crowds – New York City’s population grows every year, but guess what, it’s a friggin island – the area is not getting any bigger here people.  In fact, Mother Nature has given a big evil ha-ha laugh in our faces, and throws natural disasters at us like global warming and Hurricane Sandy to eventually decrease the size of NYC.  Growing Populations + Steady/Decreasing Land = every single one of the 50,000+ restaurants have a wait time when it turns 7pm and you’re turning hangry.
  2. Prices – Because the demand is so high (since you know it’s an island, you’re kinda stuck sometimes), and because it’s NYC, so everything has to cost more anyways, the prices of eating out can suck.
  3. There’s more…didn’t pass health inspectors, rats in the basement, sketchy cook adding some “spices” you didn’t request when you simply asked if the food would be out soon…but the focus of this post is only points #1 and #2, and since it’s my blog, I do what I want😛

Now, people who know me in real life (yes, I have friends) know I absolutely hate waiting.  Especially if I’m hangry, when you better have more than just a snickers to hold me over!  My friends…and family…and co-workers…well and anyone who’s ever met me also knows I’m a planner.  I want the time, place, dress code, longitude/latitude coordinates in advance.  Additionally, as much as I try to budget my life out (wait, isn’t that what my whole blog is about?? eek), sometimes, it fails.  So that’s why I’m always on the hunt for a deal, some way to make the things I love to do just cost less.

And this my readers (??) is where we come to the point: baby!  I used to make fun of my dad for always using this website, but as dumb as the man is, he’s actually kind of right on with this system (just don’t tell him I admitted to that!).  With, I can make a reservation for my meal outing, which helps calm my nerves about point #1.  Every reservation that I keep I earn points.  I can then trade those points in for what’s called a “Dining Cheque“.  This is a fancy way of saying I can trade in my points for free money to use towards a restaurant that participates with OpenTable!

Most reservations are only 100 points – minimum trade in is 2,000 points for a $20 Dining Cheque.  You do that math…ok, I don’t expect you to think here, I’ll do it for you: that means I’d have to visit 20 restaurants to earn enough points for a silly $20 savings.  Not really worth it, right?

No, no…come back here!  I didn’t lie to you – calm down, breathe, namaste…you good?  Ok, here’s the cherry-on-top moment of epiphany: OpenTable has what’s called 1,000-point reservations.  Each day, certain restaurants offer 1,000-point times.  This means, if you choose a reservation time that the restaurant has designated as 1,000-points, you earn 10x the points in 1 trip, so you only have to visit 2 restaurants (each at 1,000-point times) to earn your reward!

See!  There’s always a way to work the system, and I did not lead you astray with that false hope there (if I did, I apologize…ish).  Plus, you can use as many Dining Cheques as you like in a visit, which if you hoard them oculd mean a free meal!  It also helps when part of your job is schmoozing people on the company’s tab: they foot the bill, you get the points and Dining Cheques!  Not that I do that….hiya boss!  ;D  That’s getting off point though…back on track…in the end, a little bit of planning can go a long way!  So log on, decide ahead of time where to go, pick a place with a 1,000-point time, and take your swampass out this sunny springy weekend!



Funemployment Tips: Gift Cards

Published January 5, 2015 by Funemployment Princess

Happy 2015 everyone🙂 Can you believe it?  I still have this damn thing.  Not sure why…oh well!

Today’s funemployment tip comes from the holidays.  I’ve gotten gift cards as presents…ok, ok – I’ve returned things I’ve been given for various reasons (:D) and have received merchandise credit and gift cards in exchange.  Some people consider gift cards to be a nuisance – store-specific ones limit you to that store (duh), and Visa and Amex only work if you know exactly how much is on them…but I think these people need to rethink how they think about gift cards…and about how many times I used the word “think” in that sentence.  Gift cards can be a blessing in disguise to save you money on some of the simplest things.  You just need to think outside the box regarding what the store sells.

For example, I returned an item to Best Buy, and the nice Geek Squader gave me a gift card so that I could use it online.  Well, after purchasing the complete Gilmore Girls series (I know, you’re jealous – it arrives next week.  I’m excited!!), I still have about $80 left on the gift card.  Since the gift card is store-specific (hmmm new venture: stores provide Amex gift cards instead??), I’m limited to electronics, movies, and dishwashers.  I’m kind of limited on how many dishwashers I can have, and I just got into Amazon Prime, plus, $80 won’t even buy me 5 letters on a MacBook, so most people would say I’m stuck in a pickle with this gift card.  Nope, not me!  I ain’t stuck, but I sure as hell will eat a pickle (went to Epstein’s last week for dinner…yummmmmyyy).  Best Buy sells some random items you may not think of – water, soda, coffee, random beauty products like hair dryers, and so much more!  So if you want to save your cash, or not rack up your credit card bill, and you’re in desperate need of a bottle of water before you hit the gym because you promised yourself New Year New You in 2015(coughcoughbullshitcoughcough), you can head to Best Buy and use your gift card to buy as many bottles of water as your heart desires!  Or just buy 1 for now, and be eco-friendly – most gyms have a water fountain where you can refill it🙂

I also made a return to Old Navy – now this is THE place to find random shit!!  I’ve purchased phone cases, water, candy, piggy banks, and so much more because I’ve had gift cards and not wanted any of the clothing in there.  Of course, there is always the obvious option of saving the gift card until you find clothing you really want – but I’ve done this, and have forgotten to use the dang gift card during my next purchase.  It can be a vicious cycle -_-

So, in conclusion, don’t be hating on the gift card.  Just be smarter about how you use it.  Why go to Starbucks and spend $6 of your own money on an iced latte when TJ Maxx next door has the bottled coffee drinks, and no clothing you’ve wanted for the past 8 trips there, and you have a $10 store credit??  Logic people, logic!!



Funemployment Tips: Ratings & Reviews

Published October 31, 2014 by Funemployment Princess

Oh hello there!  You’ve waited nearly a year for another post…I know how sad you must’ve been logging on day in and day out and seeing that I absolutely suck as a blogger🙂 this is a topic I’ve been thinking a lot of.  And I usually think about writing it as I’m riding the train to work and then I …zzzzzzzzzlasfsdxmc lekwreoiwfhnd.  Oh, woah, sorry!  Fell asleep there.  (Train time = nap time.  #SoProductive #HashtagLife).

Ok, to the point: in my travels, I’ve found that the two most expensive parts of traveling are flights and lodging.  Flights…well, cheapest you can do is Southwest and AirTran (I don’t consider Frontier and Spirit to be airlines.  I think of them more as fee-sucking leeches).  Still, it depends on a lot of aspects you can’t control: time of year, destination, weather, cost of oil (-_-).  Lodging, however, you can work around a lot more!

I am a big fan of hostels (I think I’ve written about them in previous blog posts.  I wouldn’t know though…I don’t really read my own blog😐 ).  And this past summer, I discovered the joys of Air BnB.  A lot of people give me that puppy-dog-sideways-look when I tell them these are the types of establishments that I prefer to stay in.  They kind of scoot away as if I probably caught some weird rash I’m going to give them.  Those people, though, are idiots.  Hostels, Air BnBs, and such are perfectly safe, reasonable, inexpensive options for traveling on a budget.  You just have to be smart about them.  That’s where the point of this post comes in: Ratings & Reviews.  Do some research when you’re looking for a hostel.  Check out what rating they’ve received on multiple websites (umm, it’s called Googling – I know, a very foreign concept nowadays), and READ the comments.  I know, reading is tough – especially when you can just wait for the movie to come out.  If a hostel has a 99% approval rating, and all positive reviews, chances are it’s a safe bet.  If there’s one or two negative ratings, remember this is the Internet we’re talking about.  It’s the premier platform for people to complain.

Checking out the ratings is a good start, but I do recommend taking it one more step.  If you see a rating of 100%, but also see that only one person rated the place, I’d move on and find something else.  Now, if you see a rating of 100%, and see that a substantial amount of people have rated it (let’s say 20+ people), then you’re golden!


Well, I hope I’ve lessened your fear about staying at the random lodges of the world.  I do want to leave you with one last thought:  if you get to the place you’ve booked, and you get a gut instinct that something doesn’t feel right, leave.  Your instincts are something people should learn to follow more often.  Is it possible you may end up losing money (usually just your deposit – you can probably argue your way out of losing the entire cost), yes, but your comfort, and most importantly your safety, is much more valuable!





PS – omg, how could I have forgotten!  The Ratings & Reviews method also applies to other areas of your life, such as shopping.  For example, this past summer I needed to purchase new bedroom furniture.  Ok, well, my mother had to purchase new bedroom furniture for me🙂 Because I wanted black furniture (black, none of this espresso, brown-black nonsense!!), I had to order it offline without seeing it in person first.  I nearly cried during this process.  But I used what I had done for my Air BnB choice, and checked out the ratings and reviews of different options from trusted online sites.  I couldn’t be happier with my choice!  The furniture fits perfectly in the room, and was exactly what I was looking for!! #ThumbsUp

Funemployment Tips: It’s time for CHANGE

Published December 16, 2013 by Funemployment Princess



hello world🙂 how’s your holiday shopping going? have you spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars yet? I know I have:/ I’m also going to AC next weekend.  you may be wondering how I can afford such a trip?  ok, at this point you’re actually probably not wondering that because you know what my blog is all about.  oh, you’ve never read any of my posts before?  that doesn’t surprise me lol


ok, to the point: I’m heading to AC next weekend because (1) I have a free room, (2) I have $40 in food credit, (3) I have $125 in free play, (4) I have a BOGO buffet offer, and (5) I saved $100 in coins.  now, 1-4 you’ve heard me boast about before.  but 5 is new, and the main focus of this post (yes, I can focus :P).  I currently have 4 different piggy-banks in my room.  one collects dollars, which I use for parking.  one collects all change besides quarters (because quarters don’t fit in the opening).  the third collects $20 that I put aside for trips.  and the last one collects quarters.  well, this last one was full – I could’ve maybe added a few more quarters but honestly, it was too heavy to pick up.  so I decided it was time to bring the change to the bank.


now, I was all set to whip out the coin rolls, count out $10 at a time, and cash those suckers in.  but apparently the last time I handled loose change was 1997.  now, all I have to do is bring the change to the bank, deposit it in this cool machine which counts it up for me.  it prints out a receipt with the amount on it, which I bring to the teller who gives me the cash.  now, I’ve been saving this change for probably 2 years, so I knew there was a lot in it – maybe $50 tops, I’d be happy with.  no.  that little piggy-bank had one-hundred-fucking-dollars in it!  100 bucks has been sitting in my room, just collecting dust!  can I get a virtual high-five??? —-<  …I’m not an artist, pretend that’s a hand!


if you’re like me, you hate carrying change around.  it’s heavy, makes lots of noise, and you never have the correct amount anyways.  but don’t just throw it on the ground or give it away (don’t think I’m mean, but I don’t give beggars money.  I have food I’ll give them that, but not money).  instead, get yourself a piggy-bank.  you don’t need to be crazy OCD like me and have 4 lol but have one and throw your change in it every few days.  in 2 years, you may have a nice stack of money without even really trying, and it may come in handy when you least expect it.


Happy Holidays all!




Funemployment Tips: Walking

Published November 26, 2013 by Funemployment Princess

hello world!  I have a secret for you.  come closer.  a liiittle closer.  ok, too close if we’re eskimo kissing!  hehe to the point: there’s this simple act, somewhat of a means of transportation, that is absolutely free.  no, I don’t mean hitchhiking!  this act is legal.  want to know what it is?  i’ll tell you, but you have to promise to keep it to yourself…and the 3 other people who might read this blog.  it’s walking!  that’s right, getting off your big, fabulous booty and doing a lil two-step down the side walk.  how did I discover this? welp, simply by running into some debt lol

I know, I know…i’m supposed to be all about having fun on a budget.  well, after I purchased my car, I came across a few expenses I hadn’t planned for, and my cash flow just kind of plummeted, thus my credit card bill grew.  seeing that I was on my way to having no fun, I began to change a few things in my life.  for starters, I began to cook more on the weekend and prepare meals for the week.  I also did this because I decided I really need to get back in my healthy eating habits.  therefore, i’m doing my best to be as low carb and paleo-ish as possible.  my town has a great farmer’s market, so it’s fun to go buy fresh produce and then create something with it.  plus, since moomies buys most of the groceries😀, I’ve managed to cut my food costs as well as eat better.  secondly, I’ve put off going out every weekend.  this part really sucks – i’m single and looking, but one cannot look if one doesn’t go out lol plus, it gets soooo boring to be at home.  still, there’s certain activities coming up that i’d rather save for and go all out then have to budget to the point that i’m sneaking salad into the bar because I can’t buy fries.  so I cut back on social activity spending.

after changing the main two expenses in my life, I started to reexamine other part of my life and where I can make changes.  and what I came up with is a bit extreme, but feasible.  everyday I take the subway to and from grand central and work.  that’s $2.50 each way (if you’re not buying a single ride).  also everyday, I arrive home too tired to work out.  I don’t do well in the winter – if it’s dark out, I want to be home, in my sweatpants, having my love affair with my bed.  many see these things as just a means to get home and me being lazy.  I saw these things as an opportunity to make another change.  instead of taking the subway home from work to grand central, i’d walk the 2.5 miles.  i’d pack a change of clothes and some sneakers into my backpack (oh yea, Dora style!), and make my way through the streets of New York from Hudson St on the West to 42nd and Park on the East.  I committed myself to trying this for at least 2 weeks (so 10 workdays).  below is a photographic journal of my trials…

picstitchDay 1 – My journey started with an amazing view of the Empire State Building, as well as passing this amazing cake place!  If only I could eat the cake lol








photo (5)Day 2 – ok well Day 2 was a wash…Metro North was delayed hours so I ended up driving into work.  Isn’t the inside of my car pretty??









picstitch (1)Day 3 – One good thing about walking is you can always take a new path.  On Day 3 I discovered the shops they were setting up in Union Square for the holidays, the church that used to be a club I went to once that’s now a thrift shop, and some Mexican restaurant offering free beer with burrito🙂







picstitch (2)Day 4 – the dog is just sooooooo fluffy!!  also passed the line forming outside of Best Buy for the PlayStation 4…apparently it’s a big thing!









picstitch (3)Day 5 – a LOT happened on day 5!  I passed by these adorable little puppies, as well as this boot camp place that looked like something out of the red light district.  also stumbled across UrbanSpoon as well as this awesome looking hotel.  It was also on day 5 that I downloaded the ShopKick app, courtesy of my sister.  ShopKick gives you “kicks” (aka points) for walking into specific stores.  You collect points to get gift cards.  For example, 1,250 kicks will earn you a $5 gift card.  Or, if you’re ambitious like me, 6 million kicks will earn you a free cruise around the world.  Gotta think big!  This app also sent me on a new path towards home lol





picstitch (4)Day 6 – ok, so today I was supposed to have a lunch meeting and then walk only a few blocks to home.  plans got changed though, so I walked the whole way in these boots.  this photo is taken when I want to cut my feet off for absolutely killing me.  also, holidays are starting – the fair is back at grand central!







picstitch (5)Day 7 – I had to meet up with a press contact to give them something, so I took a new route for Day 7, and came across pickle ornaments in Crate & Barrel (because everyone needs that obvi!), a creepy looking church, and some random street vendors squeezed into a spot.








photo (6)Day 8 – ok, so on Day 7, I was coming down with a cold.  and probably the stupid thing to do was walk home, but I did.  So on Day 8, I stayed home LOL hmmm walking is turning on me!







photo (7)Days 9 & 10 – welp, my sickness got the best of me and I caved and took the subway LOL #Fail











Ok, so in the end, I didn’t do the full 2 weeks.  but I did learn that I actually enjoy this walk – 2 of my coworkers have gotten into it and end up walking at least half way with me, so it makes it go faster.  plus, I’ve come across new parts of the city that I’ve never been by before.  While I don’t think it’s something i’ll keep up everyday, I do think that if the weather is reasonable, and i’m not in a rush, this is the perfect way to save some money and get some exercise!  just note-to-self: don’t do in boots! my heels hurt😦

xox FP

FUNemployment in Action: Cleveland

Published November 9, 2013 by Funemployment Princess

I am so late with this post!  I try to write about my adventures before I go on my next adventure, but this one got away from me.  Honestly, probably because it wasn’t as exciting as most.  But still, it was something I had to do at least once in my life!

This vacation actually goes back to May.  My mom doesn’t really get to travel a lot.  So me being the insane daughter I am decided that I needed to buy her a vacation🙂 I wanted to take her to a place she’s never been before, but that I knew she’d enjoy.  Well, if you know my mother, you know that the one thing she loves to do is gamble!  Hell, we even had her surprise 60th birthday party AT a casino lol.  So, I went on the Total Rewards website, and found their “Casino Locator” tool, and discovered that they had casinos in Mississippi and Ohio.  I also learned that mom had not been to either place, making it a double win!

Since this was going to be a big present, I decided to make it her Mother’s Day/Birthday trip because really, it was a lot😀 So I decided to plan it for August.  Next came having to decide between Mississippi and Cleveland.  First, let’s think about the weather.  Mississippi.  In August. Yea, right.  Mom wouldn’t have to kill me because I’d do it myself.  Plus, the flights to Cleveland were cheaper (sorry ma, but I had to buy for 2!)

Next came the hotels, which I booked with – insert horn sound here – the Total Rewards website!  The Cleveland casino doesn’t have a hotel directly connected to it.  Instead, there are 2 in the nearby vicinity.  I called the reservation line, and they hooked me up with a cheap rate at 1 hotel for 1 night, and a cheap rate at the other hotel for 2 nights.  Yes, it is a pain to change hotels, but in the name of saving, it happens.  I may be fully employed, but we still do this shit on a budget people!

Ok, time for some math:

  • 2 flights = $400
  • 2 hotels, 3 nights = $230
  • Rental car for 1 day = $40

So essentially, all of the main expenses of the trip cost less than $800, or $400 per person.  Not bad, right?!  Now for the activities:

  • ok, so how did we spend 4 days there but only had a rental car for 1 day?  well, for starters, there is a subway-type train that goes from the airport INTO the mall.  oh, I didn’t tell you this yet…the casino and each hotel make up the anchors of a mall.  yes, the key locations that are usually reserved for stores like Macys or Sears have the Ritz Carlton and Horseshoe Casino in their spots.  I kid you not.  we technically didn’t have to leave the mall to get between the hotels, casinos, and restaurants.  so getting to our main destination wasn’t really an issue.  the main reasons we rented a car one day was so that (a) we could go see the house from A Christmas Story (a tour only costs about $10 – totally worth it if you love the movie!) and (b) we could hit up a place from “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” – yummmmmmy!  And because this place was a local, hole-in-the-wall, it was very affordable!
  • ok, there’s not much to do in Cleveland, but there is the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.  and, if you work in entertainment like I do, you can name-drop your company and get free tickets to it!  (whatever, you know you do it as well or wish you could😛 ).  even if you have to pay, I highly recommend going!  we spent the whole day there, and mom loved it.  there was so much to see and take in, and they have a café so that you can grab lunch.  its right by the water, so great views and trails to walk (we skipped the walking lol).  plus, on the weekend, Cleveland has free shuttles that take you right there!  on a side note, apparently the HOF is a big photo spot for local weddings.  actually, that day in particular was popular for weddings: I think mom and I saw 7 lol
  • the main reason we went was to gamble.  honestly, there’s no good way to budget this.  usually, I recommend leaving one machine if it’s not paying out; plus you can drink for free at casinos.  this place, though, did not hold up to those recommendations.  the machines were tight and not paying, and apparently you can’t drink for free…learned that the hard way:/

If I had to do it over again, i’d probably make this trip about a half day shorter…aka, not make my mom’s friend drive us to the airport at 6am and maybe push it back to like 2pm lol it was fun though, and I enjoyed sharing a new experience with my mom.  she has to put up a lot with me (come on, 26, living at home, picky eater…i’m a handful!  but an adorable, funny handful😀 ).  so i’m glad she got to do something new that she probably would not have gotten to do if it wasn’t for her insane daughter lol

Random Thoughts:

  • most rental cars will pick you up and bring you back to the dealership.  ours was also kind enough to bring us back to the hotel after we returned the car
  • I was never a big 3-meals-a-day person.  so for breakfast, we pretty much went to dunkin donuts and got coffee and maybe an egg wrap.  if you don’t need all 3 meals, save the money and go cheap for one!
  • take advantage of what the hotel has to offer, like the pool or fitness center.  you’re already paying so much for the room, you might as well use as much of the hotel as you can!

Random Photos (I give up on organizing these well lol):