Saving Money Mindset

Saving Money MindsetSaving Money is a Mindset.  A mindset is a very powerful vehicle.  This vehicle can either put you ahead of the game or put you in reverse.

You’ll need to consider that when you start this money saving mindset that you’re understanding what it’ll do to the rest of your finances.

Often times we focus so much on saving money we lose sight of making money.  My wife & I are the perfect team because she focuses on saving money in every possible way.  I focus on making money at every possible way.

We often need to reel each other back in because sometimes I get off thrown off course.  On the other hand she gets to involved in saving money that we are getting great deals on things we don’t even need.

Making Money

It is equally important to focus on making money and saving money.  Cruising around the world is expensive, but my wife will find ways to save us big money in the process.  In the same instance I’m on the cruise working my angle of making money.  I took my business which I’ll tell you about in a moment, and positioned my expertise to have a broader reach.

I own an appliance repair company located in Danbury, Connecticut; you can find us on the web at www.danburyappliancerepairpros.com.  We repair everything from refrigerators and dryers to TVs.  Our repair service is local to the surrounding towns in Danbury, CT.

How does that help me on a cruise half way around the world?  I’ve created a private youtube channel that I charge people to view.  The channel displays clear step by step instruction on how to repair almost anything.  I usually scoop up 15-25 people every vacation whom tell their friends, and my business grows.

I’m literally making money while cruising.  The money I’m making is generating me new friends around the world.  My mindset is making money & negotiating.  My wife’s mindset is saving money.

Continue reading “Saving Money Mindset”

Italy

ColloseumItaly one of the most disappointing trips I’ve been on yet. Besides the Vatican I thought Italy was just OK.  Now the Vatican on the other hand if you can handle being in a room with hundreds of other people for the whole excursion was great.  It was absolutely breath taking in there!  I’m not the least bit religious but I thought it was just amazing.

We stopped in Italy on our honeymoon to see the Vatican, the colloseum and the leaning tower of pisa.  The tours didn’t even go up into the tower so I decided to stay on the ship to play on the flow rider.  The flow rider is probably the best part of the whole cruise because it’s a never ending wave.  I love athletic sports, and that was right up my alley.

I would never go on another cruise line besides Royal Caribbean because they of the fact that they don’t have the flow rider.  Save some money on your Cruise by following the tips located here, and be sure to make sure it has a flow rider for your husband.  He will thank you later.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Ding, ding, ding the boring alarm goes off.  Seriously, don’t even waste your time on this trip.  I decided to play on the flow rider, and then I went into town.  These Italians really like to take advantage of Americas, because we don’t speak the language.  Be aware that most of these restaurants will try to charge you a “napkin” fee because they can.

I’m the kind of guy that reads over the bill, because I know people will try different things.  Italy is like the Comcast of New England because they’ll constantly try to hit with extra fees.  I took a look at the bill and there was this random $10 fee in there.  It was totally noticeable because it was just me eating my pizza while having a couple beers.

The $10 when I asked them “what is this?” was responded in Italian.  They now acted as if they didn’t speak English.  The crook pointed to the spot on the menu that hinted at the fee.  The menu was half in Italian, and then half in English.  However that great menu setup only had the mention of the fee in Italian.

I was pissed!  I had been totally taken advantage of.  I took out the money to see if I had exact change to pay whatever the bill was minus the $10, but the waiter snatched the 50 right of my hands.  He was ready, and they totally planned this.

I sure didn’t leave a tip!  Instead of leaving a tip I took the napkin looked the owner directly in the eyes then proceeded to throw it on the ground and kick it into the sidewalk with my foot.  After that “accidently” knocked over my beer glass, and left.  I wouldn’t recommend that to everyone, because I’m 6” 5’ and over 250 pounds

Small Town Vacation

Small Town Vacations

Small Vacation HomeSmall town vacations can be the least expensive trips.  My family owns a vacation house in Salisbury, Mass, and we would spend a week up there every summer.  Growing up – this vacation was my favorite.  My father would take us early morning down to a place we called the grove to eat our donuts.  We’d sit in the car watching the morning fog drift off the lake.  We called this place Twin Lakes, and it was our spot.  Later on in life, after setting up a business, and having kids own this was my vacation spot.   I would come up to Twin Lakes with my kids every summer and they loved it.

Every family needs to have a house in a small town like this.  The cost of maintaining a home is very low because of how many times its split.  The cost was split about 12 ways, and each family member did their fair share.

Take a look below to learn about the pros & cons for having a small town vacation home; we’ll start with the pros.

  • Inexpensive fun!  There is usually a nearby lake that’s cheap to rent boat or kayak.  You’re kids will be fighting over who gets to go in the front!
  • Cheap eating!  The restaurant in town is always super cheap, especially if this get away area isn’t on the vacationer’s map yet.
  • Investment opportunity!  Once this amazing spot gets recognized for its views and great family life you can always flip the home.
  • Your children will become so attached to the memories they’ve made at that home.  In middle school they’ll love having a place to go where they can be themselves; in high school they’ll be inviting their friends up.
  • Eventually your children will be taking care of the home themselves, and all you’ll need to do is show up!
The Cons
  • Can be expensive to maintain if you make a bad call in choosing the perfect home.
  • Family disputes about timing, who gets to go up, and maintenance cost.
  • College party spot!  I would by lying if I didn’t say that we had the gnarliest parties up at Twin Lakes.  We were blasting music so loud that you could hear it for miles.  Not having neighbors was the key to a great party.
  • Rising prices…  Once your quaint spot gets recognized for all the golden nuggets it’s hiding, the prices will drive up.  You’re spot may even lose its appeal that you fell in love with in the first place.

The cons are pretty steep, but the reward far outweighs the risk. 

The Rules

There is a general rule of thumb when selecting the optimal home small town vacation home.  You want to be at least 1 hour and 15 minutes away from your home.  The maximum travel time is 2 1/2 hours.  You want to maintain this even balance of being far away, but not too far away.  You’re children should be complaining about the drive, but they shouldn’t be kicking and screaming all the way up.

The second rule of thumb is to take away all electronics when you get there.  I worked with youth for a long time after college before setting up my business.  Your kids will get used to it.  Enjoy your time up there together.  Catch a fish for the first time, or go whitewater rafting.  Hell you could build a tree house in the woods.  No one will care if its your property or not!  Paula Poundstone from CBS news has a interesting article about how kids brains don’t develop well with excessive electronic use.  I would highly recommend you click here to read this informative article.

The third rule of thumb is to rough it a little bit.  You’re vacation home should have some definite draw backs so your children / significant other appreciates modern life when they get home.  Twin Lakes didn’t have a TV or radio.  We actually didn’t get cellular service either, but that long before the smart phone culture began.  That’s the way to live.  Teach your kids to appreciate the little things in life.

 

Haggling 101

The Route to Traveling on a Budget

Haggling, or as Wikipedia calls it “Bargaining”.  In an excerpt from Wikipedia located at Wikipedia Bargaining they refer Haggling as “is a type of negotiation in which the buyer and seller of a good or service debate the price and exact nature of a transaction.”  This type of negotiation is key to keeping your bank accounts high and the money coming out of your pockets low.

How to Haggle (and save money)

  1. Don’t seem too interested.  “I kind of like this one” is my go to line.
  2. Let them sell you on the product.  Don’t confuse this with letting them actually sell you the product, but rather let them “sell” you on the benefits of having such product.  This allows them to get their time invested in you.
  3. Try to wait for them to tell you how much it is, but a price doesn’t come up quick then ask.
  4. Take that price, then counter offer with 1/5 of the original price.  Example: If a guy in Haiti offers a mask for you for $65, offer him $13 bucks for it. Continue reading “Haggling 101”

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel was one of my personal favorite destinations because of how inexpensive it was.  Similar to Haiti the locals were very easy to haggle with.  If you haven’t read my post on haggling than that’s an absolute must.  Click here to go back to my post on how to haggle; haggling is essential to traveling on a budget.  The only thing in Mexico is that they constantly try to sell you marijuana!  Constantly is a understatement because I’ve had over 25 people try to sell pot to me over the course of the my trip.  We spend 1 day there.

Don’t be mistaken – pot isn’t actually legal there.  I don’t think the authorities will send you to jail, but I would test it.  If you love to get high for cheap then Mexico is definitely your spot!  My wife and I are more into adventures than sitting around getting smashed or high.  Enough about that garbage though.  Lets focus on how to save you cash.

Eat Cheap in Mexico

The trip that we took was part our cheap cruise through Royal Caribbean.  It was an amazing experience.  We had our first turtle burger which was so delicious!  One thing you’ll notice right off the bat if you look the part of a foreigner is that the price that you may goes up significantly for everything.  The turtle burger place actually gave us menus with more expensive prices than that of the locals.  Noticing the less expensive menu while heading towards the bathroom was quite surprising.  Surprising nonetheless their policy made a lot of sense.

What is really stopping them from taking advantage of tourists?

  • Reviews?  “Oh dear, we should look up the local shop on yelp or foursquare before we eat here” – said no one ever.
  • Laws?  I doubt its against the law, and often these places aren’t thrilled with dealing with stuck up Americans anyway.
  • Bad PR?  You go to a restaurant in another country because how it looks from the outside.  You don’t worry about PR or reputation.  The only thing you may focus on is social proof.  As long as there are enough people already eating at it then usually that’s a green-light.
  • Morals?  Morals go to the side when you’re making a living trying to feed your family.  They are only cheating people that are wealthy enough to be cheated.

The solution is to do your research.

  • Do 2 minutes of research on your phone.  Somebody has got to have put a bad review up there after getting ripped off.
  • Haggle with sizes of dishes.  Often you can’t haggle the actual price of the dish but you can always sweet talk the waitress into making your portion size bigger.
  • Don’t tip!  You’ll never see the person again, and quite frankly they probably are charging you more anyway.  Second to that, these people know that you probably won’t tip anyway so they factor it in to the higher price.
  • Return the favor by taking two minutes and reviewing a restaurant.  Make sure that you inform your reader that you are traveling!

Cheap Fun in Cozumel

The cheapest fun we had all trip was the Jet Skis we rented for next to nothing.  The fellow offered 30 minutes of riding for $80 each.  I paid $40 for an 45 minutes of riding for my wife and I.  On separate jet skis by the way.  How?  I haggled hard like you can read about here.  After slamming him with my elite haggling skills I sold him on the fact that I was going to dinner at his restaurant after.  After getting his price down to $60 I said “we’re really looking to burn some calories on the water before we go to nice restaurant – is that yours up there?”.  That one liner was all I needed to secure a cheap Jet Ski ride with my wife.

Cozumel Mexico

 

Haiti

Doesn’t this look like a great place to go on a vacation?

Haiti – Top Affordable Destination

Our Royal Caribbean cruise line actually bought part of Haiti.  They literally bought a section of Haiti.  Royal Caribbean made this deal without one care about Haiti’s situation.  Following the sealing of the deal the folks over at R.C. decided to turn it into the vacation destination of your dreams.  Some people may look at that as sinful or wrong.  Other people look at it like a natural entrepreneurial idea of expansion.  While I was there I didn’t see a one pissed off Haitian despite what job they had to do from picking up vacationers garbage to cleaning toilets.

IcebergThe whole resort was Haitians, and they ran it like clock work.  They had a massive pool topped off with an inflatable obstacle course that was a blast.  These obstacles were huge!  I’m talking 15-20 feet high.  It was an athlete’s paradise; however my wife struggled to even get on one!  She said later that she still had a blast recording me doing flips off of these different inflatables.

We were taking video the whole time so I needed to grab this image off google as you can tell the water is much clearer in Haiti.  You can get the gist of the fun to be had with this bad boy.  I didn’t feel like it was difficult to climb up, but then again I’m quite athletic.  Our session got rained out early by a swarm of jellyfish that were moving in.  Everyone was yelling at me to get out of the water when the jellyfish came in, but I of course completely ignored them.

I was way too focused on getting my gainer off of the top of the iceberg.  I honestly figured they were yelling at me for my attempts at that!  All and all no one got stung, but we got 4 hours of play on the inflatable obstacle course for a measly $20.  Over in the states that would easily cost you $45 for a half a day pass.  Not to mention in the states you’ll have cold water to contend with!

Behind Haiti’s Affordability

There is a good reason that Haiti, and other Caribbean cruises are so inexpensive.  Ever wondered how these cruise ships can offer a week at $1500 that includes everything?  We sure wondered how they did it.  I took some time to sweet talk the manager of the cruise line into giving me some cold hard facts.

  1. The Port pays the ship to drop people off
  2. All excursions have some kind of “cash stop
  3. Cruises get an “affiliate” pay out for merchandise

Cruises are greedy right?  You’re dead on with that answer.  These cruises are so greedy.  The problem for them is that I don’t go and buy expensive merchandise!  I buy cheap merchandise because I know exactly how to haggle.  I’ll give you a priceless Step by Step process to getting your money saving on while at these foreign countries.

Hawaii

Hawaii

Far from Cheap

You’re 100% right for assuming that Hawaii is far from cheap.  As far as inexpensive vacations go, Hawaii shouldn’t even make the cut.  However, its almost certain that everyone wants to go there.  The place is phenomenal!  I would always say to my wife while we were there that it was so “american-ized” and she would reply “well it is part of America!”  She is one funny gal.  You think with the culture there that it wouldn’t be so much like the states.  Honestly its not, when we got past Waikiki which is pictured above there was a whole lot more to the essence of Hawaii.

Waikiki is an amazing destination if you like the city, and want to learn how to surf.  However its basically like Hawaii’s NYC.  It’s crowded, busy, and very expensive.  We stayed at a hotel which was $275 a night so we were sure that it was on the beach.  Sure enough the AAA travel guide totally butchered that one.  We were’t far, but we certainly weren’t on the beach.  I know what you’re thinking – what does this have to do with saving money?

One word – Maui.

Maui

Maui is Hawaii

Obviously right? Duh, Maui is part of Hawaii.  When you think of Hawaii – what pops into your head first?  City scrapers, Starbucks, and packed beaches?  I doubt it!  Hawaii is like another country because of the culture and the fact its a 10 hour flight.  Maui is what Hawaii should be.  This is the spot where your dollar lasts you a lot further.  Don’t get this confused with places like Haiti or Jamaica where your dollar is like whoa.

Instead of parks at Maui they have beaches with surfers here and there.  People enjoying BBQ’s with coolers full of beer.  There are some great local digs for fresh fish.  It’s a lot more low key, and the rent is a lot cheaper.  You can surf, go paddle boarding or simply hang out at the beach.  I loved spending time in Maui.  My wife and I would take the car out to head to our local spot for a nice day by the beach.

Saving Money in Maui

You aren’t saving money in Hawaii – that’s for sure.  You don’t go to Hawaii to save money!  Maui though is a totally different story.  Keep your eye out for condo complexes.  We scored a deal of $600 for 5 days, 4 nights in Maui at a resort on the beach.  It wasn’t actually a resort, but it was more like a condo.  The bar closed early, the kitchen closed even earlier and you needed to drive a little to get to the beach.  Maui roads are fun!  In hindsight I should have opted for a fast car instead of haggling with the car rental salesman over the cheapest one we could find.  You can totally haggle with those people by the way – they earn commission.

Fruit Stands are the key to getting the real Hawaiian experience without spending serious $$$ on a luau.  My wife was dead set on a luau so we went anyway.  The food was just marginal, and I literally pretended to like the whole thing.  It wasn’t worth the money at all.  They know you need to come to a Luau so hit with you a hefty price for the ticket and even higher for the drinks.  Total waste of money.

luau

Cheap Destinations

cheap

Cheapest Destinations

Barcelona

Cheap, but good.  Similar to the picture above.  My wife says its fine, but I know it looks terrible.  The picture is actually a great lead into the point of this post.  The point is that the picture above is cheap, but it does it job.  We stayed a place in Barcelona for $52 a night.  The place stunk, and we kept taking selfies for Facebook with ridiculous captions.  Like “I hope my kidney is still here tomorrow” or “6 hours in, and we haven’t got mugged.. high five”.  That room I will never forget.  You could smell the odor of weed & febreeze from down the hallway.  It was worth every bit of that $52.  The second we ventured out of the asylum we found ourselves in walking distance of cheap but good food!

We spend the night at a bar about 2 blocks away slamming 1 Euro shots the entire night.  We did about 17 shots with a less than 20 euro bill.  It was a blast, and they were good too.  Apparently the real Abstinse is legal there in Barcelona.  You think 151, or moonshine has a kick…  Wait until you head on over to Barcelona.

Hawaii

Imported everything… doesn’t that ring a bell?

Peru

Peru was mighty cheap as well.  Not because we were staying with my wife’s sister the whole time, but rather because its a 3rd world country.  Everything was cheap there.  We went to a local market, and I got a fresh ceviche for $2. Of course there is one major draw back to the fact that its a super cheap.  The draw back in particular is that there is serious crime.  I was instructed not to hang my hand out the window because my watch would get stolen.  Who the hell would steal a timex?  It’s a cheap plastic thing, but it does its job.

Our list of 3rd World Problems that may concern new travelers:

  • Corrupt cops – You can literally bribe your way out of a speeding ticket, but if your white you’ll definitely be paying a lot more
  • Price Changes – The color of your skin greatly predicts the price you’ll get, but as long as you work on your bargaining skills than you won’t pay too much over market value
  • The low ball –  Taking a picture with a Llama apparently is a big deal down there.  As we snapped a selfie the lady with the Llama was holding out her hand asking for $20.  We gave her $5, and she said more, more, more!
  • Tips – You will get hit up for tips at every single instance.  The majority of the time you’ll pull out wallet feeling generous to have it stolen before your eyes.  Don’t tip, unless you have instant cash right in your pocket.  That cash won’t last long anyways.

Canada

Canada may not seem like a actual vacation, but if you live in the NYC area than it most definitely is.  Canada is also super cheap, because the american dollar almost doubles when you get there.  Be forewarned that if you have a DUI then you won’t be allowed in Canada for 10 years after getting it.  I had a fraternity brother who drove 8 hours to the border just to get turned around and sent back home.  Serves him right for putting other people’s lives at risk so he can have it a good time.

Mount Tremblanc is where we went, and it was awesome.  The mountain itself was prime for snowboarding with all the jumps, trails & terrain you can’t get in the states.  It was possibly the worst ran mountain I’ve ever been on.  They literally had one lift at the bottom of the mountain, and you needed to wait hours just to get on it.  Once you made it through that bottleneck than it was smooth sailing, but that would often take a 5th of your day up.

Cruising on the Budget

cruise ship

Cruising on a Budget

Cruises can be the biggest bang for your buck.  These multiple destination vacations are awesome.  I know there might be some of you that are inclined to say otherwise because of sea sickness.  I totally understand that you get motion sick.  I get motion sickness worse than you!

  1. If I’m not driving I need to either fall asleep or get behind the wheel
  2. I once did a Shark Expedition on a boat, and the closest I got was puking on the sharks.  Pretty cool that they ate it though!
  3. Roller coasters are out
  4. Merry go rounds are just nightmares waiting to unfold
  5. I need to take massive amounts of Dramamine to get on a plane
  6. I need to take even more Dramamine to get into a taxi
  7. I drove to my wedding so I wouldn’t be sick from riding in a limo

Motion Sickness Eliminated

You heard that right!  I know your excited, but skeptical.  I was skeptical too until I heard from multiple people about this cure for motion sickness.  Sea Bands!  They are super lame, and a make you look like Richard Simmons.  I’d wear the wig the whole cruise if I needed to!  My wife convinced me to wear them instead of slamming tabs of Dramamine worse than a oxi-codin addict.  They are like $7, and worth $700.  Only motion sickness I got the whole cruise was when we started drinking.

Unlimited Appetite Quenched

I am regarded as a never ending hole.  My wife constantly complains about our grocery bill.  Even as I write this she is standing over my shoulder saying that she should be the one writing this article.  On top of it I’m a big health nut so everything is more expensive.  One unique thing on a cruise that not many people fully understand is that crew members cannot say “NO”.  You heard that right.

Obviously if you’re doing something you down right shouldn’t be doing they’ll hit you with the N-O.  Ordering 2 appetizers each, 4 entrees for myself, 2 for my wife, and dessert that isn’t even on the menu doesn’t fall into that category.  I would have to tell the waiter or waitress to consolidate the meals so I had enough room on my plate.  I would be so full after that meal that I would need to walk like a penguin back to the room after that meal.  Our honeymoon cruise I had at least 4 entrees every night, and gained 10 pounds of solid fat.  On lobster night I decided I wanted 3 lobsters, and never heard a NO!

Talk about bang for your buck – try going to the restaurant down the street and ordering 4 entrees.  I guarantee you’ll get charged extra.

Saving Real Money

Book way in advance.  Don’t wait for the buy one, get one 50% deals.  Wait for the buy one, get one 60-75% deals!  Sign up for your next Cruise on your first cruise for even more savings.  You can always transfer that savings, or cancel it without penalty.  They know that 80% of people won’t cancel, and that 10% will forget about it.  Obviously, don’t be that 10%!  We got the 75% off our second guest rate, and $250 on ship spending money for signing up for our next cruise on our first one.

Our next cruise was our Honeymoon cruise, and we didn’t even know when we were getting married.  Well I did, but she didn’t.  She’s the travel agent, and I’m the hard grader.  We’re both serious hagglers.  I’m more of the in your face, don’t take no for a answer type.  She is more of the “giving you shit about your price with a smile” kind of haggler.  Both great & effective methods, but definitely useful in different situations.

Not Worth the Money

Specialty dining is not worth the money.  Great food, but low portions.  The food was only a little better than the food that we got in the dining hall.  They really hit you with a high price too.  Often times the selection is very limited due to the fact its a cruise ship.  Sometimes you really want a romantic dinner in an expensive restaurant.  We recommend that you save a couple bucks on the specialty dining, and get a few extra drinks delivered to your room.  Enjoy that extra cash by selecting a room with a balcony, and have drinks by the moonlight.

Greetings from Us

Hello everyone.  I hope you enjoy your stay here at Rentals2Remember.  I also hope that you learn something that you can use on your vacations.  We are thrilled to be sharing this information with you.  We’ve traveled the world on such a minimal budget through some smart savings tips.

You’ll get a learn a couple key things during this blog:

  • How to travel the world on a budget
  • Tips & Tricks along the way
  • Safety Ratings for each Area
  • Our personal rating of the destination
  • “It’s not worth it” heads up

I look forward to putting up more, and more content for you and the rest of our audience.  If ever you have a question don’t hesitate to ask.  Contact us here.