Monthly Archives: May 2013

Cabo Part Dos: The Conclusion

After hemming  and hawing about how to start part dos of this blog, two options arose:

  1. I just tell you to read “Cabo Part 1:   MexiCans vs. MexiCan’ts” or
  2. Start with a recap, much like a primetime drama would do when they have a two part episode.

Option 1 is a great read (so please go read it if you haven’t yet), but option 2 is also amazing and is as follows (in italics of course):

Previously on frugoal “Cabo Part 1:  MexiCans vs. MexiCant’s”:  The brother of our heroine (Steve) proposed to his love of 4 years (Kelsey)…destination:  Cabo.  The heroine (the chick who is writing this blog) and “P” her bitter half…errrr…I mean better half,  only have mere months to save up for this destination wedding.  They painstakingly save up for a one week stay at the all inclusive Hola Grand Faro Los Cabos Resort.  Fast forward: the wedding week has finally arrived, our heroine and P take flight and arrive at the resort.  The purple bracelet is bestowed upon them once they check in.  The bracelet that gets you all you can drink and eat and then drink some more.  The bracelet that only works at the resort, and loses power as soon as you leave the resort. However, the pure elation our heroine feels upon arrival and receiving the bracelet soon turns into despair.  Our heroine only took a certain amount of spending cash as it is an ALL INCLUSIVE resort, but “P” wants to do more, so much more.  Our heroine keeps reminding him that they are poor, so very poor.  

Will our heroine talk “P” out of spending cash they don’t have?  Will “P” get what he wants and buy a few T-shirts, some new shades, and a yacht?  

Now Cabo Part Dos:  The Conclusion:

May 7, 2013 (Day 2):  Yesterday we arrived at the resort,  took a dip into the infinity pool,  drank some great drinks and ate some amazeballs food at the buffet (the Albatros).  Life is good!  Woke up and the pool was calling my name…scratch that…the pool bar was SCREAMING my name!  I can definitely see us staying here all week and never leaving the resort which means we will be saving money.  Who knows, maybe we will return stateside with plenty of cash left over to use on things like, I don’t know, bills?!  P seems content for the time being, but oh no, around 3:00 p.m. he starts getting restless.  He talks about venturing out to see the city.  “Noooooooooooooooo”,  I scream, not out loud just inside my head…after all we were surrounded by my future sis-in-laws family that doesn’t know me that well yet.  I need to stick the crazy away for a little while.  I encourage P to keep drinking, he does, it weakens him.  He tires and goes to the room to take a nap.  Victory…for now.  I continue to drink, which then weakens me, I tire and go to the room (actually the wrong room at first, but eventually I figured it out) and join him in the nap taking.  Day 2 and only spending tip money.  We are doing so grea….zzzzzzz.

A few hours later a bang bang bang on the door.  We couldn’t hear him.  So he knocked a little louder.  Then a Bang Bang Bang on the door.  We still couldn’t hear him.  BANG BANG…alright enough of that, we hear it this time and it was Steve saying a cab was waiting and to see if we wanted to go into town (cha-ching) for dinner (cha-ching cha-ching).  P’s eyes lit up, mine…uhhh…did the opposite of light up (darked up?).  He wanted to go, I wanted to stay.  Damn you Steve, how can we say no to you when it is your wedding week?  We couldn’t say no, so we went.

It turned out to be a good night, which I will break down for you like a 1997 MasterCard commercial:

Cab ride to downtown San Jose Del Cabo (both ways for 14 people): Nothing (Kelsey’s parents paid which was super sweet)!

Dinner at a cute local place whose name I can’t remember:  $50.00 (that we chipped in towards the bill).

Encountering a cop who let a few of us in the group ride on his Segway:  Priceless.

May 8, 2013 (Day 3):  More of the same at the resort and having a great time.  Cheap day!

May 9, 2013 (Day 4):  A fishing trip has been talked about and then booked for Friday.  P is going, this girl is not.  Its $125.00 for each person, and being on a small boat for that much money just doesn’t sound appealing to this gal.  Our plan to go dune buggying stalled as soon as P found out he couldn’t do jumps.  I was not-so-secretly grinning.

Meet and greet at the resort’s  Sky Sports Bar.  Beautiful!  Got tipsy on champagne which normally not a fan of but tasted amazing there!  Night was followed by some karaoke at the lounge.  Great night filled with tons of fun and laughs!  No money woes!

May 10, 2013 (Day 5):  P is out to catch a fish, and I am out to drink like one…seriously went off the rails this vacation.  But that dang dirty monkey drink at the pool bar had me “oo ooh” ing and “aa aah”ing like one.

Rehearsal dinner and this gal is still feeling good about how little cash (besides tips the dinner and fishing trip for P) we have spent outside the resort.  The rehearsal dinner is a grand ol time and great food…again (the rehearsal dinner took place at the La Gondola Italian Restaurant), but then…the horror.    Vendors!  So many vendors outside the restaurant with pretty and shiny objects.  NOOOOOOOOOO!  There is a perfect necklace that goes with my eyes and my maxi dress!  P is now tipsy, the vendor places it around my neck and I am in love!  P buys it for me (that is how I know he was tipsy).  The vendor quotes us at around $100.00 for the necklace and a few other small things. We haggle the price down to $60.00.  More money spent but it introduced me to a new love…haggling (more on that later)!

May 11, 2013 (Day 6/Wedding Day!):  Steve and Kelsey are married!!!  I know that this is a blog about spending less and trying to live below my means but the wedding was so beautiful!  They had so many people make the trip to see them get married including us, and it was so worth every penny.  The nuptials were amazing, which led into cocktail hour, which led into the reception, which led into fireworks on the beach…pretty much like a real life Mariah Carey music video!  The best word to describe the day was that it was ethereal!

Sorry just had to get all girly for a minute, now back to money.

May 12, 2013 (Day 7):  Mother’s Day has arrived and Kelsey has arranged for a Mother’s Day brunch at the Las Olas Beachfront Restaurant.  Lovely, just lovely.  Then, well read on if you dare.

19 of us (“us” being the Steve and Kelsey wedding posse) booked a sunset cruise ($65.00 a person) which included going to a silver shop, flea market, tequila tasting and ending with the sunset cruise to see the arches.  All of us filled up two vans and headed to the silver shop.  I was so eager to become reacquainted with my new love…haggle, who we will call “Haggie” for short.  At the silver shop I found a cute silver pendant and asked how much.  The answer I received from the guy: $250.00 American dollars.  Oh hell no!  Me and Haggie are going to excuse ourselves and makeout somewhere else.  That somewhere else was looking to be the Flea Market down the road.  One problem…P wanted to come with us (third wheel alert)…ugggh.

So myself, Haggie…and P go down to the flea market.  One guy catches this girls attention with his proclamation of “I have the best junk in town”.  I like him, and Haggie likes him too.  This is our guy, he has a sense of humor and seems really into Haggie.  I find a magnet I like, P finds a shirt and sunglasses, and Haggie likes everything.  Our salesman quotes us at $60.00.  Haggie and I have a plan, we are only willing to pay $30.00 (after all our salesman is the one who said his stuff was “junk”).  We get our salesman to come down to $45.00.  Haggie and I are staying strong at $30.00.  I start to take the cash out of my wallet so I can let him see that I mean business, and this $30.00 is his if he just plays nice with Haggie and I.  He comes down to $35.00, Haggie and I stay strong at $30.00.  He says “No deal”, but in a way cool accent.  Haggie is done with him, and I shrug my shoulders and turn to walk away.  The salesman starts to get nervous, then stops me and says…well I don’t know what he would have said because ol third wheel P came in with “I have $5.00”.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Haggie and I were so close to sealing the deal.  Three people entered the flea market that day…Haggie, P and me.  Only two people left and those two people are $5.00 poorer than they should have been.

P.S. The sunset cruise was exquisite.

May 13, 2013 (Day 8/Leaving Cabo):  At the airport and P is hungry.  We are flying home with my folks and see that there is a sit down restaurant called Wings.  We decide to pay for lunch and my parents will pay for dinner, since we won’t be home for another 8 hours.  Our bill was a little under $90.00, but I look in my wallet and horror of horrors..not enough cash. Oh no, this can’t be.  We have to put lunch on the …credit card (see definition of “evil”).  We do, we do.  We get home safe and sound, but spend $86.00 more than we allotted for.

Ironically, I wrote the check out for the credit card bill today.  Yes, we spent more than we should have, which was a downer.  The upper was we have pictures and trinkets and memories to last forever and it was so worth it (where is one of those air sickness bags when you need one).

P and I did better on this trip to Mexico than we did on our last.  Small steps…baby steps.

Cabo Part 1: MexiCans vs. MexiCan’ts

This story begins 13 months ago when a boy asked a girl to marry her, put a ring on it, and they decided to have a destination wedding in Cabo.  What does this story have to do with this blog and my frugoal?  The answer is simple: the boy is my brother, the girl is my newly minted sister-in-law, and P and I had a lot of saving to do to get to this wedding.

P and I had been to Mexico once before.  We went to Cozumel in 2010, and though it was a great time, we did it 100% the wrong way financially.  We “paid” for it by credit card.  We bought all of our souvenirs by draining out what little savings we had, paid for all our excursions by credit card (damn that entrancing plastic), and all of our meals outside the resort were put on the…credit card.  Are you sick yet?  I know I am, and it isn’t the water in Mexico making me run for the toilet this time.  It is my sheer stupidity and my bank upping my credit limit that was giving me debtarrhea.  Side note:  That is probably the worst joke I have written to date on this blog.  You either enjoyed it or it made you sick and now YOU are the one running for the toilet.

So in Spring 2012, when Steve (my bro) and Kelsey (sis-in-law) announced their wedding would take place in May 2013, P and I knew this trip would have to be saved up for in full and NOT PAID FOR IN PLASTIC!  The 2010 Cozumel trip was behind us, but still fresh in our minds and unfortunately still wrapped into our credit card debt.   We were not going to repeat the same mistakes this go round in Mexico.

Now all three of you reading this may be thinking “Woman, you are soooooooo stupid!  You are in credit card debt up to your mesmerizing eyeballs!  Save your money and don’t go to Mexico and just send them a gift!”  You are correct on two counts.  Yes, we are in credit card debt and yes, my eyeballs really are mesmerizing but there are some things in life you can miss and some things in life you can’t.  Any recent episode of “How I Met Your Mother” or a television interview with any Kardashian, ever, you can miss and life will go on.   Some things, however, you can’t miss  and your baby brother’s wedding is one of those things.  We were going to that wedding no matter what!  And we were going to that wedding without any assistance from our credit card(s)!!

So saving had to happen to get us both to Mexico for the week of Steve and Kelsey’s wedding.  Luckily, the betrothed couple gave plenty of notice to their guests to save up.  Save up we did and in late November of last year we had enough to pay for the trip in full and not put any debt on our credit cards…and away we Cab”go”.  Side note:  While reading this aloud, that joke was also pretty bad.  Please comment at the end of this blog and let me know which joke truly was worse:  debtarrhea or Cab”go”.

Before we boarded our flight to Cabo, we had enough cash on us for tips for the resort staff throughout the week (housekeeping, waitstaff, bartenders, etc.), enough for one excursion for each of us to do outside of the resort, and an itsy bitsy teenie weenie polka dot amount of money for a souvenir (think   “Chiclets”).  Ahh, a full week at an all inclusive resort (all we can eat, drink and gain) plus airfare and spending cash.  Nothing was put on that credit card when we boarded that flight to Cabo!  Not a cent!  We won the battle…right?

As we were traveling 30,000 feet in the air, my only panic attack came from the thought of the plane crashing (which is nothing new) but I was pleasantly surprised by one thing on this flight.  I had zero anxiety about money for this vacation (a new feeling and unexpected change from ghosts from vacations past).  I felt good and relaxed, or at least I would as soon as we landed safely in Cabo.

We touched down in Cabo (can I get an “Amen”) and then were shuttled to our hotel: The lovely and charming Hola Grand Faro Los Cabos Resort.  After checking in I was granted (along with everyone else that came for the wedding) the most beautiful gift one can get on vacation…the purple bracelet.   This magical bracelet, placed nice and snug around my wrist, would annoy me at first.  That short lived annoyance would soon turn into a hot and steamy love affair.  The purple bracelet would get me as much food as I wanted to eat and as many amazing…oh gosh, promised myself I wouldn’t get verklempt while writing this, but happy tears, happy tears…adult beverages as I wanted to drink for the next week.  Who needs to spend money outside the resort where the purple bracelet loses all of its powers?  With the purple bracelet on I felt like a Power Ranger at the Hola Grand Faro.  A drunken Power Ranger.  Yes!  I felt like a Whiskey Sour Power Ranger calling for “Purple Ranger Power!”  This vacation was going to be so much fun and be great for my pocketbook too (my liver was the only thing in my life which would not be benefiting from this vacation, but you can’t please everyone).

Then two days into vacation, reality hit me.  Reality hit me, and it hurt.  I only took into consideration what my financial  Can vs. Can’t lists for this vacation was.  Those lists are as follows:

Ang’s MexiCan Do List:

  • Eat at the resort
  • Drink at the resort
  • Tips for those cleaning our room
  • Tips for those bringing my drinks while I eat
  • Tips for those making my drinks and bringing my drinks while I don’t eat
  • Only 1 excursion outside the resort
  • Taking pics of all of the above

Ang’s MexiCan’t Do List:

  • Anything and everything that is not on Ang’s MexiCan Do list

I didn’t consider P, my other financial half.  He had lists of his own.  His lists are as follows:

P’s MexiCan Do List:

  • Anything and everything that is not on Ang’s MexiCan Do list

P’s MexiCan’t Do List:

  • P left this list blank

Houston, we may be in Cabo, but we have a problem…

To be continued…

Living in procrastiNATION

“Why do today what you can put off doing tomorrow?”  That has always been a mantra of mine that has served me…well actually, not so well over the years.  Putting off those pesky daily chores, workouts and errands is part of who I am.  I am just going  to come out and say it (or rather type it):  My name is Angela and I am a…procrastinator.  So much so, that if I was a superhero my not-so-super superhero name would be “The Procrastinator”.  Hmmmm, I wonder what people would say about “The Procrastinator”…

Look up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane…Oh S*#t, it’s The Procrastinator showing up 15 minutes too late again.

She can leap to her phone to hit the snooze alarm in a single bound.

The Procrastinator!  Saving the world the day after it needs to be saved.

Not really digging what people think of “The Procrastinator”?  Me either.

So let’s get back to the real world since this female Clark Kent is spent, and talk about what procrastination has to do with finances.  Turns out, procrastination costs money.  Which brings me to…drum roll please…

Frugoal Lesson #2:  Procrastination WILL cost you money!

How many of you live in this constant state of waiting until the last minute to do things?  Please tell me I’m not the only one.  But seriously, TELL ME, I love reading your comments!  Alright, if you don’t want to tell me, then I will tell you:  Living and being a citizen of procrastiNATION sucks! If you don’t believe me, here is a real life example about how something as simple as waiting to register for Bloomsday cost this little lady some big dollar bills. 

Note:  For those reading this that are not from the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area, Bloomsday is an annual run/walk (or crawl for some including myself) that is approximately 7 1/2 miles and takes place in Spokane, Washington.  For those of you that are from the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area…made you look.

The entrance fee for Bloomsday is $17.00, which is very reasonable.  This girl didn’t register right away because things kept coming up, then this girl put it off (the three part Real Housewives Of Atlanta reunion needed to be watched so it could be deleted from the DVR).  Then kept putting it off (working, earning a paycheck, and paying those bills, very important stuff).  Then putting it off some more (housework had to be done…okay can’t lie to you guys, housework still isn’t done, couldn’t even type that with a straight face).  Ultimately, excuses were made and registering for Bloomsday was not a top priority.  So, long story longer, last Monday, I get a call from P asking me if I registered yet (he got to register for Bloomsday free through his work).  This is how the conversation went:

P:  Did you register yet for Bloomsday?

A: No.

P:  The entrance fee just got upped to $32.00.

A:  WHAAAAAAAAT?!?!

Side note:  I am very open to optioning the above script.  Have your people call my people.

So because of procrastination, I am now a late “bloomie” which cost me way more money than if I would have been an early “bloomie”.  The point of this blog is this:  My mantra of “Why do today what you can put off doing tomorrow” isn’t working for me and has to be rewritten.  How will it be rewritten?  Not sure how yet, but it’s a work in progress, just like the girl writing this blog, and maybe some of you who are reading this as well.

P.S. The ironic thing is I have always been a late “bloomer” which has saved me money in the past.

P.S.S. Real life example of how being a late “bloomer” saves money:  Didn’t have to buy my first bra until I was 19.  Pretty sure even Dave Ramsey would be proud of my savings on that.

P.S.S.S. “P.S I Love You” is a great movie!