Once again, I skipped my Frugal Five last week, this time because I was on a red eye flight to North Carolina to fiiiiiiiiiinally see Erin and Young FIRE Knight get married. They originally had set the date for summer 2020, so you can probably guess how that went.
It was a whirlwind trip, landing in Durham NC at 7am Friday morning and then driving three hours to Roanoke VA to the hotel nearish the wedding venue. I was back on the plane in Durham at 7pm Sunday night, and then back to work the next morning. A ton of travel, but absolutely, absolutely worth it. Congratulations, friends. I am so happy for you two and so glad I could be there to celebrate with you.
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Friday’s Frugal Five
1. Thanks to my Chase Marriott card, I was able to use my one free night (a year) and points I had to cover the two nights I was in Virginia. Thanks (?) to the redeye, my third “night” was on the plane.
Gwen and Elizabeth stayed with me, and in trade, I got some meals covered by them. Definitely a win for all three of us, and it was so good to stay with them regardless. They both also showed up on Friday, so we got some good hang out time before the wedding on Saturday.
Interested in signing up for the Chase Marriott card? Right now you get 5 free nights for signing up (usually 3 nights, so they’re apparently running an extra deal at the moment). Not everyone loves the Marriott card, but for the places I travel, they’ve worked really well for me. And all the hotels are at a base level of very nice.
2. I was also able to rent a car with credit card points, this time from my Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which is my “regular” use card. As long as you pay off your credit card in full every month, credit card rewards can seriously help reduce travel costs, even if you don’t open new cards on the regular for the big sign up bonus.
If you for some reason don’t have this card yet, you can get 60,000 points for signing up (with the minimum spend). This card also has great travel / car rental insurance, so it’s a good option for use while traveling as well.
Flights are expensive right now, if you weren’t aware. Flying into Roanoke directly would have been over a thousand dollars plus a layover, so I went the route of direct flight to Durham and then drove the almost three hours to Virginia instead. It saved me a bunch of money (especially using credit card rewards), and I got to enjoy a seriously beautiful scenic drive between the two cities.
3. Arriving early in Durham, my friend Budget Epicurean offered me breakfast and a nap in their guest room. Plus, I got to see her garden and her mixed flock of chickens, quail, and ducks. My husband might have been worried about me coming home and wanting quail, but really, now I want a few ducks. Oops.
The last (and only) time I got to see her was when she had one day in the Seattle area back in 2018, so it was so good to get to spend some time in person – and finally get to meet her husband and kiddo. Again, the trip was long and I didn’t get to stay for many days, but it was absolutely worth it to get to see so many of my favorite people in person. Priceless, yes? But also not as expensive thanks to travel hacking. (Shoutout to getting to see Josh Overmyer at the wedding as well – getting to see everyone made my heart so happy).
4. My neighbor drove me to and from the airport for the trip, even though it meant late nights for her. Instead of paying a Lyft driver, I love being able to pay a friend for the trip. (And one fewer random person to spend time inside a car with during COVID).
Since getting home, I’ve tested myself daily just in case, and as of Friday morning, the tests are still showing negative, so it appears I’m in the clear (*knocks on wood*). While I am still quite cautious about COVID (especially compared to most people these days), I’ve made conscious decisions to take some trips and do some things that have a higher risk – masking and being careful when I do them, but not staying home now.
5. Monday night dinner was biscuits and homemade gravy along with some of my husband’s homemade bacon. He’s gotten seriously good in the months that he’s been experimenting, and I have to say, I like his bacon way better than most store bought stuff now.
After me being gone all weekend, it was nice to have a quick, simple meal for dinner Monday night, without opting for take out again. While we do get take out or go out to eat (outdoors) about once a week, with food prices as they are now, we’re definitely making choices about cheap meals. We also had ramen again this week – with homegrown green onions, kale, and eggs from our chickens.
Ps – we had Kiersten from rich®ULAR on for a FB Live this week to talk about her new book Cashing Out. You can check out the conversation on the WPF YouTube channel now! Or, check them out on Good Morning America, where they were at earlier this week!
Friday was overcast in Virginia and only about eighty degrees, so I decided to go for a run in the afternoon after we checked into the hotel. It definitely felt hotter and oh so humid once I started running, but I’m glad I managed it once while on the trip.
Saturday was a lot of walk and a ton of dancing at the wedding, and my feet definitely hurt the next day. Monday was my first round trip e-bike ride to work and home! (ICYMI: I bought an e-bike! It is the coolest thing ever). Wednesday was a hike down to the beach at very low tide (and a balmy 58 degrees….)