The word frugal gets a bad rap. People hear it and their brain automatically registers “cheap”, synonymous with “stingy” or “of low quality” and doesn’t paint the most flattering picture. In actuality, being frugal is not a negative quality at all – it merely means to get the best value for the price you are paying. Regardless of what it’s for, being frugal means that you weigh all of your options and utilize the available tools to purchase your item while spending the least amount of money.
Now with that out of the way….
A night out, it’s what moms everywhere want. Generally, there are two things that stop us from doing this – mom guilt and money. Sure, you feel guilty for wanting a night off from being Mom, but in reality you need it to re-charge your battery. The money part sometimes isn’t so easy, especially living in in our current economic climate. Recently, I had a fantastic weekend away with my girlfriends, and I did it frugally!
I went on the hunt for something fun that wouldn’t break the bank. With these goals in mind, my search led me to “off-season” overnight stays towards the Eastern end of Long Island. I didn’t want to go too far East, so I hovered just far enough and found a fabulous hotel and spa, with a restaurant and bar all in one, big, happy place in Wading River.
I had actually been to this hotel many times before but had never had the chance to experience the Spa. I’m not a huge fan of massages, for some reason, they just don’t relax me. So I looked at different packages offered in the Spa and found one that offered a manicure and pedicure and was two hours of another person tending to me. Ironically, it was called “Serenity” and I didn’t think twice before booking it.
I know that as you read this post, you are definitely puzzled because there’s rarely an occasion to mention the words “spa”, “East End”, “manicure” and “pedicure” without it costing a an arm and a leg.
The keys to saving money on this deal-
- Ask a friend (or three) to join you, which cuts the expense significantly. This is still not “cheap” but the more girlfriends you go with, the more ways you can split the costs. The rooms hold up to 4 people, so make it a party!
- You can visit the East End (or any other “summer” resort) at significantly discounted prices if you plan to go during the off season (generally November through March or April), as opposed to during the high season. My friend and I saved $20 per person and if you go with more than one friend, the savings will increase. Plus, we weren’t headed too far East, which saved a lot. This same kind of night would probably cost an additional $200 per person per night on the same Saturday night to Sunday overnight package further east during the high season.
- Book a hotel that has no minimum night stay. Sure, your per night rate can be relatively inexpensive, but if the hotel requires you to stay for 2 or even 3 nights, your budget is blown.
- When booking a package like this, ask the hotel exactly what is included in the quoted package price. Some hotels make their off-season rates more attractive by quoting prices that include gratuities, taxes and other bonuses.
- Check out all of the amenities that the hotel offers. Many will have an indoor pool, restaurant, bar, spa, night club, gym, sauna, Wi-Fi, etc. that you can use at no additional charge during your stay.
- Book your getaway through a cash back site or use a credit card that gives you cash back, rewards or points for charges.
- Join the hotel’s rewards programs – you would be surprised how quickly your rewards will add up to a free night’s stay!
- Look online for less expensive restaurants, or diners, in the area to eat at during your stay.
- If you know someone who works at a hotel, ask if there is a friends and family rate that you can take advantage of.
What did we get for our hard earned money? Quite a bit.
- Luxury hotel accommodations,
- Unbelievably amazing service,
- Fantastic spa packages – I chose a manicure/pedicure while my friend chose a 50 minute massage,
- Voucher for a discount at the hotel’s gift shop,
- Full use of the Spa for both days of our stay (Locker Room, Rain Showers, Sauna, Steamroom and Relaxation Lounge),
- Use of plush robes & slippers,
- Full use of the indoor pool and fitness center,
- And best of all, a night away (read: a night off!!). We rejuvenated, cleared our minds and enjoyed some time away from the world of Mommy, free of guilt (we knew the Daddies were home taking good care of the little ones) and without breaking the bank!
That’s a lot for our money. We went out to a local diner for dinner, which was a fraction of the cost of dining in the hotel’s restaurant and saved at least $100 on that meal alone.
Is a night away the least expensive thing to do? Definitely not. Is it something you may not be able to afford? Sure. But this is just my weekend night I booked. There are PLENTY of other options to be able to have a gal pal pampering of your own. Knowing that it is possible and what to look for when hunting for a decent deal is really the key.
November Sunflower: Frugal Blooms on Long Island is “the blog” to find the most frugal ways to live your life here on Long Island. You can find free events, where to get free food, where to participate in free activities all in one place. PLUS, she’s all about giving the best tips, tricks and ideas for stretching your hard earned paychecks to their limits and beyond! Recently featured on CBS News for spending just $30 on Christmas Gifts for her entire family!