November 2015 Financial Update

November is over and Thanksgiving is done.  Fall is here which means cool days and crisp nights in North Carolina.   In November, our net worth remained mostly unchanged due to relatively flat stock market performance.  A little slower pace is okay after enjoying a $93,000 increase in net worth in October.  With $3,908 in income and $2,954 in expenses during November, we still managed to keep our expenses below our income for the month even though we spent a good bit of cash on travel.

 

Income

November is usually a very slow month for investment income, and this year was no different with less than $50 in interest and other investment income.  In December, we should get a very significant dividend payout from our investments since some only pay once per year in December (see my full article on our dividends for more info).

Blog income, shown as “other income” in the chart, was $1,095.  This is a little lower than it’s been lately but I expect the revenue to pick up significantly in December or January depending on when I receive a few payments that are due.  November was an incredibly busy month at Root of Good in terms of traffic.  My Zero to Millionaire in Ten Years article went viral, with over 500 shares on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media.  The article was featured on Rockstar Finance.  Then Business Insider reprinted the story and their reprint received close to a million views in the last few weeks.  More traffic means more people learning about financial independence, which is reward enough.  But more traffic also translates into more revenue.

My early retirement lifestyle consulting practice experienced slightly higher revenues of $750 in November versus $667 in October.  I raised the rates in the middle of November because I was getting too busy with the consulting sessions.  Freelancing work has been slow lately (which is okay!) but I’ve been working on a couple projects in the last week that will lead to revenue in December and January.  Lately I’ve been spending two to three hours per week on freelancing and early retirement consulting and that’s about as much as I want to “work” since I keep pretty busy with other fun stuff during the week.

The “deposits” income of $72 comes from cash back rebates from the Ebates.com and Mrrebates.com online shopping portals. I’m all about sharing the wealth, so if you sign up through this link and make a qualifying $25 purchase through Ebates, you’ll get a $10 gift card like I did.  I try to do all of my online shopping through one of these portals and the cash back adds up.

For example, we just booked a cruise (more on that in the Expenses section) and clicked through Ebates to get 10% cash back on the cruise purchase at Expedia.  I noticed Ebates pays 10% cash back on cruise purchases at Expedia whereas Mr. Rebates pays only 3%.  It pays to compare rates between those two online shopping portals because the cash back rates vary.  In this case, we should get back somewhere around $120 to $170 for the cruise purchase depending on how they calculate the reward (total before versus after taxes).  Not bad for 30 seconds of clicking around!

$30 of income from “General Merchandise” was a promotion I completed using our newly acquired American Express Business Gold Rewards cards.  They offered $15 when you spend $60 at Amazon so I picked up a $60 Amazon gift card on each of our cards.  If you want to get your favorite early retirement blogger something for Christmas, I’m sure they would love Amazon gift cards in any denomination.  We’re also earning 75,000 Amex Reward points each from meeting the minimum spending requirements on those two cards (I love credit card hacking for miles and points).

The last item in the income report is Mrs. Root of Good’s paycheck.  She’s still working but only four days per week from home.  Hey, it’s still work, but on pretty good terms.  Since it’s the holidays, Mrs. RoG has been burning up some vacation days by taking 4-5 day weekends.  It’s also an attempt to use up her allotted vacation time before finally calling it quits.

november-2015-income

If you’re interested in tracking your income and expenses like I do, then check out Personal Capital (it’s free!). All of our savings and spending accounts (including checking, money market, and five credit cards) are all linked and updated in real time through Personal Capital. We have accounts all over the place, and Personal Capital makes it really easy to check on everything at one time.

Personal Capital is also a solid tool for investment management. Keeping track of our entire investment portfolio takes two clicks. If you haven’t signed up for the free Personal Capital service, check it out today (review here).

 

Expenses

Now let’s look at November expenses:

november-2015-expenses

After spending around $1,000 or less in three out of the last four months, we look like relative spendthrifts in November.  At $2,954 in total spending, we slightly exceeded our monthly targeted budget of $2,700 (1/12th of our $32,400 per year early retirement budget).

Most of the month’s spending came from the cruise we booked for January.  We’ll be sailing out of Charleston, South Carolina to the Bahamas for six days and five nights.  The rates weren’t the best we’ve seen over the past few years but it was a really good deal from Charleston, a local port that we can easily drive to the morning of the cruise.  In case you missed my recent series of articles on cruising, here they are:

We paid $1,718 for six people in two cruise cabins.  My mother is joining us on this cruise and she’s paying her own fare (the $313 reimbursement for her share of one cabin shows up in “Income”, above).  The fare of $286 per person covers lodging for five nights, all the food we can eat, nightly broadway style live shows, and transportation to two islands in the Bahamas.  That’s an excellent value for six days and will come at a perfect time in late January when we’re in the coldest part of winter here in North Carolina.

Our second largest expense was groceries at $624.  Out of that total, $240 went toward three month’s worth of pre-paid school lunches for two kids.  Core grocery spending was only $384 for November, which is pretty impressive considering we hosted 29 members of our family for Thanksgiving!  This year we bought an extra 21 pound turkey at the incredible price of $0.37 per pound so we can have even more leftover turkey meat in the freezer.  So far it’s been delicious in turkey panang curry, turkey enchilada soup, turkey fried rice, turkey pho, turkey tacos, turkey enchiladas, turkey sandwiches, and served with a side of white rice and Thai sweet and spicy sauce.

cutting-the-turkey

Auto expenses in November were higher than normal at $281.  We spent $241 for the six month renewal of our auto insurance policy ($500,000 liability, no comprehensive or collision coverage).  The other $40 in auto expenses covered the cost of re-titling Mrs. RoG’s car into her name alone.  Her father had co-signed on the car purchase fifteen years ago and we never updated the title until now.

The General Merchandise expense of $160 included the previously mentioned $120 in Amazon gift cards plus a three pack of HDTV mounts.  They were selling for $12 each at the time, and hey, what better way to meet the $35 free shipping requirement than to buy three and flip two of them on craigslist for more than you pay for them?  In home decor news, our rarely used second living room now has a wall-mounted HDTV.  Our main living room does too (I didn’t want to leave the readers here thinking we were too frugal!).

Healthcare expenses of $59 covered an immunization visit to the doctor for our three year old.  The office visit occurred in May but I’ve been fighting with the insurance company since then.  I went ahead and paid the doctor but I’ll keep fighting the insurance company.  I thought preventative care like immunizations would be 100% covered by the insurance company and so did the customer service representative at United Healthcare when I called to inquire whether it would be covered before the actual office visit.  Apparently nothing the customer service rep says actually means anything.  Instead, the insurance company makes arbitrary decisions when it wants to.  Shame on you, United Healthcare.  There, now I feel better!

I’m confident I’ve consumed much more of their money than the disputed $59 between their labor costs, printing, and postage.  And I still have a few levels of appeal to exhaust before giving up.  In the end, the insurance company might win, but I guarantee it’ll be a pyrrhic victory, if anything.

The cable bill of $34 is our internet.  The utilities of $30 is our natural gas bill.  It’s been unseasonably warm this fall, so we haven’t used the heat much.  December’s bill is also tiny compared to past years.  Who says global climate change is a bad thing?

Restaurant spending of $21 represents a trip to the Chinese restaurant for pot sticker dumpling take out and a trip to the infamous Mexican fast food restaurant I mentioned in our restaurant spending last month.  I should get back $15 from the tacos because I participated in a Visa Checkout promotion that refunds $15 on any $15+ purchase at certain vendors.  Our restaurant spending is pretty mundane and didn’t vary significantly from last month.  But that’s okay because we go crazy in the kitchen cooking up all kinds of dirt cheap good eats.

We spent $15 in the electronics category toward gift cards that we used to buy a new Canon EOS Rebel T5i DSLR camera at the end of November.  This $15 purchase was completed through Visa Checkout so I should get a $15 credit for this purchase as well.  The rest of the camera’s $700 purchase price will show up in the December 2015 Financial Update.  This was our only major purchase during Black Friday / Cyber Monday.  The total price for the camera plus lens will end up being around $200 after rebate and after I flip the high end photo printer that came with the camera in a bundle.  I’m no photography expert, so I can’t promise you’ll see higher quality photos here at Root of Good, but that’s the hope!  Maybe I’ll get more into photography now.

Closing out this month’s expenses was $8 for entertainment.  We’ve been sharing my mom’s Netflix account and we finally decided to pay for the $4 per month upgrade to four devices at a time (times two months).  Now we can all watch Netflix at the same time.  This is another immensely valuable service that comes with a tiny price tag.  Between the five of us in our household, we probably watch at least six hours of streaming content on Netflix on an average day.  Considering some folks drop over $100 per month on cable, Netflix is an excellent value proposition for us.

Gas didn’t show up in this month’s expense report.  I did put a few gallons in my Civic using a gift card I bought (at a discount) this summer, but otherwise we didn’t spend anything on gas.  I feel like I’ve been driving all over the place since we’re in the midst of middle school tours for our oldest daughter, but most of the schools we visited were within five miles.  This week we’re visiting school #6 and after that I think we are done.  Good thing I’m not working because these visits each consume the better part of a morning.

 

Year to date expenses

At $21,436 year to date spending, we are almost $8,300 under the $29,700 budgeted for the first eleven months of 2015.  Not bad since that includes our $5,100 expense for a seven week trip to Mexico and a $1,700 cruise in January 2016.  We blew our travel budget category for the year but economized in other areas.

We are on track to significantly under spend our $32,400 annual budget as long as no major unexpected expenses pop up in the last three weeks of the year.  I don’t anticipate any large expenses for the remainder of the year other than the $700 or so (before rebates) we spent on the fancy new camera.

Monthly spending for 2015 to date:

 

Net Worth: $1,525,000 (-$2,000)

After the roller coaster ride in August and September where we lost $110,000 and then made back $93,000 of it in October, I’m okay with a relatively quiet month.  We closed out the month of November with a $2,000 reduction in net worth.

I didn’t pay close attention to the stock market (sorry if you came here for the up to date stock market commentary!) last month, but apparently it traded mostly flat.  From the chart, I know we had a moderate dip in the middle of the month but I guess we were too busy to notice as it occurred in real time.

november-2015-net-worth

I find I’m getting better at ignoring the daily fluctuations in the stock market as time goes by.  Now that I’m taking a look at our portfolio’s performance for the month, I see we had two really ugly days with a $15,000 loss and a $24,000 loss.  Many other days left us $4,000 to $6,000 poorer.  On the flip side, there were a few days with gains over $10,000, and plenty of days with smaller four figure gains.  Net it all out at the end of the month and you get a $2,000 loss.

I know I would go crazy if I worried about those $15,000 and $24,000 losses, so I tend to not worry too much about them because I know the markets go up and down very often, but over longer periods of time the ups and downs smooth out into a more even ride.

 

 

How was your November?  Did you go crazy with post-Thanksgiving shopping or stay at home and sleep off the turkey hangover?

 

 

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42 comments

  • I bought a new camera through the same Canon deal. I didn’t flip the printer, but I should have – that thing is monstrous and takes up my whole desk…

    We resisted Black Friday shopping. I bought some clothes or the kids online for next year, because they were so cheap. Since the kids are young, it is nice being able to buy them clearance clothes ahead of time at the end of the season. I am guessing, this won’t work so well as they get older. The last few years we have turned Black Friday into our Christmas decorating day, so its much more family oriented (and much cheaper!)

    • We do the same thing on Friday….we decorate, watch movies, sometimes we are bad and have pie for breakfast. It’s such an enjoyable day and no stress. ????

    • Our camera gets here Wednesday so we’ll have an early Christmas when we open our new toy!

      I forgot that I also bought a drill to replace the old drill (dead battery – cheaper to buy a whole new drill…) and a new set of blinds (the expense posted in December so more on that next month).

      We traditionally put up the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving afternoon but got it up before Thanksgiving this year. Fun family traditions! And way better than going out and fighting the crowds on Black Friday.

  • Have fun on the cruise! I spent some time this Saturday researching a vacation for February. I was going to book a Marriott hotel on the beach in the Caribbean or Mexico to use up some Marriott points from work, but I think we might do a cruise instead (hey – why fix what works for us). I did NO shopping on black Friday or cyber Monday, but I did buy a new pea coat online yesterday (with a 40% coupon code I found of course) since I left my last one on a train 🙁

    • I’ve priced out Mexican and Caribbean vacations but the cruise always works out to be cheaper when you add everything up (for 1 week or less vacations). And it’s much easier for us since you drive to port, hop on a ship and then there’s nothing else to worry about. So I vote cruise. 🙂

  • I enjoyed your cruise posts.

    I guess you are getting a little addicted there with the cruise now and you are going it again before we know it. Ahh, envy. Enjoy the trip and report back to us how it went 🙂

    • Cruises are fun. Maybe we are addicted? Fortunately we have $ in the budget to cover fun stuff like this.

      We’re hoping to find another cruise deal this winter for just Mrs. RoG and myself. So far prices are much higher than previous years so we’ll have to either pay up or wait on a recession to help us out. 🙂

  • Happy Holidays ROG Family!! Love reading your blog. November was a good month for us. Did take advantage of some cyber Monday deals…it was great shopping in pjs while having coffee. No stress! Thanks for the tip on booking the cruises through ebates….never thought of that. We are like your family with the traveling…we can cut back in a lot of areas, if need be, to take a couple of vacations during the year. That has always been a love of ours. We are doing a Disney cruise in the spring. Have you done one of those? Any tips?

    • I love getting the cash back on cruises. I think I only got $50 back on ours last year when the % cash back was lower.

      I’ve never done Disney cruises. When I checked on the rates they always seem to be 2-3x the price of a “regular” cruise. I know someone left a good comment on how to find deals on Disney cruises in one of my posts on cruises if you want to check their tips out.

      • Great…I’ll see if I can find the Disney post. We don’t normally spend this much on cruises, but this one has been planned for 1 1/2 years. Big family cruise…four generations. Ao, it will be a fun, special trip.

        Ok, not cruise related….how do you handle friends and family knowing your financial status? Do they know?

        • I’m sure many friends see what I’m up to on facebook. I don’t share this kind of financial update on my personal facebook but I share other Root of Good posts occasionally. So I’m sure many know what’s up and might be reading this very comment. So far it hasn’t presented any problems or awkwardness.

  • How is gas the only utility that you need to pay for? (No electric, water, sewer, trash etc?)

    BTW, There are lots of cruise booking websites that will rebate you a lot via on board credits. I typically use AmericanDiscountCruises. I’m not sure sure how this would compare to eBates, but take a look the next time you are looking.

    • We occasionally prepay some utilities to meet minimum spending requirements on credit cards we sign up for. That’s the case here. I prepaid electric and water/sewer/trash and I think I’ll run out of a credit balance in December so will start paying those bills again monthly unless I find another sweet deal for credit card sign ups.

      I’ll check out AmericanDiscountCruises. In the past when I’ve looked for onboard credit deals at cruisecompete or elsewhere, I came up empty handed. They would say the cabins we were booking were so cheap that they couldn’t offer any on board credit or other perks. Fortunately with Ebates, they don’t care if we’re buying at bargain basement prices of paying full price on a fare. It’s just a % of the purchase price (possibly minus the taxes and port fees).

  • You may have mentioned it already, but if so could you repeat how you swing the discounted gift cards? We buy a lot of gift cards to help hack the credit cards, but I never see them discounted at the stores or on line – Home Depot, Lowe’s, Cheesecake Factory, is about our speed – but I’m always open to new ideas.

    I surf the inter web but I still don’t see anything that looks too reliable in terms of actually delivering a discount. Do you use consumer reviews to help you decide which to buy?

    Overall your financial reports are pretty amazing. I consider myself very frugal…my wife considers me cheap as hell, but you seem to be able to squeeze a dollar like a clove of garlic in a garlic squeezer thingy. I say that with shock and awe…awe because you are living the good life but it doesn’t cost you very much and shock because you got your whole family on board…while I often drift alone in a sea of overconsumption amongst family and friends.

    Have a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!

    • I’ve bought from a few different online gift card resellers. Cardpool and Cardcash come to mind. Home depot, lowe’s, cheesecake factory are usually available at 6-10% off, maybe more discount for cheesecake factory. Cardcash routinely has additional % off coupon codes too.

      YMMV on using those sites but I’ve never been burned through probably 1-2 dozen transactions. The risks are particularly low if you’re buying the card and using it soon since you can dispute the charge on the CC if the reseller doesn’t do the honorable thing and refund your cash.

      I also see deals at grocery stores. Buy $50 of gift cards and get $5-10 off your grocery purchase is a common one at Food lion (not in your geographic area I believe) but there are other stores that do this that aren’t local to me (the name(s) escape me but maybe someone else can comment).

      This time of year is also a golden time for restaurant gift cards. Tons of places offer “Buy $X in gift cards and get a free $Y gift card” where X=$25 and Y=$5. Papa John’s, for example, has buy $25 GC, get a code for 1 free 3 topping pizza right now. If it’s a restaurant you routinely dine at, I’d say load up to the extent you can use those promo gift cards they give you and you’re cool with the “extra” spending.

      If your wife thinks you’re cheap, just show her Root of Good and what that cheap bastard does on the east coast. Though last night would have been a poor example of us being cheap bastards since we were dining on olives, caviar, imported cheeses, salami, and champagne (after the kids went to bed lol). Not that we spent more on any of that than a meal out at a midrange restaurant.

    • @Frugal Bazooka

      google giftcardwiki for a great site that will show you where you can get discounted gift cards.

      Also, places like Kroger and Safeway (if you have one of those near you) will often offer certain gift cards on sale every few months if you check their apps every so often.

      But yeah, giftcardwiki for the easiest directory on discounted gift cards.

  • You’re living the dream buddy 🙂

    Awesome work on the business insider post, even with all the haters, a hugely positive thing.

  • Great job on the expense front once again. Love the credit card angles; been doing them with AmEx and others for years now, and hammering the gift cards at Kroger’s for high gas points and cash rebates on the credit cards I use. It’s a game that’s fun to play.

    Took a big loss in November on my account I sell put options in. Many months back I sold 5 options on Kuerig Green Mountain that expired in late Nov; it was my bad to have them go out so far, but I thought the Christmas buying season would work in my favor. I wound up having to buy the 500 shares at a much higher price than they were currently in later Nov, and I quickly sold the shares for a loss on Nov 24 since there was nothing positive out there on the company. So what do I wake up to today? Kuering is being bought by an investment house and the stock was up $40/share. Needless to say I was “disappointed”. Oh well, everything else was positive or tread water, so I learned a lesson.

    • Ouch, that sounds like a really ugly month for your investments! And the fact that Keurig eventually spiked in price has to hurt even more. Can’t win them all, I suppose.

  • Your spending discipline is impressive. I spend about the same as you except I’m single with no kids.

  • Your grocery bill continues to amaze me. Need more details for a family of 3 we spend on an average of 600/month. I don’t know whether it is because we are vegetarians. We do not buy any high cost items. Typically buy warehouse brand items and make sure we use as much coupons as we can. I wonder what your secret is.

    • Here are two posts I have on how we buy groceries:

      One Month of Groceries
      Extreme Grocery Shopping without coupons

      It might be vegetarian specific purchases that cost more. I’m always shocked at the price of meat substitute products if you buy many of those (Morningstar I think??). We usually get good deals on relatively inexpensive cuts of meat for $1-3/lb and eat meat with almost every meal. Plenty of veggies (a lot of whatever is on sale at Aldi each week).

      We buy a lot of inexpensive groceries but buy some nice treats too.

      • Other than dairy products, Raleigh has just about the cheapest groceries in the country. For food purchases only we are around $350 a month for three (plus I usually feed our roommate to avoid leftovers). (Usually I recap anything that I buy at Target or Aldi as grocery so my numbers end up closer to $450 most months).

        We don’t even bother to shop food lion or the Asian Market. It’s just that food here is cheap.

        • I don’t usually shop at Food Lion very much but I have been lately. It’s really hit and miss, and often not worth the extra effort just to save a few bucks. There’s only a handful of things I routinely buy there (like their “HOT” salsa in Food Lion store brand – it’s literally the exact same product sold at Aldi as “Habanero Fire Salsa” but it’s cheaper at Food Lion, and the paper label is different). And the fact that it’s 5-7 minutes to walk to Food Lion means it’s the place I go if I just need to grab 1-2 things quickly (and pick up some potstickers from the Chinese restaurant on the way back).

  • Man, I’m jealous of your expenditure every month. I need to move to a cheaper location. Portland is getting way too expensive. It’s nice that you’re getting Zen like with your investment. I was also too busy to keep track of our stock investment.
    Happy Holidays!

  • Have a great time on Cruise. I wish the time will come for our family as well. We need to sacrifice a bit to save up! As always, thanks for sharing inspiring post.

    Cheers!

    BSR

  • I recently had a similar battle with UHC. Half of the billing equation sits with the doctors office, and it turned out the office didn’t properly code the services, so UHC didn’t pay them as preventative. I had to call the medical provider and explain; they agreed to do a coding review, made subsequent changes, and resubmitted them to the insurance company, who then paid appropriately. Basically the insurance company can only work with the billing codes they are given. UHC also recommended asking during visits whether the services are preventative so you won’t be surprised later. It’s kind of infuriating to have to learn the hard way when the services and costs aren’t as transparent as we’re used to in most other transactions. What a funny system. Thought I’d mention in case it helps you on this one or in the future.

    • I’ve talked to the doc’s billing folks 3-4x. They resubmitted it with a new billing code, and still no payment. Apparently it’s submitted as an office visit instead of a routine visit. The doc can’t submit it as a routine visit because we didn’t have the full physical done (just catching up one shots). Apparently there is no code for “just catching up on shots” which is less than a full physical but still clearly preventative (vaccines sole purpose being the prevention of future disease!). The insurance company gets the claim from the doc and says “not coded as preventative, you pay all of it” (we’re on a high deductible plan). I thought my appeal would be able to explain what’s happening but round 1 was unsuccessful. We’ll see how round 2 goes. And round 3 and 4 if necessary.

      Fortunately we can afford the $60, but I’m curious how successful these appeals are if the amount in controversy is real money some time down the road.

      • To add a perspective from the billing side of things, insurance companies in general do not make it clear what guidelines they adhere to in accepting or rejecting medical claims. I’ve have plenty of experiences where certain companies deny claims that are actually coded correctly or bulk deny claims without any clarification both the the doctor’s office and to the patient.

        Many doctor’s offices simply do not have the manpower to chase down these claims–it may take an employee several attempts and hours on the phone to chase down a $60 claim. Those that outsource the billing to companies also lose out because the billing companies may not necessarily be as vigilant in chasing down these claims to insurers.

        Fortunately the readership here is quite savvy and persistent in navigating the healthcare system. Think of the handful of elderly who really need the healthcare and are on limited budgets who have no clue what to do when bills start coming into the mail.

        • I feel for you having to deal with this from the provider side. My insurance company won’t tell me the codes my doc needs to submit to get it processed correctly (for fear of fraud I guess??). It’s pure insanity from my point of view as a customer. And our doc’s office has actually been very helpful and friendly when assisting me with this claim.

          In this case, we’re trying to do the right thing by getting vaccinated against Hep A (an elevated risk where we were traveling in Mexico, recommended by CDC to get the vac, AND on the recommended pediatric immunization schedule). Which is cheaper, $60 to prevent Hep A or a lifetime of managing the disease.

          • It’s actually quite sad how the healthcare is broken, and I appreciate that you see it from both sides. The price that the insurance company is refusing to pay ($60) hardly even covers the cost of administering the vaccine (drug cost, staffing cost, administration…cost of running a medical office). With the added cost of time in fighting a denial, it is a sunken cost of helping people.

            I believe that the Walgreens in my neighborhood charges $125 a dose for Hep A vaccine for adults (2 doses recommended). Ironic, isn’t it?

            • The $60 was for the office visit (the 2 minutes with the Doc). They paid the cost of the actual immunization I presume ($35, though it looks like it was coded as med/professional services) and the nurse administering the shot ($14). So in total, the encounter will gross the doc’s office $109. Not sure what the Hep A vaccine costs.

              I checked into the county Health Department and it was only $70 for a Hep A shot (or possibly the whole series) plus a one time $50 admin fee that covers any other shots we needed. Walgreens was only $114 but required a doc’s prescription (= $$$ for an office visit).

              For the adults and the older 2 kids we ended up with Target Clinic. Hep A or Twinrix shots for everyone over age 4 I think. I think they would have been $125 or so cash, and our insurance covered 100% and paid $126 to target (out of $184 billed). No need for a doctor’s RX, the Nurse Practitioner was able to administer it. I’m a huge fan of Target Clinic now for immunizations and basic office visits.

  • CRUISES:

    Hello RoG,

    Could you do a post or otherwise expand on how you go from a cruise deal that you found on a site like vacationstogo to actually finding, booking and paying for the same deal on ebates?

    I can find the deals no problem on vacationstogo but then when specifically asking for information, the cabins that qualify are generally not available any longer. Add in trying to book the same package through a shopping portal !?!

    Sounds postworthy to me.

    Thanks much, Colleen

    • Hmmm, never had too many problems. I’m actually back to using Travelocity since they have the sort by price per night feature now (if you don’t get that option, delete your travelocity cookies and reload Travelocity).

      In any event, once you find the cruise (which can be identified by cruise line, cruise ship and sail date), just click through Ebates or Mr Rebates to a site like Travelocity or Expedia and then limit your search so you can find the cheap cruise deal there.

      As inventory gets sold off, there are always advertised rates that you then find are unavailable once you click through to actually book. No advice to get around that other than “be quick!”. 🙂

  • So inspiring to see your financials and loved the previous cruise posts — what is it about buffet pix that is so – so – happy-making? Hope you guys have a fabulous time and report back with digital evidence of the fun!

  • I enjoyed reading your post. Seeing what you pay for expenses just makes me want to move down south now instead of waiting till we retire. Up here in the northeast we have ten times the expenses just to live.

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