As you might have read the other day, I’m back from our trip to New York! We had a great time and I’ll be sharing bits of our trip with you all over the next few weeks but for now, I thought I’d make today’s Five Frugal Things post all about some of the frugal things we did while we were there. I also thought I’d share five un-frugal things we did with you as well because, let’s face it, holidays are for having fun and doing things you might not normally do….
1) Rather than booking our seats on the flight, I set my alarm for 5.15 the day before we flew and checked in online as soon as the online check in opened. We got great seats as I managed to get the back of the plane where there are just two seats next to each other so we didn’t have to do the awkward stepping over someone to go to the toilet thing. These seats cost £54 per person to pre-book so that was a great saving! I also set my alarm to do the same thing the day before we flew home and we managed to get the exact same seats. I don’t necessarily recommend doing this as we took a chance and would have been OK if it didn’t pay off – if that doesn’t apply to you then don’t risk it.
2) There are lots of ways to get from JFK airport to your hotel and you’ll be very proud of me when I tell you we chose the cheapest way – we pre-booked a shared coach transfer which cost £28 in total for both of us. This was a great price but be warned, the driver we had was very impatient and seemed to be in a bit of a hurry. I lost count of the times he beeped at someone and most corners were taken so fast I felt we were going to tip onto two wheels. Still, a saving is a saving!
3) We did lots of free things while were there – Central Park, visiting the New York Public Library, people watching in Times Square, wandering around Grand Central Station and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge are all things that didn’t cost us a penny but were great fun.
4) One of the shops Miss Frugal was desperate to go to was Victoria’s Secrets – not for the underwear but for the ‘Pink’ range which is aimed at a younger audience and has quite a sporty vibe to it. I knew that a good proportion of the money that she’d saved up was going to be spent there and I was right – she bought some underwear, some sports leggings, a baseball cap, some perfume and body spray and three T-shirts which came to around $125. I’m surprised that’s all she spent to be honest as she loves the pink range and has been looking online for months to plan what to buy. They had an offer on where if you spent $60 you got a free bag worth $85 (not likely I know) so we split her shopping and went through twice to get two free bags. The spending I know wasn’t particularly frugal but at least we maximised our free stuff. 😉
5) There’s no getting away from the fact that eating out in New York isn’t cheap but we cut down on costs here by avoiding the big expensive places. We’d originally booked a table in Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock Cafe thinking we wanted to eat here for the experience but having walked past them, they just looked like a bunch of people crammed in eating what we could buy elsewhere but paying a lot more for the privilege. Instead we ate at a diner near our hotel, the Pret a Manger a few blocks down and Chipotle which is like McDonalds but with Mexican food. Our most expensive meal was $25 in total which is probably less than the cost of a main course in some of the places we’d originally planned to eat in.
But we were in New York which was a pretty big deal to us so we definitely weren’t frugal all the time….
1) The New York City Pass that we’d bought in advance to save us money didn’t really work out as big a saving as we’d hoped as we didn’t stick to the plan we’d worked out in advance. It paid for itself but only just and that was because we took the included water taxi to the Statue of Liberty instead of the free Staten Island Ferry. We had planned to cram a huge amount in and it would have been well worth it if we’d stuck to that but as you can read in my post from the other day, we decided quite quickly to change plans and slow it down which meant we did less but took more time to enjoy the experience.
2) We *may* have bought something from Tiffanys! Miss Frugal was in love with a necklace and was torn about whether to treat herself or not and I offered to pay half as I was so proud that she’d managed to save so well for the trip.
It was probably the cheapest necklace in the whole store but the man serving us was so lovely and made it into a real experience. He said he didn’t want her to forget her first Tiffany’s purchase and I’m pretty sure he was right!
3) I asked at the hotel about a room upgrade as the one we’d booked was quite small but the next one up would have been a lot more at the time I booked it. She gave us a great deal and for a total of $60 extra we got a much bigger room with two huge beds in and lots of space along with the wifi code that they usually charge $40 for.
4) I told you above how good a deal we got on the coach transfer with the driver who drive the coach like he was joyriding. Well, I don’t think our hearts could take a second trip like that so we went for a Yellow Cab on the return leg. Double the cost but I felt safe the whole time and it was much quicker and easier.
5) I left my Kindle on the plane! Hopefully it will be handed in but it can take up to five days apparently so I’m waiting hopefully. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
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