Frugal Win of The Week: Free Staycation in Downtown Toronto
Welcome to the “frugal win of the week” A fun way my future wife and I have made our path to Financial Independence, fun. Here is how the game works,
- we find an item that we would “like” (we almost never “need” it).
- We find a way to get that item for free or as cheap as possible.
- We find out what the full retail cost of the item is
- We invest the difference between the retail price and what we paid to get it.
It Pays To Fill out Surveys
Last year Trish (my wife) went to a conference at the Sheraton in Downtown Toronto. Without going into too much detail, she was not thrilled with the customer experience during her stay there. No horror stories or anything like that, just a few things that did not run smoothly. At the end of her trip they gave her a customer service, feedback survey. She filled it out, told them about the issues she had that frustrated her and didn’t think anything more of it.
A few weeks later they called her back, apologized for the bad experience and offered to comp her (us) a free night in one of their “club rooms” on almost any night of our choosing. In Canada, the 3rd weekend in May is a long weekend so we decided what better way to spend it then with a nice “staycation” in beautiful downtown Toronto. For the purposes of our “Frugal win” we had to take a peak at what it would have cost us. We knew Toronto was an expensive city and it was a holiday weekend, but we were surprised to learn that one night stay in a club room last saturday would have gone for $370. Not a bad deal at all considering we paid $0.
The Club Room
The nicest perk we had during this weekend was access to the “club room” on the 40th floor. Eating out while staying in hotels can easily be one of the most irritating hidden costs of travel. The club room, had unlimited free starbucks coffee, finger food, fruit, granola bars and other snacks that we took FULL advantage of. Oh and did I mention there is a rooftop pool?
Our Frugal vacation did not stop there. We felt like taking in a show and getting out to dinner. Both Trish and I are up for trying corny stuff and neither of us had been to medieval times, so I started searching online and in about 10 minutes I found a coupon that gave us 40% off.
If you have never been, it was pretty cool. There was jousting on real horses, pretty convincing sword fights and tons of entertainment packed into 2 hours. and the amount of food they stuff you with. They give you what felt like an entire chicken for each person (which you had to eat with your hands). I could barely bring myself to eat more free food in the club room later on that night.
We capped the night off by watching some NBA Playoffs in a sports bar overlooking dundas square, where I enjoyed a delicious caesar and trish and what had to be 5 pounds of cookie and ice cream.
So all in, what was the full retail cost of our trip and what did we pay?
Hotel: Retail $370, we paid $0
Dinner and Show: Retail $132 we paid $80
Coffee & food and breakfast from the club room: at least $70 we paid $0
Drinks and Desert: $20
If we were paying full price for everything, this staycation would have cost us $612 and we paid $120. A difference of $492 that we will now be investing rather than spending. Hotel, dinner, show, snacks, and drinks + $500 towards building out net worth, definitely a successful weekend!