Financial Friday: Saving Money While Eating Out

>> Friday, April 30, 2010

Financial Friday:  Saving Money While Eating Out
by Alice Shaffer

Several of my friends keep telling me about Restaurant.Com and how awesome it is.  It is a website where you can buy discounted coupons for meals at various restaurants for as much as 80% off! They are delivered immediately to your email address.  You must use a credit card to purchase them.

Right now they have a deal for 80% till April 30, today. Why not take your mom out to dinner or a special mom friend out for Mother's Day!  By going to the website you can explore tons of various restaurants, close to you and where you might be going on vacation or visiting in the coming months. 

The Code for the 80% off is MEAL it does expire today April 30, 2010. Make sure to become a fan on facebook for them as they post new codes there as well or via emails.

I purchased the following 5 coupons for $10.  Without the code for 80% they were $10 for a $25 coupon.  There are restrictions.  It tells you on the website for each place what the rules are.   Most of these had dine in Dinner only and a minimum purchase of $35 or $45 plus 18% gratuity.  I will ask a friend or two to go out to dinner and say I have the first $25 and you all get the rest of the bill.  Who wants to go out to dinner? :)


Financial Friday: $79.99 For $100 Check Certificates For Hyatt Hotels

>> Friday, April 23, 2010

Financial Friday: $79.99 For $100 Check Certificates For Hyatt Hotels
by Alice Shaffer

About two weeks, I received an email from Kim P, a professional nanny and Regarding Nannies follower, telling me that she was in Costco and found they sell Hyatt Check Certificates in the value of $100 (two $50) for $79.99.  She said she wanted to let the Financial Nanny asap!  I was floored!  The INA Conference is at the Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf and we got an awesome rate of $115 a night plus 15.5% tax.  Could I honestly save another $20 a night with these Hyatt Check Certificates?   I called the hotel numerous times and spoke with various people including Ivy the assistant manager and Sang a front desk staff member..they both confirmed that the check certificates that are purchased from Costco can be used for our conference rates.  I even scoured the internet and message boards.  I found one called Flyertalk that has 64 pages devoted to the Hyatt check certificates.

How can you be a part of this $20 savings?

You will need to find a local Costco near you and call and ask them if they have any Hyatt $100 Check Certificates for $79.99 (Costco item 485271) . These are paper certificates on an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. Let me know if you can't find them. If you don't have a Costco Membership they are $50 a year. You can share with one other person. Maybe you can split the cost with another nanny or family member.

Some things to consider when you want to use these Check Certificates.
  1. You will NOT receive change from them.  Make sure you spend more than you have in certificates. Pay the remaining balance in cash or with a credit card.
  2. They may not be accepted on prepaid rates...check with the hotel before your stay. Speak with the manager.
  3. You should call the hotel or the hotels you want to use them at and double check with them that they accept them. Make sure to tell them you have a conference rate for your stay.
  4. You need to turn them in at the beginning of your stay when you check in. This is what Sang told me on the phone.  
  5. You can apply these check certificates to things charged to your hotel room. Such as parking ($45 a night) or restaurant charges. Again double check.
  6. Here is the back of the certificate with the Terms & Conditions .
  7. As always get the name of the person you speak with and make note of it in case there is a problem.

I am a Hyatt lover.  I normally go to the Hyatt Summerfield Suites two to three times a year to scrapbook and stamp with friends. I have a Gold Passport Card. Make sure you go and sign up for the card.   Apparently you can also upgrade to the Platinum or Diamond level as well according to the Loyalty Travel blog. Here is something more on the Elite Card Program. This gets you several different things for joining and so forth.

The Hyatt Hotel and Resorts group includes the following branded hotels:  Grand Hyatt™, Hyatt Regency™, Park Hyatt™, Hyatt Place™, and Hyatt Summerfield Suites.  A list of participating properties in the Hyatt Check Certificate program can be found on the Hyatt Hotel and Resorts website.

This is such a great way to save/make money for myself and hopefully for yourself.  I have the American Express Blue Card that gives you cash back.   Costco takes American Express, Cash & Checks only. The purchase for the five sets of Gift Certificates was  $399.95 and I will get back $6.00 from my AMEX Blue. I was not a member of Costco before this week. I did join along with a friend who is splitting it with me.  I love that Costco takes AMEX as that is my credit card of choice.  I did spend $50 to save money.  I however will get my $50 back in the trip to the INA Conference as I am staying for 6 nights for a savings of $120. I will also get cash back on my AMEX.

This is the breakdown of using some check certificates for your upcoming INA Conference stay or your vacation stay.

  • Room rate is $115 a night plus 15.5% tax making it $132.83 a night. 
  • In reality though with the $100 check certificates you will be paying $112.83 a night. 
  • For a three night stay that would be $338.49 a savings of $60.00. 
  • That is a dinner or two while you are in San Francisco, souvenirs or a Tour Pass. 
  • But remember you will only need to buy THREE sets of $100 check certificates, then pay the remaining $38.49 in cash or credit card.

Remember again to please call the hotel and confirm for yourself this information. No one wants to be disappointed in their stay at a Hyatt that won't take their check certificate.


Financial Friday: Fresh Air & Nature are Free!

>> Friday, April 16, 2010

Fresh Air & Nature are Free!
by Alice Shaffer

Makes one think.....Isn't fresh air & nature already free?  Yes they are free.  I am referring to the US National Park Services .  April 17-April 25 is National Park Week with the US Park Services!  This also happens to fall during the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on Tuesday April 20. The Blue Ridge Parkway is also celebrating its' 75th anniversary!

Saturday April 24th is also National Junior Ranger Day!  Those that participate will receive a certificate patch or pin.

All entrance fees to the 392 US National Parks will be waived during this coming week.  Take this time to go exploring your local National Parks.   To find one near you please visit the National Park Services List.

The National Park Foundation has some great things written up for National Park Week. You can go there and punch in your zip code to see what National Parks are located near you.  I was just at tow the other week: Ford's Theater and The Stone House in Washington DC.

The National Parks have so much to offer from day trips to overnight trips.  There is probably one within a few hours drive or right next door to you.   Take advantage of National Park Week! 

Enjoy the fresh air and the nature that is around you this coming week in celebration of our National Parks!


Financial Friday: Kids & Money

>> Thursday, April 8, 2010

Financial Friday: Kids & Money
by Alice Shaffer

I have been wanting to do a post on teaching kids about money. Some of the things that I want included are how to incorporate savings, spending & charity into the lesson on money.  As a professional nanny of teenagers they have a different outlook on money then younger kids do. I was reminded about my desire for doing this post because of meeting up with an old friend for dinner. She  has a teenager who will be going overseas later this year for three weeks. The parents told the child that they were providing the plane ticket, hotel/lodging and food money, but the child would have to save and earn the spending the money.   This teenager who is in 8th grade has less then $100 saved and will be leaving in about six weeks for Europe.   The teenager has been given opportunities to earn money and save it as well. The teenager has chosen to buy this item and that item instead of saving for Europe. The parents have reminded the child with each purchase of the upcoming trip and that there is no additional spending money available to them. So what will this teenager do when they are in Europe and see a wonderful item that they want? Will they think about that awesome CD they bought back in April they just had to have? It is a thing of the past and probably not even thought of anymore.  So how do you teach children about money and financial responsibility?

I ran across Brad Chaffee's blog Enemy of Debt  on this very subject: Financial Responsibility & Kids. Brad has a great blog post, Children and Money: A Basic Plan to teach Financial Responsibility,  that explains how he and his wife are teaching their 4 year old about the importance of money: saving, giving & spending.   They go on to show him that when he works he gets money, when he doesn't work he doesn't get money.   As Brad says: Just like in the real world.  Enemy of Debt has a Kid Finance 101 excel spreadsheet for his money plan for kids.  It is pretty cool!  I love the simplicity of it for a 4 year old and how it can be expanded for older aged children. Oh better yet, he references Dave Ramsey's Kids programs and the Dave Ramsey's books available for kids!

Be sure to jump on over to Enemy of Debt 
and read the full article on

Then come back and tell us how your kids are learning about financial responsibility!


Financial Friday: Do You Trick Yourself Into Saving Money?

>> Friday, April 2, 2010

 Do You Trick Yourself Into Saving Money?

This past week I was I looking for some papers and found a bank envelope with $100 in it.  This was exciting as I was going to be meeting a friend for dinner later that night.  I got to thinking, what other money do I have hiding from myself.  This money was great as it was a "additional" amount of money for my allowance. This means that I have another $100 to pay towards my bills this month.  Anything to pay ahead is great.

I ran across this post on The Frugal Duchess: 6 Ways I Scam Myself Into Saving. I was amazed by some of The Frugal Duchess's ways of scamming herself into saving.  I do some of things she says. I have my main bank at a credit union in my homestate. I have a local bank for cashing checks and so forth.  I pay myself first for my savings account and my allowance every other week when I get my paycheck. 

What are some ways that you trick yourself into saving money to pay off debt and for future adventures.



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