Guess Where I’ve Been?

Magic Kingdom!

That’s right. Only the happiest place on Earth: Walt Disney World!

I went to Orlando on business (first time to say that)

to attend a psychology convention.

I knew I would be attending this convention about a year in advance.

This allowed me to save $100 each month to pay cash for everything.

I was there for 5 days and my entire vacation cost me only $750.

Here’s how I did it:


I bought my airline tickets 7 months in advance to get the lowest cost.

I traveled non-stop on Spirit Airlines,

an absolutely no-frills airline

(read: pay for your carry on).

To save money, I did not pick my seats (an extra $10 each way)

and purchased my luggage fees in advance.

My options for each way were to purchase the advanced purchase carry-on: $30,

or the advanced purchase checked bag: $28.

Trying to save $4 (round-trip) I checked my bag.

Total airline cost: $229.58

I rigorously stalked the daily deals sites (Groupon, Living Social, etc.) for Orlando deals.

From these sites I purchased a car service to pick me up from the airport for $39

and a shuttle van to take me back for $17.

During my time in Orlando, I purchased

an unlimited ride 5 day trolley pass from the I-Ride Trolley for $8.

Very safe trolley mainly used by tourists


I took a cab twice totaling $24.

Total ground transportation: $88 + tip


The whole reason of traveling was to attend a convention.

$70 for students

Conference bags filled with SWAG


As a firm practitioner of the always-searching-for-better-deals science,

upon my web browsing I found that

if you go to any of the Disney theme parks after 4pm,

admission price is reduced from $89 to only $52.

However, you must purchase this ticket in advance.

A great deal since it is open until 11pm,

giving you 7 hours of child-like romping.


I split a hotel with three other women from my grad program.

They stayed one day longer than I did.

To keep my bags in the room longer for my evening flight,

I paid for an additional night.

My portion: $101.50.

This comes out to $20.30 a night!


I had a food budget of $200 for my trip,

divided out to $40 per day.

The hotel had free breakfast

which allotted me $20 for each lunch and dinner.

I stuck with my budget and even came home with $80 left!

If you are wanting to plan a vacation

but are afraid of the cost,

do what I did.

1. budget airline. Why pay $100 extra for free pretzels?

2. split hotel with friends/budget hotel. I usually go for inside doors for safety.

3. use daily deals sites for savings. The sites are great for hotels, ground transfers, and restaurants.


Food and stuff

Free items (no picture this week):
Dawn dish soap (on sale for .99, used .50 off coupon that was doubled)
Smart Source Sour Cream (used buy smart source butter get ss sour cream free coupon)

Albertson’s total before: $14.70
Total spent: $11.70
Total saved with sales and coupons: $3

Kroger total before: $69.24
Total spent: $45.81
Total saved with sales and coupons: $23.43

Grand total before: $83.94
Total spent: $57.51
Total saved with sales and coupons: $26.43

This week’s meal plan:
Breakfasts: Raisin Bran (.99) and granola bars (2.39)
Lunches: Sandwiches=bread (.99), sandwich meat (2.99)

Pesto Chicken Wrap (serves 2)

1 chicken breast, pounded (had it)
Flour tortillas (1.79)
1 small jar pesto (had it)
4 oz shredded mozzarella (2.77)

Sauté chicken until just done. Slice in thin strips. On 8 tortillas, spread pesto, sprinkle cheese and add cooked chicken strips. Roll and place in 13 x 9. Cover and heat @350 for 25 min. Serve with fruit salad.

Easy Chili (serves 4)

1 lb. ground beef (from last week)
1/2 onion (diced) (from last week)
1 can rotel tomatoes (.50)
1 pkg. chili mix (any kind) (from last week)
water as directed on chili mix
1 can baked beans (any kind) (.89)
shredded cheddar or mexican cheese (2.49)

Brown ground beef with diced onion until done. Drain off excess grease and rinse with hot water if needed.
Chop Rotel tomatoes in the blender (optional). Add tomatoes, chili mix, and water to the beef and cook down for about 5 minutes or so. Add beans and continue to cook until beans are warm.
Individually sprinkle with cheese and serve with crackers or cornbread.

Beef and Cheese Enchiladas (serves 2)

1/2 lb ground beef (from last week)
1/2 onion, chopped (from last week)
1/2 c sour cream (free with coupon)
1/2 c corn (had it)
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
4 to 5 flour tortillas
1 small can enchilada sauce (had it)

Cook / drain beef & onion. Stir in sour cream and
corn. Spoon about 1/3 c beef mixture onto each
tortilla; top w/ a few drops of enchilada sauce. Roll
tortillas & place seam side down on cheese in
sprayed 8×8 dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce
over enchiladas. Sprinkle w/ 1 c cheese. Bake
uncovered @350 until cheese is bubbly.

Mexi Macaroni

We had this last night and loved it!
4 oz elbow macaroni, uncooked (had it)
1/2 lb ground beef (from last week)
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (.50)
1 can corn, undrained (had it)
1 pkt taco seasoning (.43)

Cook macaroni. In large no-stick skillet,
cook / crumble / drain beef. Add pasta,
tomatoes, corn, and taco seas. Bring to boil;
reduce 5 min.

Santa Fe Soup

¾ lb ground beef, cooked (from last week)
3 cans diced tomatoes (.50 each)
1 can of pinto beans (.89)
1 can of kidney beans (.89)
1 can whole kernel corn (had it)
1 pkt taco seasoning (.43)
1 pkt ranch party dip (.69)

In large soup pot, combine all ingredients. Do not drain cans. Heat thoroughly; then simmer 20 min.
Serve with garlic bread

Pork Chops with Apple and Raisins

6 thick, boneless pork chops, trimmed of fat (about 4 oz. each) (had it)
2/3 c. apple juice (1.69)
1/4 tsp. curry powder (had it)
1/4 tsp. black pepper (had it)
1 large golden delicious apple, unpeeled and cored (.34)
1/4 c. raisins (2.29)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Spray a large, nonstick pan with cooking spray and brown pork chops evenly on both sides, about 5-7 minutes per side.
Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, and place the pork chops in the dish. Pour the apple juice over the pork chops, and sprinkle with curry powder and pepper.
Slice the apple into 6 rings. Place one slice on each pork chop, and fill the center of each apple with an even amount of raisins. Cover and bake for one hour.
Turn heat back to 200 degrees, and continue baking for an additional 2 hours. The slow cooking tenderizes the pork chops. Check every so often to see if the apple juice hasn’t evaporated; you may need to add a little more to prevent the pork chops from drying out. Serve immediately. Serve with green beans.

Hawaiian Bacon Pizza

1 can refrigerated pizza dough (2.19)
(1/2 c barbecue sauce) (had it)
1 pkg real bacon pieces (from last week)
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained (.59)
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar

Spread crust on sprayed cookie sheet.
Cook for 8 min @400. Remove pizza crust
from oven. Spread BBQ sauce, bacon
pieces, pineapple, then cheese. Cook 5+
more min @ 400, until cheese melts.