My wife has started to really enjoy drinking wine. I'm more of a liquor guy (neither of us likes beer), but she's started to really get to know different things about different types of wines, and whereas it was usually ‘white' or ‘red', she knows and is continuing to learn more and more about what's out there and what she likes.
One of her first big steps came last fall when she went on a weekend trip to Traverse City, MI. The surrounding area is home to many wineries (yes, Michigan has great wine) and was able to learn quite a bit. She went with her mom, sister, and aunt, and they had a great time.
Earlier in the year, she talked about what fun it was and how she really thought she'd miss it this year. I looked at her and asked why she didn't plan something with her sister. Her sister has had a bit of a rough patch, with a somewhat recent break-up, and I thought some bonding time would be great. They talked it over, agreed on a weekend, and started planning.
The original idea is that they would go up and stay at the nearby campground. They looked into hotels but given that it's peak summer season, they were around $250 per night, and that's pretty expensive. Given that they both love camping, that it was low cost, and that they knew the area and the campground, everybody was happy with the idea.
Except I came up with other ideas. I actually sat down and proposed the idea of re-visiting a hotel stay.
Here is why:
- A third person had been added – A mutual friend of theirs had got to talking about wine, and my wife and sister-in-law decided to see if she was interested. She was. This now meant that the costs of the trip could be split three ways.
- Camping takes away time – A girls-only weekend is fun, but there's not as much sitting around the fire or cooking camping meals as is part of a normal camping weekend. Just the act of setting up tents, air matresses, etc. and then tearing them down would take considerable time, time which I knew they would rather spend doing wine related activities.
Costs are not always what they seem – Even when I brought up these things, the restrictive price was noted as a remaining obstacle. I pointed out Priceline. I advised that they go and try to name their own price. My wife spent considerable time finding properties with the star rating that she was looking for, and was prepared to make an offer of $129 per night. Then, she stumbled across a ‘Priceline Instant' where they offered a deal of $145 per night. There was one particular hotel she was really gunning for, and her research (she was able to see the ‘parent company') gave her reason to think that was the hotel that was being offered (you don't know for sure until you sign up). They talked it over, she took a chance, and got exactly the hotel she was looking for. Between the extra person and the lower price, the cost per night per person went from $125 to $48 (plus fees). Not bad!
- She can afford it – As I've mentioned before, my wife runs a side hustle doing digital designs for invitations, thank yous and wall art. Her primary savings for this is our planned 2015 trip to Disney World, but her shop has been a greater success than she could have originally hoped for, so she's well ahead of the original target savings she had set.
- She deserves it – I know more than anybody that even though she doesn't go to work and bring home a paycheck, that she has a full time job taking care of our kids and our home. Even though we take trips for camping and such which certainly are vacations, I know that she deserves a break from it all (yes, even yours truly).
She's heading out this weekend and I hope they have a great time! With all the new savings, I have a feeling she'll be coming home with an extra bottle or two of wine!