Cash Cow Roundup – It’s Time for a FREE Vacation

“We’re going on a’cation!”

This is what our nephew says when he thinks that he is going on vacation (apparently most places qualify as vacation when you are 2…), and Jacob and I think it’s adorable.

It’s been our favorite quote for the past couple weeks as we prepare for our very first real vacation as a couple.

Some of you have been around CCC long enough to know that we didn’t go anywhere extravagant on our honeymoon, and we spent less than $200. We were both in school and in debt, so we opted for a cheap honeymoon in exchange for a chance to get out of debt more quickly.

This decision paid off, and within 7 months of marriage we had paid off our all of our debt and were on to bigger and better things.

So now that we are out of debt and on our way to financial freedom, we have decided to take a nice 8-day vacation with Jacob’s family.

After a brief stop in Louisiana, we’ll be headed on a tour of Texas, traveling to Dallas, Houston, Galveston, San Antonio, and Austin. It will be a nice mix of scenery and we haven’t yet been to many of the cities.

We’ve mapped out our trail, hotels, meals, and entertainment, all for a *very reasonable price*.

And by reasonable I mean to say that our hotels and flights were free (ok, $10 after taxes). We’ll be staying in a mixture of Marriott properties and Hyatt properties, both of which offer free breakfast and a multitude of other perks.

“How?”, you say?

Well, surely you already know. We travel hacked our way to free!

For those interested in learning more about the process, we just launched another blog called Tightwad Travelers, where we detail our travel secrets. We’ll be posting full details about the trip in the coming week over there, so stay tuned.

All meals were purchased in advance for 50% off on Groupon. We rarely eat out, but at half price, we’ve decided to live it up. We’ll be trying a smattering of ethnic cuisine, including highly rated Mediterranean, Colombian, Mexican, and BBQ joints. We’re even going to try a food truck or two in Austin. And I, for one, am excited about not cooking a meal for a whole week!

95+% of entertainment was also purchased in advance for about 70% off through Groupon and a few other avenues. Highlights include Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, indoor trampoline park, improv comedy tour, Oklahoma the musical, several movie theater outings, bowling, mini golf, real golf, swimming, and of course … an after-hours ghost tour.

We’ll be getting a lot of fun for very little money.

Cash Cow Roundup

So, as we depart on our tour de Texas, we leave you with a list of what we’ve been reading the past couple weeks.

Personal Finance

1. Kristin at Brokepedia is talking about Money and Clothes

Kristin’s article not only provides some great insight into how to make your clothing last longer, but also had me in stitches. She writes in a way that will brighten anyone’s day.

She also brings up a very important question that we have not yet addressed on Cash Cow Couple. Should you be paying more for higher quality brands that are supposed to last longer?

In this article, she is obviously talking about clothing, but the concept applies to almost everything that can be bought.

When Jacob and I discuss this question we always come to the same conclusion.

  1. Just because something costs more doesn’t mean it is better quality. Many times, it’s just quality marketing.
  2. When there is a difference in build quality, it’s usually in bigger ticket items. In other words, buying your name brand rice for $2.99 instead of the great value variety for $1.49 is probably ignorant.
  3. Everything can be bought at a discount if you shop smart, so there is no excuse to pay full price, even for a high quality item. Most rich people never stop buying, making it easy to find high quality, used goods.

2. Natalie at Financegirl encourages readers to talk about money with your better half.

Natalie points out that it’s not the most exciting or comfortable conversation to have with your special someone, but it’s an unavoidable and imperative discussion to have in order to secure your financial future. You can read our take on the matter, too.

3. G.E. Miller at 20 Something Finance thinks that DIY oil changes aren’t worth it

Jacob is really good at knowing when to DIY and when to buy. He has always made the claim that oil changes aren’t worth the time. G.E. Miller does a great job of detailing why oil changes are best left to the professionals.

In the article, he quotes about $34-$45 for an oil change. However, we’ve found you can find them a lot cheaper if you look around. It’s not uncommon for us to find basic oil changes in the range of $20-$25, which makes it a no-brainer.

4.  Brian at Money Crashers shares a few transportation options that are cheaper than owning a car

I thought I knew what this article was going to be about. Boy was I wrong, which is why I wanted to share it with you today.

The article is about a couple new ideas in the transportation market. Currently the ideas only work in and around big cities, but it will be interesting to see if services like ride sharing and car sharing are successful long term and if the businesses expand into smaller cities.

For more useful info on this topic, see what our friend Harry is doing on Ride-Share Guy.

5. Mark the Money Saving Dude shared a monster post full of money saving ideas

Thanks for including us, Mark!

Health and Wellness


  • Unsurprisingly, technical analysis probably can’t help investors time the market. (I hinted at that last week)
  • Everyone is telling you to rebalance your investment portfolio each year, except this guy.

Books I’ll Be Reading on Vacation:

See a trend here? Behavioral economics and psychology, here I come!

1. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.

2. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.

3. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

What have you read lately?

Leave a Reply

9 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
9 Comment authors
Jake WallCat@BudgetBlondeKayla @ Red Debted StepchildMichelleNate @ The Frugal Soldier Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Jake Wall
Jake Wall

Thanks for the link to the RideshareGuy, I was going to use Lyft to get a discounted ride and I ended up signing up to become a driver. Harry posts tons of useful info for drivers, including a promo code for Lyft that gives you bonus cash when you sign up.


Oooh have so so much fun!!!!

Kayla @ Red Debted Stepchild
Kayla @ Red Debted Stepchild

Enjoy your trip! Hope those groupon deals pay off and you have a great time and enjoy some amazing food and entertainment!


I have never really looked at groupon for things like eating before when traveling. I should really add that to my routine. We travel enough, and we could surely save some money that way!

Nate @ The Frugal Soldier
Nate @ The Frugal Soldier

I am looking forward to staying connected with your new blog. I hope you have a great time. That low cost honeymoon seems to still be reaping rewards even until now. Your frugal ways are inspiring.

Melanie @ My Alternate Life
Melanie @ My Alternate Life

I hope you guys have a great vacation! You guys deserve it. Sounds like a fun adventure. Report back with photos and stories. 🙂


I love travel hacks to save money. Will have to spend some time on your new blog to gain more knowledge. Good idea on using Groupon, I haven’t thought about that.

Kristin @ Brokepedia
Kristin @ Brokepedia

Woop! Thanks for the shout and the kind words! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the matter, too 🙂

Natalie @ Financegirl
Natalie @ Financegirl

Thanks so much for the love! Looks like we both enjoyed each others posts this week 🙂 I hope you have a fantastic vacation! And by the way, it is inspiring to hear you opted for a low cost honeymoon in favor of getting out of debt quicker – I love it!