saving money on the road … it’s possible to eat well and save money when you’re staying in a hotel

Hi.   Jeanne here.  From a Vegas hotel room overlooking the historic Strip …

I mentioned yesterday that we’re at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas this week.

We left home on Tuesday.  Got here on Wednesday afternoon.  And it’s been non-stop since we arrived.  Running from event to event.  Lots of walking.  Lots of site-seeing.  Lots of eating out.  Basically, we’re running on sensory overload these days.

obviously, this little Cowgirl takes her rodeo VERY seriously
obviously, this little Cowgirl takes her rodeo VERY seriously

And we’ve still got four days before we hit the road home.

You probably know that I stress out a little about food. And just thinking about all those restaurant meals … Not knowing where the food comes from.  Not having control over how its prepared.  Spending way too much money on food that we’re not sure the kids will eat.  Um … yeah … I can feel the cortisol coursing through my veins.

Think about it: breakfast out (for three plus a baby) costs on average about $30/meal … at a modestly priced diner.  Which, over the course of 8 days would run you at least $240.

Plus snacks (A soft pretzel at the rodeo is $3.  A bag of popcorn is also $3.  A muffin at Starbucks can run you $3.95) … So let’s assume that everyone gets one or two snacks a day … about $20/day in snacks, for 8 days … add $160.

That’s $400 … just for snacks and breakfast.

So we made a simple decision that has turned into about $300 worth of savings for this adventure … and gone a long way to ensuring that the we are all eating at least one good and good for you meal a day, plus snacks.

You see, we arrived on Wednesday afternoon.  And as the littles and I settled into the hotel, the Cowboy went on a trip to Whole Foods.  He bought $95 worth of groceries

  • six 6 oz containers of brown cow cream on top yogurt (on sale for $.47/container)
  • 2 nice loaves of sourdough bread from the bakery ($2.69/each)
  • a 1 lb wedge of Uni Kaabo Robusto cheese ($16.99)
  • a half gallon of organic milk ($3.99)
  • a box of Arrowhead Mills organic whole grain cereal ($4.99)
  • some roast beef and turkey from the deli (I forgot to look at label price before it got thrown away … must have been around $6 or $7, I think),
  • six organic apples ($2.69/lb)
  • a 1 lb container of pre-washed and cut carrots & broccoli ($4.99)
  • a box of 18 assorted Larabars ($36.00) – NOTE: this same assorted box is available at Costco for about $14.99 …we don’t usually pay retail for Larabars, but sometimes … you gotta do, what you gotta do.
  • a pint of fresh guacamole ($6.99)
  • and a bag of fresh made tortilla chips from the deli ($4.27)

And that’s it.  About $95 worth of groceries.

Obviously, he wasn’t price-shopping.  And he wasn’t cutting corners.  These are full-priced (sometimes over-priced) items.  And every one is delicious … fairly nutritious … and every one is a treat we don’t often get at home (so we still feel like we’re on vacation).  But this is breakfast and snacks for four people (sandwiches, cereals, yogurts for breakfast … apples and larabars make great portable snacks and tortilla chips for munching while we’re in between events at the hotel room), for 8 days, without having to succumb to Denny’s or IHOP or some unnamed diner where the kids will eat four bites and be hungry half an hour later.

I know they’ll have at least something in their bellies that’s good and good for them.  And we’re saving more than $300  … $300 that could be spent on something a little more interesting than not-so-nourishing food …like maybe a downpayment on a greenhouse?

a gal can dream, can’t she? (this is custom greenhouse by the folks at Frontier Rustic Designs, in Norris, MT)

Hmmmm … I’m going to have ask the Cowboy about that!

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