Friday, November 14, 2008

My Non-Frugal Thanksgiving Plan (Read: Bad Decisions)

Of course, as soon as I write about how I keep my credit card debt a secret from my friends and family, I'm confronted with a scenario of how it's biting me in my patootie.

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My older sister is visiting me for 5 days for Thanksgiving. Just as a background: My big sis has always been more responsible with her money than I, so she doesn't have the kind of debt that I do. She has much more discretionary income than I do. The problem is, she's not totally aware of my debt level and wants to do expensive stuff that I probably can't shouldn't afford. In her defense, I used to do all these expensive stuff with her in the past which explains why I'm up to my eyeballs in credit card debt. Unfortunately, I can't seem to tell her that I can't afford to do those kinds of things anymore.

Wimp Out Mistake #1: My sister wanted to go to the Four Seasons Resort for Thanksgiving dinner, which would have cost $110/person (not including tax, tip and alcohol). I managed to put my foot down and said absolutely not. But... I compromised and we're going to a chi-chi restaurant that serves a prix fixe Thanksgiving meal for $54/person instead. Sigh...

Wimp Out Mistake #2: I live in a 1 BR and know we will go stir crazy. I was looking up for stuff my sister and I can do for relatively cheaply during the 5 days. I asked my sister what she was interested in doing while she's out here.

Unfortunately, a friend sent us information about a $119/night deal at the Venetian. Vegas is about a 5 hour drive from where I live and my sister seemed eager to go for at least an overnight stay.

I love Vegas but I don't think I can afford this trip without dipping into my savings. I really didn't want to do this but I felt compelled to be a gracious hostess and I agreed to do the Vegas thing.

Unfortunately, the $119/night deal isn't available during the weekend of Thanksgiving and costs $250/night (not incl. tax). (Surprise, surprise.) We ended up booking a room at the Bellagio instead for.... drumroll $216.91/night (incl. tax). If you take into account gas (estimate $80), I'm looking to spend $150 for my share. And this doesn't include food or entertainment. Sigh.

This is my problem since I can't seem to tell my sister that I can't afford to do any of this stuff. I'll just need to look at my budget and see where I can squeeze extra money. I'm also expecting to get some business travel expenses reimbursed so I may be able to afford this.

Sigh. Oh well. Viva Las Vegas and have a great weekend folks!

10 comments:

Bouncing Back said...

Money and families are tough. I feel your pain. BUT that being said, you really have to find a way to stand up to your sister and not give in to these expensive outings (I know easier said than done).

This is your family, you don't need to be a gracious hostess at all. Your trip is not taking into account, food, gas, gambling money, entertainment, you could rack up a huge bill. You don't need to entertain your sister when she comes to town for the holiday, she should be able to find entertainment on her own! Maybe your sister can go on this Vegas trip with her friend who sent her the link and you can stay home.

Can't you plead some urgent work project that requires you be home and available? good luck and if you do go, have a good time anyway.

MoneyMateKate said...

Why don't you pick a midrange casino hotel instead of the top? Maybe one without a reputation for spa treatments, which you know she'll want to do?

Or what about going to another casino town that doesn't have so many opportunities to blow ridiculous amounts of money? It's not the hotel that's going to kill you - it's the lavish restaurants, shows, spas, boutiques, and other stuff that I'm worried you'll indulge in because you don't want to bring up your financial priorities.

Sharon Rose said...

Hi there-what a tricky dilemma for you. I suppose its 99% certain this is where you are booked in at now, so really if you can try and trim other areas of your budget and maybe use some savings, then you could consider leaving the credit card at home. This would be an achievement too. good luck for a solution to this situation, keep us updated!

Moving on up! said...

Ouch! That's expensive. Bring $20 for gambling and try to keep it as long as you can. That's what I do. I'm cheap.

Miss M said...

My family doesn't know what kind of debt I got myself into and I want to keep it that way. My mom knows I started a blog so she asked for the link the other day, I had to tell her no! I'm taking those secrets to the grave.

I haven't been to vegas in years, used to go with my best friend and live it up. It's so expensive between the hotel, the gas, the food and going out - I was living that life on credit.

Anonymous said...

That seems steep for a hotel stay. Today's LA times travel section spotlighted tons of deals for the thanksgiving weekend, including high-end hotels. Maybe you still have time to check out deals and rebook?

Anonymous said...

Anon commenter again - Actually the vegas deals were highlighted on the LA times travel blog. I believe they also spotlighted some deals at the bellagio.

Shtinkykat said...

Dear All Readers: Thanks for your comments. I know I have to put my foot down in a more firm way with my family. But, upon further reflection, I may be using my sister as a scapegoat for this non-frugal planning. As some of you have suggested, I could've booked a cheaper hotel or planned to do something more frugal. But I agreed to go to Vegas and to stay at Bellagio because I want to get away and stay at a luxe hotel(as much as my sister does). This is an internal struggle of competing needs and wants, doing the right thing vs. the fun thing. Again, bad decisions create bad debt and will be my ongoing demon to battle.

Thanks for pointing out the LA Times blog. I checked out some of the deals but a lot of them were book 2 nights to get 3rd free or the night we're staying was unavailable. This is a great resource though that I will be referring to in in the future.

jpkittie said...

I wish you luck in being strong... you could always use the excuse that you want to save some extra $ for Christmas? Or that you are nervous with all the 'economy woes' that you just prefer to hold on to your money....

we keep our debt to ourself too - thank goodness to blogging, it makes me feel better to be able to talk to someone!

I wish I did have some good advice to give - all I can say is to be strong! it is tough...

debtfree2009 said...

I have no advice for you just wanted to say that I understand the struggle you have internally. I too want debt paid off but I also want to continue to enjoy the life I have.