This past weekend I found out just how naturally frugal some of my church friends are! A few weeks ago one of the women in our small group suggested a day trip to a ski resort in West Virginia. The decision-making cascade our group made from that invitation was exactly in line with what Kyle and I would have wanted to keep costs down!
Lodging: Even though we had to drive from NC well into WV, the plan was to leave at 4:30 AM, drive for 4.5 hours, ski until 4:30 PM, then drive back. We never even considered spending a night elsewhere, so we had no lodging costs. We spent the night before at my friend’s parents’ house and half our group spent the night after, too.
Transport: We had seven people going on the trip across two cars, so we split gas evenly.
Food: We all packed a breakfast and lunch and planned to get fast food during the drive back, so our food costs were as low as possible. In fact, we were so busy skiing that we skipped lunch, so we didn’t even have to stop for dinner.
Lift Tickets: By the time we got our plan together it was too late to buy discounted advance lift tickets, so we planned to buy the full-priced lift tickets at the resort. But I checked the resort’s website and saw that Costco members got a discount, so we bought most of our lift tickets at about 25% off before we left Durham. Once we got to the resort, another member of our group bought a voucher from another skier and we got our final lift ticket at about 35% of the full price. This was the biggest cost of the trip so it was nice to get a discount.
Major Equipment: Our only non-frugal choice was to rent boots and skis at the resort. We looked into renting equipment in Durham, but we didn’t think the price reduction was worth the room in the cars and risking not being able to exchange stuff that didn’t fit properly.
Minor Equipment: Kyle and I are not exactly accustomed to being in cold weather, so we had no snow-specific clothing. We just layered up underneath our rain-appropriate jackets and borrowed ski pants and goggles from some friends not going on the trip. We did buy some eyewear and a pair of pants for Kyle but those should be multi-use items.
In total, we spent $303.43 on this trip. It seems like a lot of money for seven runs down the slopes (we’re beginners! we went slow!) but I enjoyed trying something new and hanging out with friends for the day. Even ten hours in the car is pretty enjoyable when you’re with good people. I don’t like having to play the “is this worth it?” game so I was glad we minimized the costs as much as was reasonable. It was a nice relief for Kyle and I not to be the most frugal people in the group like we were on our Chicago trip with a similar group of people.
Also, next time I’m definitely going to take my camera on the slopes with me because I didn’t fall much at all and I wish I had action pictures!
When you pay for experiences, do you try to minimize the peripheral costs or just not worry about it? Are you more frugal than your friends or similar?