A bit of a mixed up post this week – one which saw us celebrate an anniversary of sorts, spend a lot of money on what’s important to us while trying to avoid the mindless spends, and also win 2:0 against British Airways. (Although they did get us there and back in one piece, on time and luggage intact – worth a point, maybe….?).
This little corner of cyberspace I’ve been carving out is now 6 months old and I am still amazed to find I’m not talking to myself. Being able to connect with like-minded people has been invaluable, cliched as it may sound – I hope this is helping you as much as it is helping me.
Forgive the little Oscar speech – it’s not long, I promise, but I do want to say a big thank you to everyone who has been reading and for all the thoughtful comments that have been written here plus the support shown on Twitter @Firethe9to5
And as if to celebrate this little milestone, last week brought some very welcome surprises.
Monday saw this post being featured on Camp FIRE Finance. (If you haven’t already visited, head on over there and take a look – you’ll find a solid set of informative articles and resources on all things FIRE related).
If you were introduced to this blog from one of those routes, welcome and thank you for returning! I hope you find more of interest and if you want to join the conversation, please jump in.
The View From The Cheap Seats
So…. nearly a week since our holiday ended and we are safely home and holding off reality as much as we can. School Summer holidays are in their final week and I’m using up some extra time off to maximise my break from the office. All is well at Casa Firethe9to5 😊.
An Orlando holiday from the UK is not cheap by any means but we found ways to reduce the cost wherever we could on the things that weren’t important to us. So paying extra for theme park fast passes to avoid the queues was a definite yes, while paying the £225 ransom to guarantee seats together on the plane was a big fat no.
Despite not paying this charge, we set a reminder for check-in 24 hours before departure and not only did we get seats together, we bagged the emergency exit extra legroom seats. For free 😄 (1 : 0)
A few months ago the BBC reported:
“British Airways is introducing a boarding policy that means those buying the cheapest seats will be called last.
“From 12 December, passengers will be assigned a number between 1-5 printed on boarding passes, with the highest figure reserved for economy fares.”
There was some uproar at the time with calls of an embarrassing class system and everyone knowing who paid least.
Of course we paid the lowest we could for the plane tickets. Holiday memories last a lifetime but the plane journeys blend into each other and are forgotten almost instantly. So we duly boarded last.
Admittedly, we would love to upgrade to Business or First, who wouldn’t? But since that’s not an option, my eldest and I saw our Group 5 status as a badge of honour and walked proudly last down the aisle, pitying all the poor saps who paid more for the same (or worse) seats as us.
For me the benefit is obvious, but for my son it stems from the fact that since around age 14, I have given him the holiday reigns and tasked him with finding the best hotels, flights and transfers to fit a tight budget.
Travel is his passion and he knows the better deal he finds, the more holidays he will get. He spends hours every month scouring the internet for the best options. He knows which days prices are likely to be lower with which airlines or hotel groups, and what airports are cheapest departing to particular destinations. You might be surprised at the differences in pricing he has found.
It’s a win-win for me since I get the best value holiday there is with none of the work. And watch this space as I may have a budding “travel consultant entrepreneur” on my hands.
Something For Nothing…
The WiFi on the plane was surprisingly good. Enough for the boys to watch YouTube with no lagging which is high praise indeed. And once the free hour had passed, with the ingenuity only seen in teens separated from their devices, they found a loophole which gave us free WiFi the whole way. (That’s 2 : 0, thank you very much BA 😀).
…And A Little Money Saving
This isn’t really a blog that focuses on money saving ideas or being frugal (although that is a cornerstone of my route to financial independence – other people just write it better). But just this once I will share a few tips that saved a small fortune.
- We were room only in the hotel so stocked up on snacks, drinks and fruit from a nearby supermarket for cheap breakfasts (and a bottle of vino for me for the evenings 😉)
- The cheapest way to eat a main meal was to order online from local takeaways and have it delivered to the hotel – room service at a fraction of the hotel prices with a wide variety of options.
- Cold drinking water is free at the theme parks and you can get your bottles filled at any drinks station. You can take your own snacks in too.
- Using Uber every day was cheaper than hiring a car and paying daily parking. Using the shuttles costs nothing but a big investment of time.
- Total spend on souvenirs, Mickey Mouse Ears and Harry Potter wands = zero. I was astounded to see what other people were buying…. I mean, I’m not here to judge but no wonder the average person’s finances are the way they are.
I have to be honest, my usual attitude on holiday is what the hell, let’s have a great time no matter the cost. But things are changing. The closer I get to financial independence, the more tantalisingly within reach is the end goal and the more focused I become.
I mean, I would never have bought those Mickey Mouse Ears…. they wouldn’t suit me anyway.
Back To Work…?
So back in Blighty once more – I refuse to think about work until the morning of my return. I have never done this total switch-off before, but now my FU fund is firmly in place I am putting my well-being first and I can tell you – it feels great.
I have been dropped from The Tower of Terror, turned upside down at 73mph on Mako and terrified to a quivering wreck on Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey (….they let kids on this thing???)
The work stress has melted away with each twist and turn and been left in a puddle at Typhoon Lagoon. Sadly, the enforced closeness of three people in one hotel room has also dissipated. 24/7 to zero in one slam of the front door – each has now retreated to their own room and I’m left with the run of the house.
Not so bad after all, now I come to mention it.