1. Welcome to VegasMessageBoard
    It appears you are visiting our community as a guest.
    In order to view full-size images, participate in discussions, vote in polls, etc, you will need to Log in or Register.

Been thinking.. I'm not cheap.. somewhat frugal.. I don't want too be gouged

Discussion in 'Las Vegas for the Frugal (not Cheap)' started by Vegabound, Jul 9, 2018.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. rsees

    rsees Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    214
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    20
    All I know is have learned a lot on this sight as to saving money in Vegas via the ACG and LVA books. Coupons make me happy. I do think a lot has changed recently for the budget minded tourist. I.E. parking fees, resort fees, and now room rates... I miss the Sahara and Riviera!
     
  2. Rookies11

    Rookies11 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    Messages:
    346
    Location:
    Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    11
    Some excellent info here- especially related to planning & researching. To me, it doesn't matter, whether you are coming to Vegas as a millionaire or a penny slot player.

    YOU decide the appropriateness of every purchase. For myself, if I go to fine dining steak houses at home, in my huge city. I expect to pay $125-$150/per for Fillet, sides, Dessert and a couple of modest drinks. (OR, I cut & prepare it, when it's on sale, for about $7/ steak.)

    So, when I go to Vegas, I am absolutely NOT jumping to $250-$500. I am never going to see skin or some party establishment and pay $1k for bottle service!

    NEVER! (And, I can afford it.)

    Modestly priced places + the In n Outs or Steak Shakes are fine with me, plus hauling groceries in from Albertson's. Entertainment & Gambling are in the same evaluation. $100 to see Cirque? Ok. $500 + to see Lady Gaga- never. Although, I have paid $500 for a SB tix before.

    All relative.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. mike mc

    mike mc High-Roller

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Messages:
    946
    Location:
    East of Vegas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    10
    I always look for deal, coupons,groupons, and sales Right now have a trip set up 4 guys in Dec Jet Blue from Boston RT non stop 139.00 each way $1112, 4 nights with 2 rooms at Paris I'm comped, so $148 in resort fees, other room$318.00 {BTW I re booked 4x already to save another $50 ], total room fees $466.00 plus i have over $100 RC which on back end i will use on room charges. so with all charges divide by 4 comes to less than $370 PP. I have My Vegas bogo, along with HH 1/2 price entrees to offset some meals.Earl of Sammich, Blondie's and Ellis island for breakfast, Stage Door for $1 beers. Since the wives are not coming no pool,show expenses. LOL. Half the fun is the chase IMO to save more money to Gamble. We may splurge on a Knights came
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Downtown Fan

    Downtown Fan Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    133
    Location:
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    13
    My thought exactly. We are not all whales and come from different areas of the country. A $60 steak to you may not be much but for others, it is double what we might pay at a good steakhouse. Found the "why bother going" comment to be quite snarky.
     
    • Agree Agree x 6
  5. Lady Fortuna

    Lady Fortuna VIP Dolphin

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2012
    Messages:
    1,360
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    5
    The only thing I splurge on in Vegas, is the amount of nights I stay (19 on average). For everything else I enjoy finding the better deals, it's part of the fun for me.

    Lucky for me, I like places like Peppermill, Hash House a Go Go, Cheesecake Factory, Ocean One Grille or Grand Lux and even Earl of Sandwich, Panda Express or Shake Shack. For me they are all typical Vegas (as we don't have them at home) and very affordable.

    On my first day in Vegas, I go to Walgreens to stock up on (alcoholic) beverages and snacks and I always leave my room with a drink in my hand. Most days after breakfast, I will go to Walgreens to get a $2 slushy and spike it with my own alcohol. I drink for free when I gamble. And usually (but unfortunately not upcoming trip) I join the Thirsty Third Thursday Pub Crawl Downtown (every 3rd Thursday of the month) for only $20, including 6 drinks and 50% off food. And I go to Happy Hours.

    For free shows and - buffets I use MyVegas rewards and for other entertainment, I look for free things like dueling pianos or karaoke, or other live entertainment at the casino bars. The only money I spend on entertainment, is on gambling.

    For transport I like to walk (if possible distance-wise), use the free trams between Bellagio - Aria - Park MGM and between Excalibur - Luxor - Mandalay Bay, use the free shuttles from the Strip to Gold Coast or Sam's Town and between Sam's Town and Downtown, I use the Monorail with a MyVegas BOGO, or take bus or Uber.

    This is how I enjoy Vegas, doesn't matter my budget for the trip, I just like it this way. It makes me feel like a winner.

    Imo things will always change and when it comes to prices, they will always go up and when it comes to odds, they will always go down. You can't keep comparing to how it was and say how it is now is bad. Or refusing to take part in things how they are now, in order to make a point of not agreeing. You just can't stop things from changing. People also earn more and can afford more luxury than 20-30 years ago. Prices are going up, especially for luxury things, everywhere in the world, not only in Vegas. And yes, prices in Vegas are 2-3x higher than in other places, but I can only imagine the price per m2 (square foot?) you have to pay, for an establishment on the Strip?! There is still something for everyone and for every kind of budget in Vegas, you just have to find YOUR way, what makes YOU happy and what YOU can afford.
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Love Love x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. pebbles

    pebbles VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    3,663
    Location:
    Cumbria, UK
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    32
    • Like Like x 1
    • Love Love x 1
  7. JTJTJTJT

    JTJTJTJT Tourist

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    80
    I no longer need to be frugal in Vegas but its hard to break the habit after coming more than 30 years. And its a fun challenge to avoid paying or get cheap deals for air, rooms, food, parking, resort fees, etc. Mlife and Total rewards credit cards get me free parking, Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt credit cards for free nights on Fridays and Saturdays when the rates are normally high and harder to get comped. Airline credit cards like AAdvantage can take the signup points and cancel before the annual fee got me a free flight on my trip. Most of the resort fees i can cover with the Mlife and TR reward credits.

    So in an upcoming trip this month will stay seven nights free, but need to checkin four times. 2 myvegas nights at MGM, 3 free at Bally's, and Friday and Saturday are annual free nights from the Hyatt and Marriot cards that I have to burn anyway staying at NYNY and some kind of Marriot. Have 3 free meals from myvegas, and will rent a car for 210 (costco has best rates) so will be easy to find reasonable food prices off strip. Only problem is my wife refuses to come on these cheapskate trips with multiple check ins but we will go together in April. Some day when I retire I would like to stay for a long trip like Lady Fortuna does.

    Normally I check prices and rebook car rentals and rooms until I leave, but rental car prices have gone up not down since I booked like 3 weeks ago and can't get better rates on comped rooms.
    Vegas has changed a lot since I started coming, higher room prices, resort fees, parking, big taxes on everything, motivate me to keep digging for deals.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Drc517

    Drc517 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    Messages:
    112
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    24
    This thread made me reflect of the situation I got into recently. Long story short, I’ve been very very frugal from what I can afford and used to move casino for that comp room when it won’t hurt me just to pay up. Ever since I got con on a risky investment, it made me fell thankful to just pay for a $300 steak when it’s written black and white before I order or just paying for “convenience “ in the name of having fun.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. vegasnut

    vegasnut VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,593
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    30
    you copycat (except for the slushies):D:thumbsup:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
    Messages:
    4,334
    Location:
    averill park (near albany) ny
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    29
    I've always been on the frugal side. And the hard part these days is that the frugal side of Vegas is gone. There was always the "It's only money" upscale side, and that is alive and well, but that is really what is left in Vegas.
    So, those of us who were attracted to Vegas because it was a cheap place to have fun are sad to lose the good old days, especially those of us who thought that the values would last.
    One aspect not covered here is that we thought that finding out the bargains on rooms and food and transportation and coupon runs and newbie freeplay, was part of the game we played against the casinos. We got all we could and gave as little as possible. The casino tried to lure us in and take it all back. We got all the bling. Our job was to beat the casino.
    We hope it would be a friendly game. Like live poker.
    I can't drink like I did when I was younger. But I also figured about $40 a day in free alcohol as part of Vegas value. Those were at the old prices. That alone made it a great, frugal deal.
    Two years ago marked my final frugal trip. I had a free flight and went for 21 days. I paid on average (even with weekends and taxes and fees) $28 a night for lodging. I had a few room snacks, but I only paid for 3 real meals, two of them because my sons who met me wanted a particular upscale restaurant, one because I was in Oatman with burros and no poker table or VP machine. I did rent a car for the Laughlin part. It was luxury. This next trip I'll take a shuttle but I might rent for one day to hike Grapevine Canyon. I saw some free shows and some low priced shows. My formula for gambling was always to figure $100 a day for my average trip anywhere, take what Vegas cost, and the rest was my bankroll. So, I could not lose. I'd go for long periods because the airfare was the largest expense.
    Boyd just dropped me after that trip two years ago when Orleans gave me 2 free nights and Sam's 3. I played exactly the same as I always did. Now they have basically dropped every every tourist who comes for a few days.
    I went to Blackhawk CO last year. But I'm going to Vegas/Laughlin on Tuesday for a 24 day trip. No room comps, but I did manage with early booking to get my average room price down to what I would pay here, about $40-$50 dollars. And I'll be staying a long while at the Golden Nugget in Laughlin. I'm old, have health issues, can't jump around every few days for deals. I'm happy to have a little luxury. I'll stay a few days downtown at each end just to make the Aloha shuttle to Laughlin easy to schedule.
    I'll stay a weekend with my nephew at Skyline both because it is close to our relatives and because I liked the old feel of the VP there.
    I might play the cheap morning poker tournament at Sam's but I won't pump coins, even full pay deuces nickels, into any machines there or at any Boyd property. Downtown I got a good price at the Four Queens. I love the Golden Nugget poker there too. So, I'll get a taste.
    I can get a better limit poker game now just forty minutes from home. However, what I don't get anywhere other than Vegas is the cosmopolitan nature of the poker table. At a limit game at the Nugget there are people from all around the world and you can talk, catch their stories, enjoy their company.
    That is why I play live poker.
    I'll also get some full pay VP, even 10/7 DB and we don't' get that in local casinos. But it is hardly worth all the expense of the trip for just a few percentage points on VP.
    The year I retired I went to Vegas 5 times.
    Now I may go every few years . I don't quite get the scorn for folks like me. Some people are actually really angry that I might be taking advantage of the casino. But I am frugal everywhere. We changed what we did in Florida when Bush's recession ended and the Obama era drove up rentals.
    We rented an entire gated house in Heredia, Costa Rica for $35 a night, two bedrooms, full laundry, full kitchen, nice quiet town, safe and in an easy and cheap Uber drive to our Spanish classes. I went to Spain last year for 11 days, air and housing cost me $1100.
    There are plenty of deals in the world and gambling is not the only thing that excites my mind.
    And sometimes, especially with my wife, I pay to travel upscale.
    But the reason we frugal people don't do that is it then limits our travel. There is just so much money in the budget. These comments like "why don't you just stay home" or "go drink at Walmart" are just snarky. But that is what American is now. Everyone who is the least bit different, gets a snarky scorn. The correct response is, "Sorry you can't do what you once did on the money you spent then.
    Maybe things will lighten up again. Or maybe other venues will decide to try for the Vegas gambler's buck. Good luck" On the other hand I don't want to convert the "It's only money " folks because as Gherig, the old card counting blackjack player used to say a couple of decades, "Somebody has got to pay the light bill." Say, am I so old that I'm the only one who remembers Gherig? He was quite the snarky fellow.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Love Love x 1
  11. ddechenne

    ddechenne Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 26, 2015
    Messages:
    104
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    30
    Hey Dewey, good to see you posting! We still go to LV once a year—sometimes twice—been staying at The Cal or similar. Recently we have tried to go once a year to stay out at the Henderson Fiesta—wife’s favorite bingo hall (all paper, no machines) and they have 10/7 DB which I play. No comps, but we are extreme low rollers, so don’t expect them.

    We love Laughlin and go there on a Riverside junket once a year or so—getting so we enjoy Laughlin better than LV, but that means we are just showing our age probably.

    One question, if I might— what is the “Aloha Shuttle”. We have often talked of flying into LV on SWA, where we usually have free flights off of their credit card and signup bonuses, but assumed we would rent a car to get to Laughlin. Is the Aloha Shuttle an alternative way or am I confused.

    Again, good to see you on here!
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  12. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
    Messages:
    4,334
    Location:
    averill park (near albany) ny
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    29
    My first experience. There were some bad reviews, but the clerk told me they never leave people stranded at the airport. However, there are issues if your plane is delayed. I think it also leaves from the Silver Sevens, but I'll be coming in from a few nights in downtown. I always hated renting cars. Too many issues and they make me nervous. Also. it is way expensive because I am going to Laughlin from 19 Oct until 1 Nov. I lost an eye this summer and while I'm legal, I don't want to drive. And then once I get to Laughlin, I'm pretty well playing poker in the Colorado Belle area. Besides, I'm old and out of shape, but I can walk all of Laughlin. Roundtrip it cost me $110. It would be about $44 more to get my money back if I have to cancel. That did not seem a good bet to me. I just booked on the 11th, but some have talked about getting shut out on busy days. Two trips a day each way. I'll put the website, but call them. The schedule page is obscured by a huge photo.

    https://www.visitlaughlin.com/listing/aloha-airport-express/32853/

    There is another shuttle. TriState. They too have a couple bad reviews. I forgot why I finally went with Aloha. I'll let you know how it all works out. At $110, the cost is just a bit more than the gas for that long trip. I ride 5 plus hours from Albany to Vegas, and I did not want to wonder about delays. So, I booked a few nights at the Four queens on my way in . The WAX at the old guy price of a dollar is easy and convenient. it will get me to the airport in plenty of time to be on time. On the way back I'm going out Boulder to Skyline to conver the weekend and be with relatives living nearby, and then back to the Four Queens before heading back to the airport for my longer flight home. Southwest did not offer direct Alb-Vegas on the 6th of November so I have to stop in Denver and it adds an hour to the flight. Everything gets "improved" but not in my favor.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. ddechenne

    ddechenne Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 26, 2015
    Messages:
    104
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    30
    Thanks Dewey, have a great trip!
     
  14. kkinwi

    kkinwi VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2016
    Messages:
    1,344
    Location:
    Northern WI
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    80
    Great post Dewey! I remember my longer trips just after retirement.....I am just managing 4-7 days now because of grandchildren and a part time job!
    Re: Aloha shuttle: I have used a number of times, and have had nothing but great experiences. I do Laughlin partway thru my Vegas trips, so no issues with plane delays. They are on time, courteous and clean vans.
    Once I get to Laughlin, I walk everywhere, so the hassle of driving out of Vegas is not an issue.
    Good luck on your adventure!
     
  15. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
    Messages:
    4,334
    Location:
    averill park (near albany) ny
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    29
    Thanks Kikinwi, It is helpful just now to reassured. Also, if this works, it may bring me out to Laughlin more often. I will have Vegas on both ends. Airplanes are just too often delayed lately. Even SW. My son and family came up from Chicago on two different days and both flights had small delays. Besides, I like a taste of Vegas, just not those weekend prices. They are deal breakers.
     
  16. Valgal

    Valgal VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Messages:
    3,839
    Location:
    Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    18
    Good luck @dewey089 I enjoy reading all your suggestions on being frugal and your TRs. Sorry that you get snarked at. We should all be able to voice how we do Vegas and shouldn't be criticized for it. I try to blend my trip with a little splurges and a lot of frugality.
     
    Caesars Palace My 59th Birthday - but who's counting?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. smerrian

    smerrian View from Bally's

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2014
    Messages:
    5,313
    Location:
    South Jersey
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    50
    I don't get the snarky-ness. Being frugal is just getting the best price. It does not mean that you're sacrificing quality in any way, unless you're willing to. Sacrificing quality to sub-standard just for price...that's being cheap. I think being frugal is being smart.
    I think @dewey089 is a bit pessimistic. There are still a lot of great deals in LV. Start with the ACG and the LVA-MRB. Tons of gaming coupons that pay for the books. Tons of buffet coupons that you couldn't even use all of them in a month. A little gambling...free drinks and free entertainment abound. Deals on food...everywhere, especially if you're off-Strip. Airfare; apply for an airline credit card and get enough miles for 2 free flights. Then do it in your spouse's name for 2 more. Then do it with another airline 2 more times. I haven't paid for a flight in years. Save your money for gambling...then the rooms become free. It's still a smorgasbord of cheap fun.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
  18. Harry Lyme

    Harry Lyme VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2014
    Messages:
    1,212
    Location:
    Southeastern PA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    4
    I don't think you can complain about diminishing returns and value in Vegas and not appreciate people trying to seize a good deal here and there. I said it before and I'll say it again: I'm not spending more just because I'm in Vegas, or wherever. As long as it doesn't affect my ability to enjoy my trip and do what I like, I'll save where I can.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  19. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
    Messages:
    4,334
    Location:
    averill park (near albany) ny
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    29
    I hope you are right smerrian. I'd like to think that the deals will happen again. I can't speak for the LVA. The last one I bought was picked out of my back pocket in downtown before I used any of the coupons. And I decided to not be carrying it around anymore. However, I always had American Casino Guide coupons. As you probably know, I wrote an article in the book for about six years.
    Many of the good deals on the coupons are for new members. I'm not new anywhere.
    If you expect to get a deal on free rooms from the ACG, virtually all of those deals have dried up.
    I see you go with a spouse. I go solo. So most of the 2 for 1 deals don't apply to me. Now I can call and see if they will take half off, but sometimes what they have told me on the phone is not true when I get there.
    Many of the other deals are 2 for 1 as well. And the deal on MacKing will not cost what you think it will cost when you see the coupon. It will be a discount, but not free.
    The best solo coupons were the Boyd deals on buffets. 200 points, free buffet, keep the points. Well, as you know earning 200 points now as a tourist on the low level card is not an easy task. So all those just don't seem to work for me. I have always been Ruby. Right on the coupon now it says the better deals are not for Ruby. So, they are really for regulars who will pay for the coupon with elevated slot play over the course of the year. They are not come on coupons, but reward coupons for those who are not frugal.
    As I look down the list, I can use some of the matchplay, and that is about it. I can pay for the book easily, in fact I find it a grand way to easily find information around the country on what games are offered, and a super way to get the actual phone number without those pesky discounters slipping about the official sites on a search to sell me rooms.
    I like the theaters at the Miracle Mile, but those are 2 for 1. I do as well on Living Social.
    I guess I could get a two for one drink at the Plaza bar, and drink both, but I'd certainly tip and at the poker table the one drink I need is usually free.

    Many of the coupons are in outlying places. It is nice to have a fine coupon for Bighorn, but I'm not driving. I take buses. That both reduces the value of the coupon and it is a good bit of a ride on the bus.
    Same with Jerry's Nugget or well...you get it.

    And there is some inconvenience to doing coupon runs, making one bet, and the moving on.
    None of the free appetizer deals on food are worth anything to me either. I do best at a very inexpensive buffet. Palace Station I love, but it is a long ride from downtown.

    Of course, the real problem is trying to get a room anywhere in Vegas for a weekend. coupons don't apply. I solve it this time by heading out to Laughlin where booking well ahead on booking.com I don't' need coupons and can stay in one place from Oct 19 to nov 1 for no check in check out hassle. I can roll in any night at five in the morning and not have to repack. Only Harrah's will take a buffet two for one in Laughlin and make it fifty percent. Besides, I rarely need a coupon to eat. Live poker feeds me a budget midday and that is more than enough. At buffets I can choose food that is no carb and low sugar.

    The only time I eat at those upscale buffets on the strip is when I am in Vegas on Veteran's Day and they are really free.
    My Vegas was just great for a while. Now, I have to stay in some MGM place to really use the deals.
    Once I went to Vegas and my wife joined me for three days. Just on MyVegas we got $700 worth of shows and food for free. You can't do that anymore.
    But if it comes back, let me know.
    So, my experience is that what I call frugal is gone. I see it as descriptive. However, if the market tanks, or there is a terrorist attack on Vegas again, or something terrible happens, then I can see prices going down and deals starting up. I'm not hoping for any of that. That would see very pessimistic.
    I'm very grateful. I turned 72 yesterday and I think that I was at the right age when I retired for lots of Vegas deals. And I know that most of them have dried up. I particularly miss the live poker at the El Cortez with Jackie 'one for the money" Gaughn and all the locals who I came to know quite well. Even they were cutting back on freebies before Jackie died. I did have an extreme frugal night there a while back. I'll share it.

    https://vegasbirthdaybash.blogspot.com/search?q=texas+tea

    Now, I know I've posted way too much here, but I did think that one thing needed to be said which I omitted in my post that talks about everything being part of the game against the casinos. It is important to know that the wait staff and cleaners are not the casino, and are not in the game. Whatever we tip, we are not frugal. Overtipping is not necessary but sometimes called for. My largest overtip was $20 over the twenty percent at Ellis Island steak special because we realized we had held a waiter up waiting to see fireworks and just needing us to go. Once at Flamingo a young fellow was not tipping on huge pots and he was raking them in one after another. The players were rolling their eyes. The dealer can't say anything. But when the fellow went to the bathroom, I followed him, and engaged him a conversation, politely, about the custom of tipping the dealer. And when he came back he tipped, and double tipped to make up for the pots he had forgotten. When I hit the high hand at the Golden Nugget, the dealer gets 10% from me. Sometimes that is 50$. And we don't live in a fantasy math world either. I've seen poker players mad at the dealer for not giving them the right cards, and stop tipping. Ridiculous. The guys we are playing against are the big shots, the ones who will make some money on the casino and then be in large part protected by the laws they have managed to pass when bankruptcy hits and they have to get out of the business. The folks who keep making their house advantage higher every year.
    Okay. now I've posted even more too much.

    "Being frugal is just getting the right price." Absolutely.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Vegas Erica

    Vegas Erica VIP Whale

    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Messages:
    1,113
    Location:
    Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    21
    @dewey089 I agree with most of your post.

    I can't even imagine how embarrassed the young man at Flamingo would have been to be sought out by someone else at the table.
    I've had a day following a Vegas experience where I was mortified.

    Maybe he wasnt and was just clueless but who knows.

    I've learned long ago tipping rules, thanks to the forum, but when I was a newbie to Vegas I would have had no idea of those.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.