Selling to California – An Update

Our trip is rapidly approaching and we’re getting super excited! I’ve been working hard to swing the deals on all of the necessary expenses for the trip. Here’s where we’re at with expenses at this point:

CA Trip Expenses
Airline Tickets x 3 $1,028.10
Car x 7 days $88.68
Anaheim Hotel x 3 (Disneyland) $381.00
Disneyland tickets $250.00
San Diego Hotel x 1 still need to book
Food in Disneyland $50.00
Food on the trip $75.00
Parking in PGH x 7 days $46.03
Total $1,918.81

Here are the resources I have used to book the trip so far:


Airlines tickets and car rental: (I couldn’t believe that I got a car for a week for only $88!)

Hotel:  (HUGE sale going on right now!)

Save On Airport Parking Airport Parking: Airport Parking

Other ways I’m saving:

  • My cousin works at Disneyland and is able to sign a few of us in for free both days we are going(!!!!). This is saving us a bundle.
  • Of the seven nights we will be in California, we will be spending 3 of them with family, saving us a bunch on our hotel costs.
  • We are going to lug our own car seats along with us and save $9.99 per day by doing so.
  • I am couponing to get cheap or free snacks to pack in our luggage so we don’t have to buy as much while we’re there.
  • I’ve signed up for daily deals in the cities where we’ll be visiting so I can snag deep restaurant discounts for the times we will be eating out.
  • By traveling before our youngest turns 2 we are saving an airline ticket as well as Disneyland tickets!


Now for the financial update:

We still have not had our garage sale, although we will be having it soon. As we’ve gotten into this project we’ve realized that we are probably going to end up spending more than $2,000. I’m now thinking that $2,200 is a bit more realistic for all of our expenses on the trip. I’m concerned that we won’t be able to raise quite that much with the sale, so we’ve been setting anything extra that we make aside for the trip as well. We still don’t plan to dip into savings for this trip! Here’s where we’re at right now:

$300 from two weddings my husband played

$200 from a funeral service my husband played

$250 from a coupon class I taught

$100 from extra money saved through couponing

$250 from money we didn’t spend out of our budget in April 2012

$100 for a special service my husband played for the Pittsburgh marathon runners

Total saved so far:$1,200.00


I’ll update again when we start selling our stuff! 🙂



Selling to California – Exciting Update!

In case you missed my first post in this series, our family is using the desire of taking a debt-free family vacation to California to motivate us to de-clutter our home and prepare for a large garage sale this spring.

I haven’t posted in this series for some time, but this doesn’t mean we haven’t still been hard at work! Most of our home has now been de-cluttered. We have a two-car garage, and almost half of one side is packed with items we have cleared out of our house and are preparing to sell at our garage sale in a couple weeks.



We just purchased our airline tickets for California last week! Not only are we going to spend several days visiting my grandmother and introducing her to our sons, but we are also going to take the boys to Disneyland! My folks and youngest sister are also getting in on the action. They plan to join us for Disneyland and the visit with Grandma. This is a dream come true…I can’t wait! (We live on the east coast, and my 90-year-old Grandma lives on the west coast. The last time I saw her was when my husband and I stopped for a visit on our honeymoon six years ago.)

My oldest son and I made a paper chain to count down the days today. Anticipation and preparation are definitely part of the fun of a trip like this!

Speaking of preparation, I have my work cut out for me to hunt down the best car rental deal and hotel deals for the few nights we need lodging. I’ve already started scouring the  daily deal sites* for the California cities we’ll be visiting, looking for deals I can purchase ahead of time. I’ve already snagged the Baja Fresh restaurant deal at Saveology ($17.50 for a $25 gift card).

*Here’s a list of my favorite deal sites:

I’ll keep you posted on our progress after our garage sale!

Follow this series here.


Selling to California – Our Garage Sale Progress

In case you missed my first post in this series, our family is using the desire of taking a debt-free family vacation to California to motivate us to de-clutter our home and prepare for a large garage sale this spring.

We set aside a section of our garage to hold everything we plan to sell. Here’s an update on our progress! All of these items are now OUT of our home, and we’re enjoying a house with much less clutter!

We still have several rooms and closets to go. Follow this series here.


Selling to California – An Update on Our De-Cluttering Project

In case you missed my first post in this series, our family is using the desire of taking a debt-free family vacation to California to motivate us to de-clutter our home and prepare for a large garage sale this spring.

Yesterday I tackled all of the children’s clothing – as in, I handled every last piece of clothing in their drawers, closets, and in storage! Here is the fruit of my labor – eight bags of clothing we no longer need, set aside for our garage sale. YEAH – another project completed with neat drawers, closets, and properly-labeled boxes of off-season clothing left behind!

Follow this series here.


Selling to California: Reader Ideas!


Since writing my post about selling our way to California for a debt-free family vacation this year, I’ve received some fantastic reader ideas! I wanted to share some of them with you here to inspire you in your own selling/saving ventures:


Consignment Sales

In your quest to downsize and de-clutter, the consignment sales are a fabulous way to earn some money.  I had over $1600 worth of items that I sold for a profit (per se) of $800.  The only thing that it cost me were some safety pins and cardstock paper.  This paid for a new set of 4 tires for my mini-van. is the consignment sale that I use but I usually post a few bigger things on Craigslist to see if I can sell them first.

– Allison



Saving on Airfare, Hotels, and Rental Cars

As a frugal traveler & travel agent myself I wanted to give you a few tips for making your trip that will save you money. I went to Southern California last August & have traveled there with my family several times (I grew up in San Diego & Orange County). By registering with Travelocity & Expedia they will send you updates on airfare pricing. Southwest has often been my “go to” carrier, but the last trip I took I was able to split my flights between Continental & Southwest to save money. I flew into San Diego on Continental for only $100 (after taxes), then home again on Southwest.


You may also want to look at purchasing your rental car through Budget or any rental car company that offers you a “buy now” option. By purchasing my car in advance (not reserving it & paying at the time of pick up) I was also able to save money. My car rental for a standard vehicle was only $185. I would also consider looking in the suburbs for your hotel (if you need one). By staying in a non-tourist area you will save at least $50 a night.


You may also want to take into consideration which airport you fly into based on car rental expense. When we went to Southern California a few years ago, we knew we’d be traveling between San Diego & LA. There was very little difference in price to fly into either spot, however it was $400 more for us to rent a car in LA over San Diego. Do not be too deceived by the travel distance between the two (maybe 200 miles). California miles are different in that you utilize the freeway system for much of your travel & it speeds the process up. I traveled 500 miles in 4 days last summer but never spent more than 90 minutes on any one trip. In Pittsburgh & surrounding areas you’d spend much more time on the road for that kind of mileage.


-Tammy of Magical Moments Vacations

Cash Back Coupon!

Selling to California: Our Debt-Free Family Vacation in 2012!


It’s been almost six years since I’ve seen my Grandma. She’s 89 and lives in the desert of California. She has never met our sons. We’ve decided that this is the year that we’re finally going to make the long trek to California to see Grandma! We can’t wait!

Here’s the deal:

This trip is not going on the credit card or coming out of our savings account. We intend to sell our way to California, and by doing so, we’ll accomplish one of our goals for 2012, which is to downsize, de-junk, and simplify our life by getting rid of things we no longer want or need.

We need three plane tickets (our little guy still rides for free), a hotel, rental car, gas, food, and a little for entertainment. I’ll be deal hunting to keep our costs as low as possible. The entire trip should cost us about $2000. We are hoping to go in late April or early May before school gets out (and before the desert gets too hot!). This gives us 4-5 months to sell and save.

My goal is to post once a week, or as often as possible, to keep you updated on our progress. It will motivate me to keep selling and saving, and hopefully it will encourage you have your own debt-free vacation in the near future!

Image Map