Vegas Trip Recap

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Welcome to Las Vegas

Happy Friday friends! As many of my more regular readers know, Mrs. Frugal Rules and I were in Vegas last week for a bit of a vacation. To make a long story short, we had an absolute blast!

I know that a big part of the fun for us was knowing that we had funded the trip solely off of credit card rewards that covered us getting there, our stay at the Bellagio and a nice little chunk of change left over in cash rewards to spend on what we wanted.

We started the trip out by staying Sunday night at the Monte Carlo as we like to try somewhere new every time we go to Vegas. The hotel itself was sort of ho hum but we got to eat at a nice pub Sunday night, the night of the 49er’s/Seahawks game, so it was more than a bit nutty. Their beer menu was literally 12-15+ pages long and it was a blast to try a few new to me brews.

Monday morning we took the tram over to the Bellagio where I was in awe of Mrs. Frugal Rules $20 bill sandwich prowess. Truth be told, it was a little more than $20, but she was able to secure us a room that was slightly smaller than our house, at the end of the hallway and with numerous floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Fountains of Bellagio. I’ll be sharing a post on how to work the $20 sandwich here in a few weeks and actually came up with a few other blog post ideas while there. Say, can I write off the remainder of our trip expenses as a business expense because of that? 😉

Las Vegas Sandwhich

While we’re not big gamblers, we did gamble a little, and spent most of our time relaxing, taking in a few shows and enjoying some awesome meals. We saw Mystere (which is the original Circqu de Soleil show) at Treasure Island on Monday evening and saw Penn & Teller on Tuesday night for my birthday. We went to the Mob Museum on Wednesday and just relaxed around the hotel the rest of Wednesday and Thursday before we got home late Thursday night. You’ll also notice no mention of getting a tattoo🙂 That’ll be saved for a future trip perhaps.

My frugal side was thankful for the savings on lodging and transportation costs as little in Vegas is cheap. In fact, I spent the most I’ve ever spent on a meal on Tuesday night by plopping down just over $300 on dinner alone. Crazy…maybe, but well worth it and I had the best steak I’ve ever had in my life so that’s got to count for something right?! 😉

A Relaxing Time


In spite of everything we did and spent, it was a greatly relaxing time. I was a bit nervous of how our clients would be with us being gone for the week. For the most part, they left us alone, but we did have an inbox full of new work when we came back. 🙂

I would also like to thank Michelle for managing things on the blogging end while I was gone. She was a lifesaver and if you’re ever needing someone to manage your site and/or email while you’re gone I highly recommend her.

My lovely wife basically made me hire Michelle and I was very thankful I listened to her as it truly allowed me to vacate for a few days. We left Sunday morning and I used my phone throughout the day on Sunday, but by dinner Sunday night I was so sick of the phone that I handed it over to Mrs. Frugal Rules and I touched it maybe 2-3 more times max before returning home late Thursday evening.

All told, it was a fun time and I’m already looking forward to the next “free trip” we get to take thanks to rewards points as I finally converted my wife on the pros of it. Along those lines, I also have a post scheduled for a few weeks from now to detail how we were able to swing going on the trip for free and our plans for churning this year.

You’ll also likely notice that I’ll be a little more quiet on the blogging front again next week as we had family arrive in town at the end of this week and are here through next weekend. Not the greatest timing, but I thankful to see them nonetheless.


What’s new going on in your end of the world? How difficult is it for you to ignore email while on vacation…I KNOW I’m not the only one. 😉



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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more.


  • Glad you had a great trip and enjoyed some good food, despite the big meal ticket. I don’t mind splurging like that from time to time for something really good. It’s always nice to get away and recharge. Although as you mentioned, with technology at our fingertips it’s getting harder and harder to truly get away.

    • John says:

      Yea, I about choked when I got the bill, but most of it was covered by rewards points anyway. 🙂 Agreed, it is increasingly difficult and even more so now for us that we have the business.

  • Sounds like a great time, but no tattoo?? I’ve never been to Vegas but want to go. As for the whole email thing, I’ve gotten better at it recently. I won’t check my blog on vacation, or respond to comments but I will check my email every few days.

    • John says:

      Yea, I decided against for now – but I didn’t close the book on it for good. I always struggle with the email, which is why I’m glad I had Michelle taking care of it for me.

  • Looks like an awesome trip! I really want to see Penn & Teller and unfortunately wasn’t able to either time I’ve been in Vegas. Also very cool to hear that you paid for the trip with credit card rewards. I just finished up the Barclaycard and my wife’s is on her way so we will get her up to the $1k mark and then the fun begins of deciding how to use our $800 bonus. Oh and the last two trips I’ve gone on were a cruise and then before that my honeymoon in Jamaica. I had no blog when we got married so that made it easy to “disconnect.” During the cruise I had Peter from Bible Money Matters manage my site and only had about 60 minutes of internet time to use between both of us so it made it easy to NOT check email that often.

    • John says:

      It was. I would highly recommend seeing them as it was well worth it. Very nice on the Arrival card – we used that ourselves last year and had my wife’s help with this trip.

  • Sam says:

    I would love to know the name of the pub you visited on Sunday night with that awesome beer list! My fiance & I will be in Vegas soon & would love to try it out!

    As for email, I will be available to clients throughout this trip – boo! The life of a Realtor.

    • John says:

      It was aptly named The Pub at Monte Carlo. I would definitely recommend it. They have build your own flights of beer that work out pretty well.

  • Glad you had a great trip! That $20 sandwich is something that has yet to be tried out, but glad that it worked its magic for you! I’ll try and devote an early hour to work each day, but sometimes even work thoughts start working their way through!

    • John says:

      Yea, I didn’t have much success with it, but my wife did very well. It was hard the first day not to think about work, but after that it was pretty easy not to. 🙂

  • Vegas was on our list of places we were considering for our mini-vacation, but we wanted to go somewhere warmer. But I could totally see the pros of going! When we were looking for hotels, we were finding three and four star hotels for under $80 a night! INSANE!

    • John says:

      It was actually pretty nice there – it was in the high 60’s the entire time there. That’s part of the reason why we like going there, you can get a relatively nice room for a great price.

  • Oh my gosh – it sounds SO fun, John!!! And, yes, I would totally pay that much for a great meal – fine dining truly is worth it! I’ll be that room at the Bellagio was fabulous!!! Can’t wait to read the follow-up Vegas posts, and I’m SO glad you guys had a good time and were able to relax and have fun. 🙂

  • Sounds like a fantastic trip! I always have trouble peeling myself away from my email when I’m supposed to be on vacation. I feel guilty for doing it, but I also feel guilty by not responding in a timely fashion to my readers, clients, etc.

    • John says:

      It was Stefanie! I feel the same way too, but I’ve realized that I need to keep work life separate…which is easier said than done with a business. But, I figure our clients would rather us be refreshed so we can do a better job for them. If they’re not happy about it, then I figure we don’t want them as clients anyway. 😉

  • It sounds like y’all had a blast! I can’t wait to myself with my buddies in May. Maybe we’ll try the $20 sandwich trick once I learn more about it.

  • I’m terrible at doing nothing, so if I was laying around, I’d probably be checking email. Luckily Vegas has so much going on, it might be easier to put away the phone. I think our mos expensive meal ever was in Las Vegas, and I’m always curious at why the more expensive the entree, the less stuff you get with it. Somewhere like Applebee’s you get a salad, side, and entree, but at really expensive places you get one thing and have to pay a la carte for a salad and $15 for a potato. Regardless, it’s really nice to feel pampered and enjoy fine food. I”m just thankful for Applebee’s when it’s time to feed the kid!

    • John says:

      I’m the same way Kim. I always feel like I’m missing something by not checking which is why I gave my phone to Nicole. I’ve wondered the same thing myself about that, though the sides we got were pretty darn good so I was happy paying the extra cost.

  • It is SO hard for me to ignore emails while i am on vacation. I dont like to let things stack up as I prefer to deal with them right away. Perhaps one day I will hire an assistant so that I don’t have to be the one replying to every email…

  • Sounds like a wonderful birthday getaway and made even better than you paid for so little of it! I remember when Vegas was a “cheap” place to visit but it’s no longer that place. The Bellagio is so beautiful. A great hotel to stay at. Sometimes when I travel, it’s difficult to stay glued to my phone. Other times, it’s easy. It does help when you have good people you can rely on to take care of business for you.

    • John says:

      It was and yes that was a nice part of it. 🙂 I remember when it was “cheaper” there, but not so much anymore. I agree, the Bellagio is very beautiful and such a nice place to stay at. Other than the shows and a meal or two we didn’t leave the place.

  • Michelle says:

    I’m so glad that you were happy with my services! Bloggers need a break too. A break from emails can be a lifesaver! I’m still not sure what I will do when I’m in Vegas in May.

    We stayed at the Monte Carlo a few years ago, and it was a little dead when we were there. It was still nice for the price though!

    • John says:

      Definitely! I was glad I listened to my wife to hire you. 🙂 It sounds like you might need to hire someone yourself, lol.

      Yea, it was fairly dead. It was nice, and thankfully it didn’t cost us a whole lot.

  • Glad you enjoyed it. We went to Vegas 10 years ago and we had a nice time. I like that we also went Sunday thru Thursday as it was less crowded and prices much more affordable.

    • John says:

      That’s exactly what we did. We got in Sunday afternoon and left on Thursday afternoon. It helped having the weekend on the back end to recover. 🙂

  • So glad you had a good time celebrating your birthday in style. I’ll BET that was the best steak ever! 🙂

  • Congrats on the Mrs. for her great idea to have Michelle “tend” the site while you were gone and congrats on you being an awesome husband and listening to your smart wife. 🙂 I have the worst time of unplugging professionally which has only gotten worse since I became my own boss. When I worked for corporate America, we were forced to take two weeks off and were forbidden from checking email. Those were always the best two weeks of my year. 🙂

    • John says:

      Thanks Shannon! 🙂 I think that’s part of the problem, working for ourselves. Prior to that it wasn’t much of an issue, but has become increasingly more difficult now that we work for ourselves. Two weeks without email sounds like heaven. 🙂

  • I used to read emails as they come in and not reply immediately if I was busy, but even knowing the task was waiting for me was annoying. I turned off my instant email notifications and life has been a lot better. Now I only open my inbox when I’m ready.

  • John,

    I’m glad you had a blast at Vegas, what is impressive is that you managed to keep a budget while not sacrificing the fun and experience that Vegas can bring. Great job and I wish you well.

  • I tried the $20 sandwich trick at the Bellagio once, but didn’t have as much luck. They told me there were no upgrades available and tried to give me the $20 back, but I told her to keep it anyway. Oh, well, I will try it again next time. Glad to hear you had a great time.

    • John says:

      Yea, we had the same luck at Monte Carlo. I think a lot of it depends on who you get and how packed they are. We gave more than $20, so I’m sure that helped a bit too. 🙂

  • Grayson Bell says:

    Glad you had a great time John. I would probably spend that much on dinner if I knew I was going to get an awesome steak. Glad you were also able to get away from the phone. My wife would do that same thing, but would probably just take it away from me.

    • John says:

      Thanks Grayson. Yea, I figured we would and we never do that so I was cool with it – especially since we could afford it. I think my wife would’ve done the same thing if I hadn’t given it to her. 🙂

  • Karen says:

    Although I’m not a big gambler, drinker, partyer or really into shows(yes, I am pretty boring, haha), I still want to go to Vegas at least once in my life. I feel as if it’s one of those places that everyone has to experience.

    I always check my emails when I’m on vacation. When we went on our east coast road trip I brought my laptop and was actually doing blog stuff in the car ride while my partner was driving. The only way I could disconnect would be if I was stranded on a deserted island and have my phone and laptop confiscated.

    • John says:

      I think many can find at least something fun to do in Vegas. We’re not big ourselves with many of those things, but we do still enjoy going.

      You sound a lot like me as it’s a real challenge not to check my email but I find that I really don’t get to relax much if I don’t disconnect some.

  • Catherine says:

    Sounds like you had a great time!! Vegas is on my list of places to go, when debt is paid off 😉

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