Sunday, November 21, 2010

Vegas on a Shoestring Budget

Bill finished his last two Sports Authority stores in Vegas on Sunday the 14th. We were still in limbo as to what job and where we were headed next. We decided not to take the Christmas tree lot position in the Santa Barbara area as we had gotten an email from the company saying our job position had changed and that we would be assistant and relief lot managers instead of lot managers.  The issue wasn't that we wouldn't be in charge, the issue was that we would have to travel to the other two lots one of which was 40 miles away. Seeing as the lots are open from 9am to 9pm we then would have to leave Dozey in the rig for the better part of 14 hours. One of the bonuses for us was the fact that we would be staying on site. So we decided to pass and see what else came up, spending a little time in Vegas although we don't have much spare cash right now.

I have been reading Jean Scott's Frugal Gambler books ever since leaving Wisconsin. One of the best things we had going was the extra money from visiting Mole Lake Casino a few times a week. We would go on the "special" days like Monday Zip Code Day, Tuesday Ladies Day, Wednesday 50+, Thursday Mens Day and then on the weekend we will fill up the vehicles and get $1 per gallon up to 50 gallons. We figure we walked away each week with at last $50 extra, normally more. Jean's books detail how to get comps, find and use coupons and get the most for your video poker playing.  Earlier in the year we had purchased the American Casino Guide which give information on casinos in the entire US and has a huge section in back with Buy 1 Get 1 coupons as well as match play and other coupons.

We arrived on Saturday and saw from Casino Camper that the Gold Coast Casino allowed overnight RV parking. It is on Flamingo Drive west of the strip so we would be centrally located.  We pulled in on Saturday and parked next to the 3 semis that were already there, a couple of them with their engines running. On Sunday morning a security guard comes over and asks what we are doing as there were a ton of people parking all around us. He said that we could stay there but asked that we move our rig to another spot in the lot as to keep some space open for the truckers. So we leave and do some shopping. We come back around 4pm and there is a note on the rig and a security guard stops immediately telling us that the police have been notified and the rig will be towed if we don't move it....HUH??? Just that morning we had been told it was ok and even TOLD were to park! I ask security why it was ok for the semis but not for RVers and he said all the truckers had rooms at the hotel.  Oh, so they have rooms at the hotel but leave their truck running all night? I don't think so! So we decided to leave to find a spot that wanted our money, however limited it was. We even had a problem with the players card representative as we had torn the match play coupon out of the American Casino Guide. She said we had to carry the entire book around with us although nowhere in the book nor on the coupon did it say that we had to leave it in for her to tear out.....this is one casino that we will NOT be visiting again ever.

We drove back east on Flamingo Drive as I had found that you could park behind Bally's and that it was a "don't ask don't tell" type of situation. We pulled in with a few other rigs and trucks and there we stayed until leaving town on Wednesday. During our entire 3 day visit we were not bothered nor approached by security so needless to say we will be spending money in the future at Bally's.

So on Monday we plotted out a route around some merchandising audits at CVS stores that I had picked up. We could not do mystery shopping as in the State of Nevada you have to be a licensed private investigator or work for a company that is licensed.  I did find a company that I can get hired on with but it does up to $125 for a I don't want to spend if we are not going back there for the winter.

Sunday night we used a 2 for 1 coupon on the buffet at the Rio. Good thing we did as the buffet was $25 a person! It did have some unique items like Cajun blackened catfish, sushi and my favorite coconut gelato. But I would not have been happy spending full price on it.

On Monday we first visited Terrible's Casino east of the strip as they have a daily free slot tournament and then headed to the Cannery on the north side of town for a 2 for 1 buffet. After finishing the merchandising we went to the Stratosphere and used the Buy 1 Get 1 coupon to go up to the tower. I guess it was worth the $15 for both of us to go up there just to say we did. Again $30 would have been way overpaying in my opinion. I really thought Bill would go on one of the 3 rides they have there , but he surprised me and didn't want to. I didn't think he would do the bungee jumping but I though for sure he would want to try the Insanity, the X Scream or the Big Shot. Now those would have been well worth the money!

On Tuesday night we walked over to the Bellagio to see the fountains at night as we had only seen them during the day on the last trip. Then we walked to Ellis Island which was visible from our home behind Bally's. They offer 6x points on their video poker machines on Tuesday as well as having a coupon in the casino guide for 4 free drinks at the bar and a 2 for 1 entree in their restaurant. Bill also got some freebies for being 50+ so all in all we had a nice night out, played some VP and spent a grand total of $11! Ellis is a smaller "locals" type of casino and they use their good food and promotions to draw people in.....more of a local bar rather than a club....more our type of place rather than the big casinos on the strip.

This video is just a small compilation of some of the sights of Vegas. The opening parts are shot from the top of the Stratosphere Tower and you can see a guy working on the bungee jumping apparatus. How much life insurance do you need for a job like that? You can also see a bit of the X Scream and Big Shot rides. All in all, we would like to return and possibly spend the winter if I can get hired by the private investigator company. We would like to see how frugal we can be by using all the comps, coupons and promotions possible! We are also checking into making Nevada our domicile as it has no state income tax either, just like Texas, South Dakota and Florida.

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