Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Watch your statements!

I learned a good lesson today that really everyone should know. Since I've been kinda crazy about money since I've started this blog, it's pretty normal for me to check my bank statements. It does get old and feels pointless when everything always matches up but today, that habit has paid off:

MG and I planned on staying in a hotel this past Saturday, our first night in Charlotte. I would be staying with my boss until I found my own place but I wasn't sure what time I'd get in and didn't want to interrupt whatever they might be doing at whatever time I might have arrived. Also, MG was leaving the next day to return home so I wanted to ensure we'd have plenty of time together. So we researched a few places through Expedia since that's where I had booked his flight home and they had given me a 10% discount on a hotel with that flight purchase. We decided to stay at the Hyatt-City Park around here. When I got to the hotel to check in, I had to swipe my credit card that I had used to make the reservation and the bill was about $10 cheaper than what I had paid on Expedia but I didn't think much of it. On my way out of work today, I checked my bank and credit card statements and it showed a charge for the room from they Hyatt, in addition to the charge from Expedia. Since clearly I didn't want to pay double for that room, I had to figure out how to handle it. Do I contact someone at Expedia or the Hyatt? Luckily, my first call was to the Hyatt and they very quickly looked up my bill and said they would remove their charge and call to let me know it had been removed. THANKS! What great service.

Anyways, two lessons learned from this experience actually:
1-Regularly check your bank statements to avoid incorrect charges and unnecessary spending.
2-Despite Expedia giving me a "10% discount", it would have been even cheaper to book through the hotel itself. I'm not saying this is true for all hotels or all travel service websites but it is definitely something I will consider when booking my next hotel! You could even use Expedia's search engine to find well-reviewed hotels and then book through the hotel's individual site-or at least compare the rates between the two.

In other news, I kept my promise to stop at a grocery store to pick up a few items to avoid over spending at random restaurants. I accidentally found a Harris Teeter grocery store when I got lost on my way home from work so I stopped in. I didn't want to take up my boss' fridge or freezer with my items so I selected wisely. I got a pack of diet-coke, creamer and sugar for coffee so I can drink it at work for free, I bought some pre-made muffins for breakfasts and two tuna salad lunch packs. I didn't have to buy my breakfast this morning and didn't need to buy a drink with the chicken wrap I bought today. I also ate dinner here at the house with my boss' family (delicious steak, potatoes and broccoli! yum!). I will take some time this weekend to make tortellini with meat sauce so I can bring my lunches to work all next week and save some major money there as well. Slowly but surely I'll get back on track with this budget and hopefully be able to start making loan payments again soon!

Now I'm off to enjoy an episode of LOST-MG and I watch it on our own and skype together to get reactions :) It's turned into quite the great cyber date. Man I love free technology!

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