Monday, January 6, 2014

2013: The Year in Review

My MemberCard challenge quietly came to an end at the stroke of midnight on December 31. I ended up saving a lot more than I really thought I would save. I didn't really go out of my way all that much during the year (aside from pre-ordering the travel cards), so I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the savings added up. I had one final savings of $3.58 for a hotel stay in November. So my overall grand total for 2013 was $332.68. That's a nice chunk of change!

I'm glad I saw the project through to the end of the year. Although my activity petered out in the last couple of months. I could definitely have saved even more money. There are still a couple of dozen restaurants I never got a chance to visit. Plus I wasn't able to do a winery tour, which was high on my list of must-do's, but sadly, I wasn't able to squeeze that in. It was a good year though. And I had a lot of fun seeing how much I could save.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hotel Rewards

Over the summer, my husband and I took a vacation to Washington, DC (which I may have mentioned several times in earlier posts...) I booked our hotel through the MemberCard site, using The reward came through and it was a total of $23.35! We also went out of town a couple of weekends ago, and again, I booked the hotel through the MemberCard site and received another $3.55. The total reward money for hotel stays is $26.90. I know, you're probably thinking, how much did I spend? Well, that's not the point! These were places I was going to go anyway, so I was already planning on spending the money. This is just an extra little bonus after the fact!

My online rewards total is now up to $51.16! I can opt to have a check sent to me or have it deposited into my PayPal account.  I think I'll take cash at the end of the year and take my husband out to a nice dinner! (Shh! Don't tell him...) 

With the $26.90 in savings, my new grand total for savings this year is $329.10!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Jreck Subs

Today I went to Jreck Subs for lunch with my co-worker Kerri. I'm not sure why we haven't utilized this great MemberCard deal yet! I've always liked Jreck Subs, but haven't been there in awhile. The MemberCard actually has deals with 3 Jreck shops in the Syracuse area. We went to the one on Thompson Road in Syracuse today.

Jreck is very much like Subway. You tell them what you'd like on your sub, and they make it while you watch. 

Kerrie got the Veggie Sub on a fresh herb roll.

I ordered a turkey sub on an herb roll. The bread was so fresh! We also got 2 drinks. Our total meal was $12.27. The deal was  2-for-1 sub, so we got $4.20 off our total. Which meant we basically spent around $4 each for lunch. 

And with the $4.20 savings, do you know that that means?! It means I have officially surpassed the $300 mark for the year! My grand savings total is now up to $300.24! And I still have 3 months to go... 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

1060 Restaurant

I am back with the MemberCard Challenge! I realized I only have a few more months to save this year, so I'd better make the most of it. Today I went with 3 co-workers (Andrea, Haley and Rebecca) to the 1060 Restaurant at the Genesee Grande Hotel. Which is coincidentally located at 1060 Genesee Street in Syracuse. 

It's a beautiful restaurant and hotel located right in the heart of Syracuse. 

I opted for the "Grander Grilled Cheese" sandwich for my lunch. It was served with a yummy side of fries. My sandwich was made with tomato, cheese and smoked bacon on a nice multigrain bread. So delicious!

Rebecca (being a gluten-free patron) choose the half-serving of the Grilled Flank Steak Salad. She also ordered a bowl of onion soup (without the croutons)

Andrea ordered the "1060 Special", which consisted of a cup of beer-cheddar soup and a bbq pork sandwich wrapped in bacon. (I had diner envy when I saw this!!) 

Haley had the Greek Style Vegetarian Pita with a side of fries. It looked so good!

All of our lunches looked and tasted absolutely amazing. I was wondering what took us so long to try the 1060 Restaurant once we were there. The lunch prices weren't too high, especially with the use of the MemberCard. We had 2 cards between the 4 of us and our wonderful waiter, Marc, took wonderful care of us. He subtracted 2 of our lunches from the final bill. Which saved us $20 total ($10 from my card), and we each only had to pay $9 (including tip) for a great lunch!

My savings total with the $10 added, is now up to $296.04. I am less than $4 away from the $300 mark!  I am still amazed at how much I have managed to save over the last 9 months.  Even taking the last 2 months off, my savings this year has by far exceeded my expectations. And I still have 3 months to go! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mary Ann's Diner, Derry, NH

The last MemberCard deal from my weekend in NH was at Mary Ann's Diner in Derry. Mary Ann's was very convenient to my friend Amy's house. In fact we walked to the diner on that Sunday morning. 

There was a decent crowd having breakfast when we arrived. We were very lucky we didn't have to wait for a table. 

Of course I started out with coffee. 

I ordered one of my diner favorites, Eggs Benedict. It was terrific.

Amy had french toast with sausage. Also excellent. 

The MemberCard Deal at Mary Ann's was 2-for-1. With the lowest priced item being free, we saved another $4.99. Which brought our entire MemberCard weekend savings total up to $53.14. We saved over $50 in just 3 days! With a little bit of planning, you really can save a lot of money with the MemberCard. I feel like I had a wonderful weekend get-away and fit made it even better because we saved so much money. 

My overall MemberCard savings, exactly 6 months and 2 weeks into my challenge has saved $286.04. I bet I reach the $300 mark very soon... 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Portsmouth Gas Light Company

After our fabulous 3-hour boat tour to the Isles of Shoals, Amy and I were starving. We took our MemberCard and headed over to the Portsmouth Gas Light Company for a great lunch. 

The Portsmouth Gas Light Company was a utility company, back in the 1800s. It is now a fantastic restaurant, with many offerings. There's a Brick Oven pizzeria on one floor.  There's entertainment on the 3rd floor, as well as on the deck. There's also main floor dining, which offers all the traditional "pub" fare, such as burgers, sandwiches and soups.  

Because we were starving, we opted for something very filling. Big, giant burgers. I had the "California Burger", which was topped with Monterey Jack cheese, garlic and avocado. 

Amy chose the "Farmer's Burger", which is a classic burger with a fried egg, goat cheese, and bacon.

We were both sufficiently stuffed upon leaving the Gas Light Company. The MemberCard deal at the Gas Light was buy one, get one free. The least expensive of the 2 burgers was $13.95. This now brings my grand savings total to $281. 05. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Isles of Shoals Steamship Company, Portsmouth, NH

The Isles of Shoals are a group of small islands about 6 miles off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine, situated in the Gulf of Maine in the Atlantic Ocean. The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company offers daily cruises to the Isles of Shoals aboard the M/V Thomas Laighton. 

Using our NHPTV MemberCard, my friend Amy and I got a lovely 2-for-1 deal on a 3-hour Isles of Shoals boat tour. 

The weather could not have been more perfect for a boat ride. The sun was shining and the seas were calm.

The ship leaves beautiful Portsmouth Harbor and sails under the Memorial Bridge. 

As you leave the harbor, you can see the Piscataqua River Bridge, which is the "big" bridge to the State of Maine. (It's the bridge in the back with the rounded top.) One of my favorite bridges in the world... you can't beat the feeling of going over that bridge and heading into Maine. Peaceful, wonderful Maine. (I grew up in Maine... so it might not feel that way for everyone!) 

The M/V Thomas Laighton took us past the nation's oldest naval shipyard. 

We also sailed past the "Alcatraz of the East"... which was once a naval prison. It has been closed since 1974. 

Also during the cruise, we sailed past 3 lighthouses. 

There was lots of activity on the water since it was such a beautiful summer day. 

This is Star Island, the biggest of the islands in the Isles of Shoals chain of islands. 

Star Island is home to the Oceanic Hotel and a replica fishing village, called "Gosport Harbor." This is where our ship stopped. There were options to get off the ship to stay on the island for several hours, or even for several days. We opted to stay on the boat.

After leaving Star Island, the steamship sailed past "White Island Light". Which was a beautiful lighthouse and a perfect "last shot" for our cruise.

The 3-hour tour that we took was $28, and we received a 2-for-1 discount. We saved $28 and it made the excursion a mere $14 for each of us. This was by far the best deal I've received using the MemberCard. And it was one of the best experiences too! My MemberCard savings total is now up to $267.10.