So with my first trip to Vegas complete, I figured I’d take up J’s offer to share some of my money saving thoughts on the whole experience. A few of these tips may seem obvious to those who’ve been several times before, but for me there were quite a lot I wasn’t expecting! (Financially speaking anyways) I will start off by stating, of course, that going out to Vegas ain’t the most frugal thing to do in the world, but vacation-wise it’s great!
Here are a few tips on how to save in Vegas:
- Bring your own case of beer to your room. I saw several people doing this and was very jealous since I was paying $5/beer.
- Sign up for the rewards cards at the casinos. Most of them give you something like 5 bucks for signing up that you can use at the slot machines – free gambling, can’t beat that.
- Play the table games during the day. The minimum bets goes up at night, and plus there is sooo much more that you can/should do at night instead of sitting there gambling away. (Editor’s note: Unless you’re a huge poker fan and you’re going specifically to play with the big boys! :))
- Be careful with minimums. Just because a game says it has a minimum of $10 doesn’t mean it ends there. There is a good chance that to actually play the hand, you will have to increase your bet multiple times just to have a shot at winning (sometimes dropping 4 times as much each hand!)
- Penny slots do not mean you are playing one penny at a time. One penny = one credit. A few machines do allow you to play 1 line for 1 credit, but it is more tempting to play 20 lines at the same time @ 20 credits per line! (Which is $4.00 for you non-math people)
- Look for VIP passes when hitting the clubs at night. It seemed that most everyone had one, but some people were paying way more at the door than others. I think there was a lot more I needed to learn on this one.
- The strip and “downtown” (where the huge overhead light show thing is) are different places. You get to see a whole different crowd hanging downtown making it fun to people watch. But even better, it seemed like the minimums there were much lower and the slots paid out better too! (I actually came out ahead gambling downtown).
- There’s an all-you-can-eat 24 hour buffet pass good at several places! Something I should have avoided :) With everything else that is going on (and all the drinks being had while gambling) you just don’t get hungry that fast, and you don’t want to go sit in line to get more food. Just go to restaurants to buy food. If you’re in the the mood for a buffet, that’s cool, but just pick up that one meal since you won’t eat much after that.
- Have some $1’s with you! When you are playing the slots, they don’t actually pay out cash or even tokens anymore. You get these slips of paper instead, then when the waitress comes by and gives you another drink, it’s customary to tip them a dollar. (Bring plenty! They keep offering you more and more :))
- Drinks directly from the bar are expensive! Just sit at one of the penny slots for a minute playing the real 1 line 1 credits, and those same cocktail waitresses will come by and you order another long island! Otherwise you will be paying $5+ for the same thing!
- People everywhere drink those frozen drinks from the “yards”. (They look like this) If you have to have one, just aim for the smaller version which won’t melt nearly as fast as the big ones!
All those other tips work too – “only bring what you can afford” and “don’t keep gambling more than you should” – but you’ve all heard those before so hopefully these others help out as well.
Good luck out there, and have some fun!
P.S. Before you ask, I ended up down about $300 from the gambling over the weekend, but well within what I had set aside for the trip; no beginner’s luck for me!
Editor’s note: This reminds me of my own crazy adventures back in the day. Back when my 9-5 was raking in all sorts of sick revenue, and this blog was just a wee baby! If you’re looking for a list of ways NOT to spend your hard-earned money in Vegas, this is the post to read next ;)
(Sizzling pic from szlea)