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We’ll be leaving on vacation in a few days for our annual “antique tractor” exhibit.  It’s like a car cruise, only it lasts four days.

We always get a hotel room for this setup.  It’s hot, in the woods, with no running water. But hotel rooms are expensive – about $60 per night.  We usually bring a tent along and sleep in the tent the first nights. It’s the best of both worlds – camping is free, but we also have access to a shower at least once a day.

We’ve been doing really well with our finances lately. We spend our money thoughtfully and frugally, and set aside at least 10 percent for retirement, plus extra payments on the mortgage and student loan.  We’ve been scrimping for 10 months now, with lots to show for our efforts.

I’ll make it clear: I’m tired of being frugal on vacations, and I do not want to sleep in a tent again. So I did the next best thing to free camping – I called the hotel and asked for a discount.  I explained that we already had reservations, and were considering adding a night or two to our stay. Could he give us a reduced rate on those extra nights?

I’ve never done this before, and my heart was pounding the entire time. Would the manager think I was cheap?  (Well, I am.)  Would he be stingy? (They usually are.)  But we both knew what he was thinking: We had already locked into the room for Friday and Saturday night. If we don’t sleep there on Thursday, the room will stay empty. Nobody rents a hotel room on Thursday night in this area.

After a long pause, he asked if 20 percent off would work – 20 percent off the entire weekend.  That would be wonderful, I said; book us for the third night.  I got the third night for just $24!  I did a little victory dance after I hung up the phone.

It never hurts to ask!

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