My second full week is in the books. I have now completed 60 of the 157 shops on this route, including 26 in Week 3.
Last week I started east of Dallas, working my way through rural Texas. I spent a day in the Beaumont area before following I-10 to New Orleans. My car (AKA the Magical ATM Machine) is currently parked at the New Orleans airport as I flew home to complete a time share mystery shop.
Week Three Gross: $2132
Week Three Expenses: $594
Week Three Net Income: $1538
I set a goal of having $879 in weekly net income. I did even better last week. I kept my expenses low by mystery shopping two of my 7 hotels and by calling up Delta Downs (owned by Boyd Gaming) and asking for a free stay. The old adage, "It never hurts to ask" was proven true by that little experiment. Of course, the $200 contribution I made to the one-armed bandit hardly justified my free hotel, buffet and glass of wine, but it didn't hurt too bad. So, three hotels were free and two were under $40 (using points + dollars rewards redemptions with Hilton Honors). I only paid the going rate for one hotel night last week. Using my AAA discount, that room was $71.
All my expenses are being tracked through four categories: hotel, food, gas and other. I don't worry too much about gas - the only way I control that is by driving the speed limit and filling up when I see lower prices. Once again I find my food spending intriguing. Last week I spent $68 on food. What I have discovered is that I only need to spend money on the last meal of the day. Grabbing a banana or box of cereal at the free hotel breakfast sustains me through lunch. Some nights I "splurge" on a decent meal; others I spend $3 on fast food.
The route picks back up in New Orleans on September 1st.