Save Money in Las Vegas – A Cheapskates Guide to Sin City

February 29, 2008

It’s easy to spend a lot of money in Las Vegas, unless of course you’re a cheapskate like me!  Here are some of the ways I saved money during my recent conference in Vegas, listed in order of the biggest to smallest savings.

Get a Free Flight
I signed up for an NEW Business Gold Rewards Card(R) from American Express OPEN rewards credit card and got enough points for a free flight to Vegas!  They’re not offering a free trip any longer but you can still earn rewards towards a trip with cards like Blue Sky from American Express.

Sleep In the Airport
My flight home left at 6 AM. I checked out of the hotel the morning before and stored my bags with the bell hop for the day.  I spent all day at the conference, all night enjoying my last evening in Vegas, then caught a cab to the airport at 2 AM.  Slept in the airport lobby and then all the way home.

Book Early
The reason I slept in the airport the last night was that I messed up my reservation, ending it a night too soon when I called months ago to book the room.  When I tried to extend one more night, every room in the hotel was booked.  My cab driver to the airport said when the supply of rooms is tight around town the price just keeps going up.  Book early to lock in your rates, plus check for conference discounts.  You can also stay at the hotels downtown Las Vegas for much less than those on the strip.

Bring Your Wireless Card
Internet service in the room was $10 a day! That sure adds up over 4–5 days, instead plug in your wireless card and hunt around the lobby or around the conference rooms in your hotel and you’ll likely find free wireless service. 

Crash Private Parties
One of the companies at the conference rented out a suite one night overlooking Vegas in the Palms hotel for a private party. I didn’t have an invite but I didn’t let that stop me! I told the lady at the door I’d left it in the cab and she let me in.  Free food and drinks for the evening, in Vegas that’s worth something!

Share a Cab
All of the big hotels I saw on the strip make you stand in a taxi line to catch a cab.  Ask people around you in line where they’re headed, if it’s the same place you can split the fare. Plus you never know who you’ll meet in line. One night we shared a cab with a guy from Experian, he found out we had finance sites, gave us his card, and paid for our cab!

Hang Out With High Rollers
A friend of mine showed me the ropes since I’d never been in Las Vegas before. He’s not a gambler but he runs a successful internet business and a potential business partner took him out the night before the private party I mentioned. I tagged along and helped him enjoy his success.

Pack PB & J
I tend to get hungry easily so rather than drop $10 on a burger for lunch or snack at the hotel I feasted on peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. Don’t make the sandwiches ahead of time they would get squishy quickly. Instead I packed a small jar of peanut butter & jelly and brought along a loaf of bread. I kept the plastic jars in a big ziplock bag to avoid mess if they leaked and put the bread in a small cardboard box to prevent if from getting crushed. Don’t forget a knife, the first night there I used the handle of my tooth brush : )

Don’t Gamble!
Pretty self explanatory.  I was there for a conference about making money, not throwing it down the drain, so it was a pretty simple choice for me.  The odds are against you there so just enjoy yourself and let everyone else throw their money away!


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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7 Responses to Save Money in Las Vegas – A Cheapskates Guide to Sin City

  • d-rock

    although I agree with some points on this list… I think I have some specific ways of saving some money in Sin City.

    1.) Remember.. . there is no such thing as a free lunch. Don’t be suckered in by gambling till you get free comps. You’ll in up loosing two hundred bucks just to get a $5 dollar breakfast. Casino Rewards are just like credit card rewards. You can use them to your advantage, but don’t break the bank to get them. My advice, if your going to gamble, is to stick to one casino. That way, all your points stay in one place. And it doesn’t hurt to ask your dealers and/or pit bosses if you have enough points to get a free meal. I find that if you have been at a table long enough, than they usually will comp you.

    2.) The best deals for shows is go to the “tix4tonight” stands on the strip. Essentially whatever shows don’t sell out that day will be on sale for 1/2 off. This includes some of the pricey Cirque Du Soleil shows in town. There are four locations in Vegas. Make sure you get there to stand in line before ten. First come, first serve!

    3.) Some times is worth a few extra steps and walking to hotels just right off the strip. This is good for both rooms and food. Last time I was in Vegas, I stayed at the newly renovated Hooters casino for $45 a night. this is located just right behind the Tropicana. And by far, Ellis Island, has the best and cheapest breakfast in Vegas.

    4.) Every casino is trying to out do the other to get people to come in their doors. And at no cost to the tourist. So enjoy the free shows — the fountains at Bellagio, the Pirate Ship at Treasure Island, The Lions at MGM, etc. This should take at least a full day.

    5.) Never take a cab to and from the airport. Call your hotel and arrange a shuttle pick up. You may have to ride with people who are guests at other hotels, but its cheaper.

    5.) The 7-11 on the strip rocks!!! The best fully loaded hotdogs in vegas. 2 for 3 dollars! And go ahead and get a beer to go with that.

    Those are just a few of my cheap tips. I don’t want to give all the secrets away. Viva las Vegas!

  • shaun

    Sounds like quite an interesting trip you had. But I don’t know if I would be able to go to Vegas and not gamble. That’s why I would go.

  • Ben

    Kimberly, I agree self-control is a big part of controlling any urge. I find the best way to moderate it is to just not start to begin with.

    Hungry Dollar, I wasn’t exactly going Wedding Crasher style but you could probably do that in Vegas. Of course a lot of the weddings there seem to be short & sweet with no reception.

    Thanks Tom, yes it was quite a trip.

  • Tom

    Awesome ideas on the airline credit cards! I did the same exact thing on my last vacation and it was well worht it. Hope you had a fun time! 🙂


    Crash private parties… the movie Wedding Crashers comes to mind. That’s funny. I definitely agree with the not gambling part though. You will lose! You might win for the night, but I don’t know too many regulars of Vegas that are ahead if you average out all of their trips. There is plenty of fun to have in Vegas without gambling. Trust me!

  • Kimberly

    I was with you until the end… “Don’t Gamble” … I don’t have that kind of self control 🙂


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