Sometimes You Have to Force People to Save Money, or Should You?

I wanted to share something that happened a few days ago. One of my husband’s relatives called me because she was having a hard time finding hotel reservation in her Club Carlson account. She told me how to log in, and I was able to locate it within few seconds. I’ve noticed that the reservation was refundable, so I figured why not double check and see if the rate went down.

Sure enough, there was a special sale going on, and the price per night was now $20  cheaper than the one on her current reservation. I was extremely excited because it meant saving $67 over the duration of the stay.

I called her with the happy news, and mentioned that she needs to cancel her current reservation and rebook it. Everything could be done online, no need to call. Except, she wasn’t interested. Say what?

She told me the booking was already set, and she didn’t want to deal with it. I kept insisting that the process was super easy and would take only two minutes. Nope. I then proceeded to offer to do it for her. The answer was still No. I could tell that she started to get annoyed by my “eager beaver” attitude, so at that point  I chose to let it go.

When I hung up, my first reaction was combination of  frustration and annoyance rolled into one. How can someone not want to save $66 in exchange for two minutes of her time? Scratch that, two minutes of my time? Of course, the logical thing to do was to just forget about the whole thing. But I  can’t help myself! It literally hurts me to see money being flushed down the toilet. Plus, I’m a control freak who happens to be cheap.

So, I went ahead and called Club Carlson and asked the rep if they could simply adjust the existing reservation. He told me it would be no problem. And sure enough, two minutes later there was a  confirmation with the new rate. I called the relative with the news not knowing what to expect, but she was very happy.

That’s the thing, most people like the idea of saving money. They just don’t want to work for it. It’s puzzling to me how something this simple would feel like a chore to someone, but it really is the case. Now contrast it with most hobbyists who go gaga over $5 coupon.

Do you have what it takes? 

If you want to actively participate in miles and points hobby, you can’t be someone who is too comfortable with routine. You have to check and sometimes cancel existing reservations in order to get a better rate. On occasion, you’ll probably  have to call banks and practice the art of negotiation.

To get the best bang for your buck, you’ll need to switch credit cards, maximize bonus categories, open and close bank accounts. The rewards won’t just magically fall into your lap, you do have to put forth the effort and get out of your comfort zone. Sounds like too much trouble? You don’t got what it takes! Sorry.

black model

Image courtesy of Ambro at

On the other hand, if you like to travel AND want get a great ROI when it comes to your time, it’s very hard to beat miles and points hobby. When done right, the payoff is terrific. Emphasis on the word “right.” Of course, many simply won’t bother. And that is why, my friends,  this hobby exists in the first place.

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8 thoughts on “Sometimes You Have to Force People to Save Money, or Should You?

  1. Sometimes I feel like your relative. I don’t always like the little hassles, especially things I am unfamiliar with. This post made me laugh, at myself! 😂


    • @Julie I would never suggest that someone should be like me! I’m definitely at the far end of the “crazy” spectrum. I think we all search for the right balance when it comes to saving money. For some, it becomes an all-consuming task, which is unhealthy.


  2. Yes. The other thing that makes me crazy are the people who can’t see beyond the annual fee. They turn down, for example, getting a Southwest Card because of the annual fee. I want to bang my head against the wall trying to explain how we travel for free when they ask but they don’t want to EVER pay an annual fee! Ok, pay for your airfare!


    • @Michelle I can so relate to what you are saying! Southwest card is my “go to” recommendation for families who are looking to fly somewhere rather than drive. But most have the reaction you’ve described: “What, I have to pay $69/$99 fee upfront?!!” Well, yes, but you are getting $750 worth of flights. This hobby is not for everyone, that’s for sure.


  3. I think you are under-estimating the fear/stress factor, often more influential than the work/time investment, which is generally very minor. I recently canceled and re-booked 3 hotel reservations – one to take advantage of a sale and two to get a higher cashback. It took me about 25 minutes to make/save about 70$ so not bad as far as time investment, but I did feel stressed throughout the process, afraid to make a mistake, and sometimes the reservations/cancellation emails have annoying delays so you are not sure all is well. Another “fear factor” is the fear of canceling the room and someone else booking it before you re-book, so to avoid that (unlikely) scenario, I first made additional reservations and only then canceled the original one… I felt really stressed out after doing it, but very happy today when I got the big cashback. Still I can see the “other side”…


    • @Uri I think you make an excellent point! Deal hunting process can be quite stressful at times. This applies to checking paid reservations as well as anything miles and points related. I totally agree and will be the first to admit that the whole thing can be taken too far. Goodness, that’s my struggle: deciding what deals to filter out and what deals to pursue.
      I remember my mess-up with IHG Priceless Surprises. You might recall it because I wrote about the incident, of course. I filled out 94 entries, mailed them, but forgot to register for the bonus. I remember thinking how I just want to quit this whole miles and points non-sense.
      Of course, I changed my mind few minutes later, but the frustration and just utter hopelessness of this embarrassing fail were very real. A lot of what we do causes anguish and mental distress. At some point most probably wonder if the juice is actually worth the squeeze. I know I do.
      I constantly encourage readers to look for healthy balance. The irony is that I haven’t yet found it myself.


  4. This post made me laugh out loud. You are me when dealing with mother and sister. My sister has asked me to stop trying to convert her to my religion (being miles and points). She is a member of the Church of Use Cash for Travel.


    • @Amanda I love it! Those who belong to Church of Use Cash for Travel are very hard to convert, indeed. Ultimately, people will do what they are comfortable with. It’s pointless to try to convince them otherwise. The scary truth is that this hobby CAN turn into a religion, something to constantly keep an eye on.


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