There is always a beginning to every story, and mine is no different.
Born and raised in a small rural community in Northeast Iowa, my parents owned and operated a family restaurant in downtown Decorah, where I learned the meaning of hospitality and service. I was a member of the Kilties, a local drum & bugle corps, and we traveled around the country, including marching in the 1957 Presidential Inauguration parade.
Nine years later, I flew around in an Air Force uniform for another 35 years while traveling to military bases around the world.
After I retired from the Air Force, I still had an itch to continue flying, so I became a corporate flight attendant providing hospitality and service to high-profile clients on multi-million dollar aircraft. And, after my wife and I moved to Central Florida in 2008, we discovered cruising in the Caribbean, to Alaska, and across the Atlantic Ocean.
I have thousands of photographs and plenty of stories to share, but I wanted to create a blog about being a frugal traveler. The stories and articles I pen will focus on the discoveries I've learned in my travels through life.
So what do my travel experiences, background, and knowledge have to do with a blog named Frugal Travel Report?
Frugal does not mean cheap, but a person careful in the use of money or resources, and I learned that lesson from my father.
I mentioned earlier my parents owned a family restaurant. My father managed the dining room while my mother was in charge of the kitchen. While my three sisters enjoyed the benefits of waiting on tables and earning tips, my job was to wash dishes, clean tables, stock the deliveries, and on Sundays, when we were closed, mop the dining room floor. I learned quickly that a family restaurant means family involvement.
All businesses have ups and downs, but in the late '60s, the restaurant was not growing, and my father made a financial decision that immediately changed the company to improve the cash flow. He stopped buying most of the food from distributors and starting purchasing items they needed from the local grocer or supermarket.
Every Thursday, when the local paper published the food ads, he would search for “loss leader items” and then buy the maximum allowed. He'd return to the store three or four times until he had acquired what he needed. When my sisters came home from college or I was on leave from the Air Force, we were all given our marching orders to buy a paper, clip the coupon, and purchase the lost leader item(s).
But he didn't stop there! My father made arrangements with the store managers to purchase their damaged produce for pennies on the dollar. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the food, except it might have a bruise, soft spot, or dent in a can and wasn't presentable for public display. He'd take the produce back to the restaurant where my mother would cutoff what was not usable and throw away and use the remaining pieces in whatever she was preparing.
The markets were willing to sell damaged produce to him because they would otherwise throw everything into the garbage. With health laws today, he couldn't do it, but over 50 years ago, this was my first lesson on the importance of being "frugal." And by changing his purchasing habits and being frugal, he saved the restaurant from a financial crisis.
And though we do not hear that word much anymore, I hope the articles and information presented in this travel blog give you a different perspective on what frugal means the next time you walk into a restaurant, board an airplane, take a cruise, or check into a hotel.
I know you will enjoy our money-saving tips!