Saving Craving! Savings tip: What I learned from Oprah

As I mentioned in THIS post, I recently got tickets to OPRAH!! I have dreamed of going my entire life. My goal in life was to actually be ON her show, but once she announced her final season I started expanding my goal a bit and worked for months simply to be in her audience. After countless tries, I finally got tickets.

(Just for the record…getting tickets to her show is next to impossible. There are thousands of people from all over the world applying every day to get on her show. You have to write essays, then get thrown in a lottery system, then if you're chosen you must be able to make the show date they give you or you are out of luck. It's pretty awesome that I was able to get them, especially in her final season!)

They were last-minute tickets, and I only had 4 days to figure out how I was going to get to Chicago (1300 miles away!) with a baby, my friend and her baby, on little-to-no budget. It wasn't easy, folks.

Our journey was absolutely wild and crazy, and was one of the best trips of my life for sure. I learned a lot from my Oprah show journey, so today's tips are things that I learned en route to Oprah!

1) Set Goals. As I mentioned above, I have always (since I was a little girl) had the goal to be a guest on Oprah. Notice how above I mentioned “my goal in life…” rather than “a wish” or “a dream”? You MUST set goals to get anywhere in life! Need a new car? Set a goal to save a certain amount each month until your goal is set. Somewhere in the world you've always wanted to visit? Need to lose those final 15 pounds? Want to go back to school to finish that degree you've been working on for years? You must set it as a clear goal. You must have the mindset of “I WILL get my degree” “I WILL get on Oprah”. No matter how big or small the goal is, set your mind to it and it will happen. Get your friends and family on board and let them help and encourage you to achieve your goal.

2) Be persistent and work hard. Faith without works is dead. You can't set a goal or hope for something great to happen in your life, then sit back and do nothing about it. You must be willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. For me, it took a lot of persistence. I had to apply to be on her show, and in the audience, every day. For months. Yeah. It was hard! But I told myself “I WILL get on Oprah” and I decided I'd do whatever it takes to get there. I got discouraged at times, but I simply knew it would happen as long as I continued to work hard.
3) Set clear expectations. I got my husband on board with my goal years ago (see tip #1). When I started working harder than ever recently to get tickets I approached him and said, “Honey, what happens if I get tickets? What if they are last-minute? What if flights are really expensive and I have to get a last-minute hotel? Are you still ok with me going? What would we do with the baby? Take him? Get a sitter and leave him behind with you?” We talked through everything. Many of the answers were “Well, we'll just have to wait and see, BUT…” and we'd discuss it as much as possible. We set clear expectations before I ever got tickets. In the end my husband saw how much it meant to me and basically said, “Babe, do whatever you need to do to get there. We'll figure it out.” And I promised him I'd do everything in my power to make it as affordable as possible. With other goals this is important as well. Don't have a goal of, “buy my dream car” if your husband or wife doesn't even know what your dream car is! What if your husband has a dream car of his own, and HATES your dream car? Who will win? Discuss your goals, aspirations, and life plans with the people that it will effect!
4) Don't say “We can't afford it”,  rather, say “How can we afford it?” This is a principle I learned from Robert Kiyosaki's book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” (see link above). It's a really important principle! As I've mentioned many times before on this site, my husband is self-employed and I don't work. Money is tight for us. But once my goal was set and I discussed expectations with my husband, and once the Oprah tickets were in my hand, we got to work finding out how to pay for the trip. We could not afford the trip the day I got the tickets, but we got creative! I posted my wedding dress on KSL to sell. I decided to sell our baby crib and just use our pack-n-play instead. I started taking as many paid online surveys as possible. Once on the trip I tired to be as frugal as possible and avoid frivolous purchases. Get creative! Never use the excuse “We can't afford it” again! Simply FIND a way to afford it!
5) Use social media. I needed to get to Chicago, QUICK. We all know what that means…ridiculous flights and hotel pricing. The first thing I did was go to Facebook. FACEBOOK IS MONEY-SAVING GOLD. I promise! One Facebook rule I use is: Never delete anyone. If you go through your friends and find people you haven't talked to in years, don't delete them! You never know when you could help each other out. Case and point:
I immediately went to Facebook and posted:

OK I NEED MAJOR HELP!! I finally got on Oprah after a lifetime of trying! However…Turns out when you try to fly 1300 miles with only 4 days notice, flights are $$$$ RIDICULOUS. Does anyone have any hookups or tips as to how we can get 2 flights to Chicago for a reasonable price????? Buddy passes? Hook-ups? Deals?

Within 22 minutes an acquaintance of mine said she works for Skywest and got my friend and I two Buddy Passes. We ended up paying $300 round trip for a flight, rather than $700+ from the cheapest airline we could find. So easy!
Next, I needed help with hotels. I posted:

Everyone is amazing! Thanks for all the tips! Got a great price on flights thanks to Rachael! Now…does anyone know of a cheap place to stay in Chicago?? It's for Oprah, people!

I had 8 comments (within minutes) of people from Chicago (or people who had been there before) telling me where to go, people giving me links to cheap websites, tips, addresses, everything I needed to get a discounted hotel!
It cost me nothing, and took nearly no time at all. USE SOCIAL MEDIA. (Another example? My husband got an older FREE Tivo set from a neighbor who was throwing it out. They didn't have a remote to go with it. We needed to see if it would work but didn't want to buy a remote first. We put it on Facebook, and BAM! Got a borrowed Tivo remote. Use it for anything!)

6) Ask, ask, ask. Remember this post? And this one? On our trip we asked for discounts, tips, referrals, recommendations, everything you could think of. I can't even list everything we got from simply asking, just trust me on this one! (Ok so a few examples are: We got an upgraded room, got help carrying our strollers up and down 4 flights of stairs, got a discount at the museum, etc.). We also asked anyone we knew who had lived or been to Chicago for recommendations on fun things to do and places to eat. We got great info that we wouldn't have known otherwise!

4) Make friends! I can't stress the importance of this enough. My friend and I talked to everyone, and were very nice to everyone. You should be like this anyway, but on vacation sometimes we just go about our day, do our own thing, and don't pay much mind to the people around us. THAT'S WRONG!

 We made friends with our taxi driver (long story here but it saved us from missing our flight), made friends with the shuttle driver (so he drove us personally to Target so we could buy clothes after our luggage was lost), made friends with the staff at Oprah (so that sat us RIGHT NEXT TO HER in the audience during her show! We got to talk to her the entire show, and even got shown on TV quite a bit). We made friends with the front desk people at our hotels (they upgraded us rooms, and gave us special amenities). The list goes on and on! Always be nice to everyone. Karma exists, and you never know when the people in your life circle around and walk back into your life again!
The best part? We made friends with a girl in the audience next to us that turned out to be an intern. She confided in us that Oprah is doing her “Oprah's Favorite Things” episode in November. Because of that information we pulled some strings and now I get to go BACK to her show on Nov 10. The odds of me getting on that episode are so much greater now! I would have had no idea if we hadn't made friends with her.

7) Be positive. A lot of things went wrong on our trip. We got stuck in Chicago without any luggage (and 2 babies…remember that part?) for 4 days. It could have been a nightmare. But since my friend and I were so positive, it ended up being a super fun adventure that I wouldn't have changed for the world. Light attracts light. If you are positive, happy, and nice, then good, happy, nice things will happen to you. I promise.
8) Be Frugal. Duh. On our trip we shared meals, ate leftovers, bought groceries, shopped sales, asked for discounts, and took advantage of free attractions. This made the trip so much more affordable for us. Always always always be frugal-minded!

And that's it, folks…those are a few of the many lessons I learned while meeting Oprah! I truly hope it inspired you to work on and achieve your goals in life as well. Life is too short to not be working toward something, so get cracking on your Bucket List, people!
Happy savings to you 🙂
P.S – the episode I was on aired on Oct 21. It was the Susan Boyle, Jackie Evancho, and Debbie Boone show. It was a concert show, and that's why Oprah sat in the audience…and that's how we were able to sit by her most of the show!

***NOTE: I actually went back to Oprah…AGAIN! It's too long of a story, but click HERE to see a little.

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  1. Jordan, what did you girls do with your babies while you were on the Oprah show? I was just curious because I figured you found a good deal on babysitting too

    • I have an unbelievably amazing mother who was up for an adventure too and flew in from Oregon to watch the kids for us! She wasn’t going to miss out on a girl’s weekend in Chicago 🙂 Otherwise I would have connected with someone I knew and asked for a referral for the few hours we were taping.

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