My Buffalo, New York Trip & Budget Breakdown

| April 21, 2014 | 17 Comments


I’m back from my Buffalo, New York trip and man was it good to get away! My HB and I had only planned on staying one night, but hotel was really nice and since we had an extra day because of the long weekend, we decided stay both Friday and Saturday nights.

It’s funny because when I told a few of my friends and co-workers about our planned trip to Buffalo, they told us there wasn’t much there and not to get our hopes up. Well, we’re pretty easy to please I guess, and since we haven’t been on vacation since last June, a low-key getaway was just what we were looking for. All we did was pretty much shop, eat, drink, and watch some TV in our suite. I know, that doesn’t sound very exciting or glamorous, but it was so nice just to get away from our apartment, eat and drink for half the price of Toronto, and watch The Deadliest Catch on Discovery (we don’t have cable at home).

Since I never end a trip without tallying everything up and seeing how we did compared to our original trip budget, let me first say that I haven’t been shopping in a very long time (I think September was the last time), and I was in desperate need of some new duds. That being said, since I did spend more than what I had budgeted (I gave myself about $400 to spend), I don’t think I’ll be going shopping for at least another 6 months. To be fair, everything I got was 40-50% off and I did splurge on a designer purse that I had been wanting to buy for myself for ages. Ok, here are the numbers…


Yeah, scary numbers I know. That is by far the most I have ever spent on a shopping trip in my life. However, what that money got me was a beautiful Kate Spade leather purse (which I got on sale for only $200), a pair of Dior sunglasses (on sale for $100), a pair of leather boots (on sale for $80), 4 blouses, 1 pair of work trousers, and 2 spring/summer dresses. If I had forgone the purse and sunglasses, I would have only spent about $380, but I just could’t resist! I have the funds, I have a decent salary, and I wanted to treat myself just a bit. Plus, because I haven’t been shopping since September, it works out to the same as me spending $113.58 per month on shopping anyways.

Since I did spend more on shopping than I expected to on this trip, I am at least happy that I was frugal in other areas. For instance, we got a discounted price on our hotel for both nights by booking through Expedia. Our hotel included a free breakfast and free valet service so we never spent money on that. And the travel insurance we bought is for any 15 days out of the year, so we both still have 12 more days we can use up on other trips out of the country.

As for any trip suggestions for any of you who are thinking of making a trip down to Buffalo, here are a few

  1. The Embassy Suites Hotel is a great place to stay. We lucked out because we just chose it randomly on Expedia (well not completely randomly, we did read reviews and the price was right), but it’s a newer hotel, the breakfast buffet is better than most and includes a make-to-order omelette station, and the rooms are really spacious. The only negative thing I would say about it was the pool. It was really small and always full of kids, so we never got a chance to try it out.
  2. For great pub food, the Soho Burger Bar is really good. I got the Sicilian Style Burger which was super yummy and my HB got the fish and chips (which he said was okay but no amazing). It wasn’t the cheapest place (beers were the same price as home at $6 per glass), but the service and atmosphere made it worth it.
  3. The best shopping was at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, followed by the Walden Galleria. I think we timed it well going on a long weekend where there were a ton of sales, so keep that in mind too.
  4. If you are going for lunch at The Cheescake Factory, an appetizer will be able to fill you and your partner up. We ordered some chicken burger sliders and a slice of tiramisu cheesecake, and we ended up taking the cheesecake to-go because we filled up on our appetizer! I always forget how crazy the portions are in the States, but at least it means we can save money on meals!

What are your cross-border shopping trip tips? Have you been to Buffalo before, and if so what activities/places would you suggest we check out next time?

Category: Buffalo, NY, Travel

Comments (17)

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  1. carly says:

    Sounds like loads of fun! I live in Niagara Falls, Ontario, so I cross quite often. I also went to Walden this weekend and scored some good clothes for work at 50% off. I didn’t really have a budget in mind, but I had a list of things I wanted (work pants, work tops, running shoes) and was happily surprised that I found pretty much everything. We’ve always had a good time in Buffalo too! You’ll have to go back to catch a Sabres game and do some more shopping in the winter, the atmosphere before the hockey game is always fun!

  2. Shanondoah says:

    I think like your friends and coworkers because I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been to Buffalo, I don’t get too excited about it anymore. The last few times I went, I stayed at the millenium hotel because it’s in the parking lot of walden galleria, the hotel isn’t great but the pool is nice. I always make a stop at the olive garden, I wish we still had them in Toronto. My only “tip” is that groceries are duty-free, you have to check what’s allowed to come back but it’s fun because they have some things we don’t get in Canada and it doesn’t go to the allowance.
    Shanondoah recently posted…beerworking: combining the best with the necessaryMy Profile

  3. I LOVE cross border shopping trips. It’s just so much cheaper in the U.S…

    Also, .. pics? :) Which kate spade purse?

  4. Bridget says:

    I think you did great — we need pictures though, let’s see these dresses.
    Bridget recently posted…From Employed Grad to MBA Student, A Tale of Two Spending ReportsMy Profile

  5. Nothing wrong with a little splurge here and there :-)
    And you know that you’ve calculated that on a per month basis and it works for your budget. You have a good handle on your shopping and it seems you really did think through your purchase. I love when the hubs and I can sneak in a little weekend getaway once in awhile. It’s a very good time to reconnect and explore together. While we haven’t been to Buffalo – we’ll swing by if we’re closeby next time. And it doesn’t really matter where you go – you can make any place exciting, especially when you and your partner can have fun just about anywhere. It’s a very good thing!
    Anneli @thefrugalweds recently posted…Frugal Reads Of The Week (ending 4/19/14)My Profile

    • Totally agree. It was fun to just get away and unplug for a bit. We didn’t bring any computers with us and only checked our phones a few times with the free wi-fi in the hotel. Next trip I’m thinking New York though. I’ve been dreaming about shopping there forever!

  6. My wife and I went to Niagara Falls and it was awesome! We love The Cheesecake Factory too! As far as tips for cross-border spending…my brother-in-law usually go to Tijuana (well…before I joined the military), so it’s usually easy to only spend $20 in one night. lol
    Kalen @ MoneyMiniBlog recently posted…Everything You Need to Know Before You Start Paying Off Your Home Early (Part 1)My Profile

  7. I think it’s fine if you splurge once in a while — you’re in vacation anyway! Also, you got them on sale, which is even better. Thanks for the suggestions!
    Suburban Finance recently posted…Get Rid of Unwanted Clothing with a Clothing SwapMy Profile

  8. Glad the shopping was fruitful. Another reason I love Embassy Suites is their free happy hour drinks and snacks from 5-7/5:30-7:30 depending on location. They’re my favorite higher end hotel if I want something nicer than a Hampton Inn but cheaper than high end hotels.
    Tara @ Streets Ahead Living recently posted…I’ve been everywhere man–how to see North America on the Cheap:My Profile

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