Food & Drink

Saving Centsably: A penthouse suite for hundreds less? Yes.

Last week I began explaining to you how our family went about finding a fantastic close-to-everything location for our lodging for our first family trip to Washington, D.C.

While I thought we had found the perfect accommodations, it turns out the homeowner was concerned about the number of people in our family -- even though it matched up with her listing. Just before I decided to book with her, I had contacted another property owner about a high-rise apartment listing. He did not return my email as promptly as I would have liked.

Therefore, I booked with the lady with a basement apartment. However, I received an email from the high-rise property owner saying he would meet the price of the other property, and when the lady told us her apartment would not work for our family, I decided to take a risk.

I knew there was a huge difference in price from the basement apartment to the high-rise apartment. However, because the high-rise apartment owner had offered to meet the price, I decided would let him try. The difference in location was a 14th floor penthouse suite with a Capital view versus a basement apartment. The difference in price was more than $200 per night. Because the property owner offered to meet the price, I gave him the total we would be spending if we rented the basement apartment.

Because we decided to book our trip between the Cherry Blossom Festival (which ends in late April this year) and Memorial Day weekend, the high-rise property owner was simply hoping to rent the property to someone.

Early to mid-May is definitely a slower time in the D.C. area -- keep that in mind if you are looking at Washington for 2016. In fact, paying attention to “peak” and “off peak” time periods by watching for festivals and holidays can help save you money as well.

To make a long story shorter, the property manager of the 14th floor apartment emailed me back with a contract in the same amount as what we would have paid for the basement apartment. The high-rise itself is less than two miles from all the Smithsonian museums and many of the monuments and memorials that we wanted to visit in D.C.

We will be spending a little more money to stay close to all the actions but hopefully this slight increase in cost will help us save on meals. Because I will definitely cook breakfast each morning, we could save as much as $30-$60 each morning. We will likely eat most of our evening meals in the apartment as well -- even on the nights that we will go back out to see some of the monuments in the dark.

If we eat in the apartment four of the nights we are there, we could save about $300 on our trip. With a savings of more than $500, coupled with the tremendous savings we have already acquired on the price of our accommodations, we are looking forward to a fabulous time learning and having fun in Washington, D.C.

Contact writer Rachael Mercer at