Behind Couponing to Disney (Guest Post)
Paying for a trip to Disney by being a Smart Shopper
“When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I started making all these elaborate plans about a fantastic trip to Disney World when she was old enough to enjoy it. Then I saw the price tag of a Disney vacation and compared our finances and those dreams diminished. There was no way we could afford a Disney vacation with our current budget.
It wasn’t long after my daughter was born that I discovered coupon shopping. But I only used a coupon here or there. I had no idea the amount I could of saved. In January 2008 my New Years resolution was to become more adamant about using coupons. I started learning everything I could about saving money. I learned how to combine coupons and sales, how to stockpile and how to save my family thousands of dollars a year.
I was a smart shopper for over a year before I realized we could now afford a Disney vacation. So I started planning and by May 2009, we were at Disney World. We had 8 wonderful, magical days at the parks and it was everything I had dreamed of and more.
When we returned home, we decided we wanted to do it again but we have other things we need to spend our budget on. So we had to find another source for the funds. It was going to be tricky because I was already saving thousands of dollars a year with coupons. If we didn’t want to feel the pinch, I was going to have to get resourceful.
So I started looking around online trying to figure out how I could save this money without designating any of our budget towards our trip. I had a little less then a year to save.
The first and most obvious way to me was to start saving all our loose change. I designate $150 a week for groceries, out to eat, entertainment, etc etc. (that $150 covers everything that is not gas or monthly bills). So instead of using that amount out of our checking account, I decided to withdraw it in cash instead. So when I shop, I use cash and I always break my dollars. The change goes into the Disney fund. It usually averages out
to about $10 a week. That’s $520 a year! That’s 1/5th of the cost of our trip and we don’t miss that money at all.
Out of that money, I also save anything that is left over at the end of the week. This inspires us to eat out less and not buy items we don’t need. Also, if we were planning to spend money and we were able to resist, that money goes into the fund as well because it would of been spent otherwise.
Another great way I found to add to our Disney fund was to save all found money. Found money can be anything from $1 in the dryer to an unexpected gift from a relative. It could also be money earned off a yard sale or by selling your Aunt Irma’s spoons on Ebay. If we weren’t planning on receiving the funds, they get applied to our trip.
The next way I started to save was by using rebates. Prior to saving for the fund, I was not very diligent about using every rebate available to me and there were times that I would forget to mail in my receipt and I would lose out on the rebate. So I became more dedicated and organized and in three months I earned approximately $400 in rebates.
I also found ways to earn money online. I participate in surveys and various rewards programs. It adds up over time.
I started saving for our trip on June 1st. At the end of January, our Disney fund is $2400! And not one cent has come out of our paychecks. We don’t miss the money at all. A Disney trip is not out of your reach if you just become resourceful. As the great Walt said “If you can dream it, you can do it.””
Kristin started her blog Couponing to Disney to keep track of her savings for Disney. She also teaches others how to save on their household expenses and earn extra money on the side so they too can afford something they previously thought was out of their reach.