Thrifty Thursday: Home Efficiency Results in More Disney Vacation Dollars!

I’m very conscious of finding big and small ways to save money; however, writing Thrifty Thursday really make me more aware since I have to bring you new and fresh money and/or time-saving ideas twice each month.  Soooo… I was thinking.  We’ve talked a lot about how to save money towards your Disney vacation and how to save money while you are at Disney on vacation, but did you know you can save money at home while you are on vacation? 

There are some wonderful new high tech apps out there that allow you to control your heat and air at home from your cell, tablet and/or laptop.  This will require some preplanning for professional installation on some of these remote control systems but they are promoted to save about $240/year by simply setting up the system to monitor the thermostat if the temperature goes above or below a certain temperature.  It is also my understanding, however limited, there are apps to turn most small appliances and water faucets off with some systems as well.  This could save in utilities if your household is like mine and invariably something gets left on when we leave the house.  Solution for this is not always to turn around and go home but simply call or text the remote system and turn off said faucets or that coffee pot! 

Now if this remote control isn’t for you, I have some manual tips to save dollars while you are away from home.   Turn down your thermostat!  If the weather is not threatening to be boiling or freezing you could turn the thermostat completely off. Otherwise, just lower it by a degree or two to reduce your heating or cooling bill by as much as 10% for the time you are on vacation! 

Now, shush… this is an ongoing argument with my hubby.  I have been wrong about this so will no longer be able to roll my eyes as he goes through the house unplugging unused electrical appliances, such as DVD players, TVs, stereo, flat irons, and even computers.  It seems they do indeed use electricity even when they are on standby or off and just plugged into the socket.  Who knew?  Although the electricity will be small in comparison to the amount used when the appliance is on and in use, the costs of all our electrical appliances staying plugged in while we are away ….you could save $80 to $130 a year by unplugging all your electrical gizmos before you travel each time… Feed the pig the savings.   Here a small list to unplug before you head to Disney next time:

  • Televisions
  • Desktop and laptop computers
  • Media players and/or games consoles
  • Radios and music players
  • Dishwashers, tumble dryers and washing machines
  • Coffeemakers, microwaves and toasters
  • iPod, mobile and tablet chargers

While we are on the subject of appliances, don’t forget to lower the thermostat on your refrigerator while you are on vacation. This will save you up to 25% on electricity usage while explore Epcot!  Fridges guzzle that electricity!  Put your fridge on an electricity diet while you are away.  Refrigerators run more efficiently when they are full; however, since you don’t want to stock up the groceries while you gone, just fill jugs and pitchers up with water and stick them in the fridge. 

Investing in a timer so that one or two lights can come on at various times during the day not only will fool a potential burglar but it does minimize the cost of just leaving the light on 24 hours a day while you are roaming Disney for a week.  These timers are so simple to use and the initial investment can be as low as $10 for the timer.  It plugs into the outlet then plug the lamp into the timer. Set it for on and off times, then leave the lamp switch on so the time can control the lamp usage.  Another little tip here is to switch the regular 40-75 watt bulb to a small 8 W bulb.  The cat won’t care that the light is dimmer while you are Disney vacation; she can still see to catch that mouse.  But lowering the size bulb in the lamp will save up to 20% on leaving this light on… that pays for your timer … really great investment for your peace of mind too!

One final tip as you leave to drive or head to the airport… eliminate the need to hit ATMs while you are on vacation.  Purchase Visa or MasterCard gift cards with the souvenir money on them.  Give everyone their own gift card for their spending money.  You don’t want to spend time trying to locate an ATM.  Besides saving time, you will save money in ATM fees which are usually about $2.50-$3.00 each transaction if you can’t find your home bank ATM at your vacation destination.

Make Disney magical not expensive!

Till Next Time,

Leigh Anne


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Leigh Anne, originally from Mississippi, lives in North Alabama with her husband and a menagerie of furry kids (FIDS), including dogs, cats, exotic birds, fish and a lionhead rabbit. Figment, her African Grey parrot, is named after Disney’s small purple dragon, Figment. She works as a motivational speaker and pastoral counselor. In 1974, Leigh Anne marched with the Enka High Marching Band in the Magic Kingdom daytime parade. Leigh Anne fell in love with Disney while on her Disney honeymoon with her husband in 2002. They have made an annual trip back to Disney to celebrate their anniversary every year since. Since they own a piece of the mouse with their Disney Vacation Club (DVC), some years they go twice! She also plans to be the grandmother that introduces all her grandchildren to Disney World first. She has a great start ~ 2 out of 3 so far! As a DVC member married to the best Disney shopper in the world, Leigh Anne has lots of experience in finding the most frugal way to have the most fun in the parks and resorts! Leigh Anne admits to being spoiled as a DVC member but is always on the lookout to keep their WDW vacations fun and frugal! She blogs at Queen of Hysteria and tweets @la_haygood

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