Over the past several weeks we have discussed creating a Disney vacation budget, and how to put all the pieces of your vacation together to make your trip as affordable as possible. Today, let’s chat about saving up for your vacation…because no matter how affordable it is, you still have to pay for it at some point, right? So unless you won the Powerball last night or have been the beneficiary of an extremely generous family member, coming up with ways to save for a vacation can be challenging.
I honestly think that one of the keys here is to approach this part just like all the rest of your Disney vacation planning…and make it fun. I like to always have pictures of Disney on my computer as screensavers or background…because it reminds me of our goal! Envisioning a goal is half the battle, and it helps you remember that giving up that latte now may mean a Dole Whip at Disney World. Anything that keeps “Disney” in your mind is going to help you keep “vacation saving” on your mind as well.
Now having said that, here are some other ways that we have used to build our Disney piggy bank:
- Credit Card Rewards: I personally love using my Disney Visa card for our Disney World vacations. The rewards that are accrued over an entire year or so can, and often do, pay for significant parts of our trips. And even if you don’t plan to visit Disney World that often, you can use those Disney rewards for all kinds of Disney products: merchandise, videos, shows etc. Another benefit is the ability to postpone payments on a trip for 6 months, interest-free…so if you know you will have access to, say a tax refund that can pay for your trip, this can be a strategy too. If you have kids, and credit cards work for your lifestyle, this can be a card that can be great. But don’t overlook other cards you may have: many offer all kinds of rewards that can be used on your trip. Discover, for example, actually accrues dollars. Others add Frequent Flier miles which lots of folks use to pay for their transportation. If you are getting any kind of rewards, look into saving them up and applying them to your trip.
- Coin Jars…for Kids of All Ages: You might be surprised about how much money can be saved over the course of a year by collecting your change. And what is great about this is that it really is money that is not really designated for anything else, so you won’t really think about all those coins sitting around, and probably won’t use them for anything else, so they really won’t be missed. Many folks take this a step further and add money that is saved from coupon savings, and any other “found” money. Another way to implement this idea, is for your kids to use it to build their own vacation funds. When kids have their own money…they won’t be begging you for yours.
- Get Rid of Your Junk: Having a yard sale is probably my husband’s favorite vacation-saving strategy for two reasons: we get rid of stuff that we don’t need/use, and get money for it in the process. Again, this is a great way to get your kids involved by setting up their own section of the yard sale with stuff they really need to part with: let them be responsible for selling their own items, and they can then put their profit towards their own Disney fund. Clearly children need to be old enough to comprehend this process, but as an affordable Disney vacation strategy, it is highly effective.
- Save Up Gift Cards: When your family members ask what you (or your kids) want for gifts, think vacation, and request gift cards. Disney gift cards are great ways to make your vacation to Disney World more affordable. Whether for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Easter, or Christmas, they really are the perfect gift. Even if you are getting them yourself throughout the year, when buying in small denominations, they can help you budget easily for your trip. Don’t overlook other types of gift cards too though. Gas cards can help you save on transportation. And restaurant cards can help pay for meals: an awesome way to really get a lot of “bang for your buck” is by using Restaurant.com gift certificates. Buy them, often for less than $4 for a $25 certificate…and a number of Disney area restaurants accept Restaurant.com certificates!
- Out of Sight, Out of Mind: You can really avoid the temptation to dip into your vacation savings, by putting the money someplace else, like a separate account. Consider a short term money market account or CD, if the timing works for your trip. Another idea is to start a “Vacation Club” account at your local bank: a variation on the old Christmas Clubs where you deposit a small amount each week and at the end of the year you have quite a little nest egg, this strategy really works well for many people. Turns out that old saying, “out of sight, out of mind” really works. 🙂
So now, after these past few weeks, hopefully you have a good idea of what it takes to create a Disney vacation budget, and save up for it too. All that is needed is for you to get started!