My family and I haven’t been to Disney in over a year. It’s been torture! We went 3 times in a year time span in 2012-2013 and decided to take some time off to pay down debt, save, and possibly expand our family Now that I am 20 weeks preggo with a baby, we are starting to plan for our next trip – this time around for four people (well, three people and a tiny baby!) We are looking into ways to save for our next trip, and there are some really creative ways to do this. Here are ideas I have found!
1. Savings account. Ok, I had to start with the boring, old fashioned way. If you have a saving account, start putting some extra cash in there as you get it and when it gets to the point where you feel comfortable to book, call your agent!
2. Vacation fund jar. We have one of these! Pick out an old jar or jug or bucket, whatever you have laying around, and start collecting your change! All change goes into the jar, and we even put bills in there too. If I have some ones, or a five, or even a twenty and I can talk myself into giving it up (which, for Disney, I usually can!) I throw it in there. Change adds up faster than you think, and if you are saving for a trip that is a year or more away, you’ll be surprised how much you can save!
3. Disney Vacation Account. Disney wants to make it easy for you to save! This is an online program that lets you create a personalized budget for your vacation. You can set up automatic contributions to go into the account at intervals that you choose. Pretty cool, isn’t it?!
4. Gift cards. Every time you go somewhere that sells Disney gift cards, buy one. Whether it’s $25 or $50 or whatever, they can add up fast. You can even tell friends and family to get you these for special days like birthdays and holidays. I know some companies that give our gift cards as rewards (like our cable company) and we can pick Disney as one of the options!
5. The 52 week saver. Our writer Leigh Anne wrote about this a while back. You start off saving $1 a week, and then add $1 each week. By the end of one year, you will have saved over $1000. Now, that may only be part of a Disney vacation, but you can cater this to your own needs – you can save $2 a week or $5 or $10…but it’s an easy way to save and you won’t even miss the money!
6. Couponing. I know a few people and bloggers that do this. Here’s how it works – you clip your coupons and when you pay for your groceries, make note of how much you saved with the coupons. This is money that you DIDN’T spend that you WOULD’VE spent if you didn’t take the time to coupon. Take that amount, and put it in a Disney fund – whether that is your savings account or a separate vacay account. This can really add up!!
7. Book for $200, and then pay as you can. We like to do this a lot too. When you know your vacation dates, and most of your vacation particulars, go ahead and book it. It can’t be too far in advance, usually within a year or so, because Disney doesn’t always put out their availability passed a year or so (i.e. right now you can book through December 2015). Anyways, pay your $200 to book, and then as you get the money, call your agent and put that amount towards the trip. You have to have it paid in full by 45 prior to your trip though, so keep that in mind!
8. Tax refund. Easy Peasy. Take that tax refund, and give it right to Disney! If you are lucky enough, maybe it will pay for the whole trip!!!
9. Right from your paycheck. Most employers will let you elect amounts to go into different accounts through direct deposit on the day you get paid. Decide on an amount you can live without, and have it go right into whichever account you are saving with. I love doing this because you don’t even see the money, so you don’t have time to miss it, it goes right into that Disney fund!
10. Cash-Back card. We don’t use a lot of credit cards anymore, but I know that people do this and it can really work! Sign up for a credit card that has a cash back program. Use your card each month for groceries, gas, normal things (Don’t go into debt with it!! That defeats the purpose!) and then pay it off every month. The rewards program will give you a certain amount of your cash BACK just for using their card! Go ahead and use this to pay off your Disney vacation, and keep using the cash until it’s paid off:)
Well, there you go! Wait are you waiting for? Start saving!!! Even if your trip is far away, or you are just dreaming, now is the time to get started. With any one of these saving plans, or even a combo of a few of them, the vacation of your dreams is totally within reach and you may not even miss the money as you are saving.
Tina works full time as a school counselor in an elementary school. She lives close to Baltimore, MD with her husband Dave and her 13 year old stepdaughter, Ashley. They also have a furry family member, a cat name Frodo, that keeps life interesting in their house! Tina began visiting Disney World as a child with her family, and now her, Dave & Ashley take a trip to the World every year. She considers herself a Disney “fanatic” and once her family is finished one trip, she is already planning their next one. Tina loves to find the best deals, even in the busy seasons (she can only go when schools are off!) and loves sharing those deals & tips with anyone and everyone! What Tina loves most is the magic of WDW, it makes her feel like a kid again. She hopes that every family has the opportunity go to the World and experience the magic for themselves because it has a way of reminding its visitors that dreams do indeed come true! Read more of Tina’s work on her blog A Not So Bland Life, where she writes about home decor, cooking, couponing, traveling, and and of course, Disney!