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Kristin wrote a great post for us on how to be resourceful and save for a Disney Vacation w/o feeling the pinch on your monthly budget! Enjoy!!
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 on 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 almost 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 1/4th 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 have earned approximately $400 in rebates.
I also found ways to earn money online. I participate in surveys and various rewards programs. I am still not as diligent about the surveys as I could be, but I'm working on it.
I started saving for our trip on June 1st. As of October 2nd, our Disney fund is at $949.00. And not one cent has come out of our monthly budget. 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 is a mother of 2 living in Birmingham, AL. She started her blog to track her Disney savings and to teach others how to not only save for their own Disney fund but also how to save on everyday expenses.
John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. *** ******** ************
What has God been teaching you lately.
Do you have a prayer request? Do you have a Bible verse that has stuck out to you? Even just words of encouragement. I would love to hear from you!
Just post on your blog, then come back here and sign the linky below.(You are welcome to use my banner if you'd like)
You can even just leave your words or prayer request here as a comment. We'd love to know how to pray for you. If you don't want to elaborate just let us know you have an unspoken prayer request. We can still pray for you because God already knows!!
Here is a list of my Top Ten things to do for cheap weekend fun!
10. Get a Redbox movie, pop some corn, and have a family movie night. Two free codes are: DVDONME and BREAKROOM. Otherwise, you pay just $1 for a fun-family night.
9. Eat out at a restaurant where kids eat free on weekends. A good family place is Steak N Shake (and the kids get cute packets to color and free crackers while you wait for your meal.)
8. Visit a local Farmer's Market or Orchard to browse and shop for fresh produce/baked goods. There's nothing like teaching "creation" in an orchard!
7. Visit a local museum. Where I live, we ask for a local children's science museum membership as a Christmas gift. It gives back to our local economy, fuels my children's growing minds, and gives us free entertainment throughout the year. With our membership, we can visit hundreds of other science centers throught the US for free.
6. Visit a local park or metropark to walk, bike, feed ducks, and play. Pack a picnic and make an afternoon of it!
5. See how far you can get on a tank of gas (or a half tank). We have made "free" trips to public beaches on Lake Erie for gas only. If you pack snacks in a cooler and sand toys, you can have a great adventure for little money. In Ohio, there are many places of beauty for free or minimal admission. Check your library for books about "cheap roadtrips" in your state.
4. Have a family library day. Don't be rushed. Take time to play computer games, read a few books in the library snuggled in a chair, and pick some fresh music for your week. Leave with a free movie and you've got your evening planned also...
3. Spend quality time with your friends. Organize a pot luck dinner. Play cards. Get out the Play-Doh and let your kids make friendships that will last as long as yours have.
2. Have a family campfire in your backyard's fire pit. Make smores and tell stories. If you feel really adventurous, sleep in your backyard and watch the stars.
1. Organize a game night for LOTS of friends. Invite families. Have everyone bring a snack to share and play group games like Scene-It, Charades, Catch Phrase, Cards, etc. We used to do this regulary and I truly miss it. Our Game Nights would really draw a diverse crowd : singles, students, seniors, toddlers, teens, baby-boomers, and babysitters! It was great fun, cheap, and a
night of laughter with minimal cleanup.
Thanks again Hope My favorites are 10. 5. 4. and 2
How do you stack coupons and what stores can do you do this at?
I often forget when I mention some things, that 2 short years ago I had no idea what this meant either! Stacking coupons simply means that you use 1 manufacturer coupon (like in the Sunday Paper) and 1 store coupon on the same product.
How can you tell the difference??
A manufacturers coupon will usually say "manufacturers coupon" by the expiration date and the bar code will usually start with the #5 (clear on the left of the bar code) A Store coupon usually says "Store coupon" by the expiration date and the bar code starts with a 1 or another number other than 5
The rule is that you can only use 1 manufacturer coupon per item. But in addition to that you can also use 1 store coupon on the same item.
Example... So take for instance Meijer. Recently they had their Betty Crocker Frosting on sale for $1.49 I used a manufacturers coupon for .50/1 (which they doubled) and then I also used a $1./2 Mealbox coupon (which is Meijer's store coupon). Combining the Sale, Manufacturer Coupon, and the Store Coupon made this item completely FREE!!! (I of course got 2 in order to be able to use the $1./2 Mealbox coupon)
Stores that I know of that have Store coupons are...
Kroger -- I often get mailers (booklets) that have a mixture of store coupons and manufacturers coupons
Meijer -- use Mealbox coupons here, as I previously mentioned
CVS -- Print store coupons at the scanner or often at the end of your receipt
Walgreens -- Sometimes have flyers at the store with store coupons in it. They also have coupons in their weekly flyer.
KMart -- occasionally has printables
Target -- I don't have one close (sniff) but I always hear of SWEET deals going on at Target when you combine their awesome store coupons with manufacturers coupons. ****
That's all I can think of at the moment... If you know of another store let us all know!!! *** Hopefully that helps shed a little light on this sometimes confusing subject!!!
If you have a question, Feel free to email me or leave it in a comment! I'll gladly address it if I can! Have a great week!