After months and months of waiting, I finally have gained permission to start planning our Disney World trip in earnest! I started a little while back (before baby #4) and have most of the “plans” in place ready to be carried out. In the meantime, I have been slowly saving money for Disney World. It is not a cheap prospect for us! But I am softening the blow to our bank account by employing some simple methods for saving money for Disney.
I have written before about our most successful method of saving money. By this method we have purchased a refrigerator, a dishwasher, a washer/dryer combo, a custom leather sofa, and a backyard playset for the kids. And I am currently stashing money away for our Disney trip that way, too! But I have some other methods for saving money for Disney I want to share with you.
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Simple Ways to Save Money for Disney
Method #1: Disney World Within Reach
Back last Spring when my Disney fever hit hard, I happened upon a website that changed my whole approach to planning for Disney. It is called Smart Moms Plan Disney. The tips I found in the posts hurt my brain a little bit. They were so well thought out and detailed, that I knew I would need to return to this site again and again until I understood every detail. And then I found out the author of the site, LJ had a book, Disney World Within Reach.
LJ is not the casual Disney fan. She is serious about making trips to Disney World a lifestyle for her family. And she started approaching the intense price tag with an intense money saving mindset. I previously thought I could save some pennies. And then I read her book.
Since I read her book, I started thinking about ways to apply the principles in it to saving money in my every day life. When we purchased carpet for our house last month, I used one of her tips to save about 8% off the deal. That may not seem like a big deal, but it was hundreds of dollars that did not leave our pockets. I also applied her tips to save on a new cell phone (saving 10%) last Summer.
We are saving some serious cash on everyday things like gas, too!
When I looked at the price tag for LJ’s book, I choked. “I am sorry…it is how much?” But I took her up on her offer of a free chapter. When I had devoured that chapter, I was hooked. I purchased the book and I am SO happy I did. We are planning on saving a LARGE percentage off our trip to Disney World using her methods. The book is, in my opinion, so worth it!
Method #2 Swagbucks
I have been using Swagbucks for years. But after I read LJ’s Disney World Within Reach, I figured out how to make MONEY with Swagbucks. And how not to waste the money I make on frivolous things like Starbucks.
I dove in to the Swagbucks game for months! Then we had baby #4 and I didn’t have a ton of time to devote to the process of swagging. So my swag game is not as honed as some. Still over the past year I have earned:
That is insane! I will be taking my $750 in the form of gift cards from Shopkick and using it at a store that saves me MORE money on Disney gift cards – saving about another 3% on my free money. That means I will have almost $800 dollars for my trip, if I stopped using Swagbucks today. Yes, please!!
If you are not on the Swagbucks train, yet and you are planning a trip to Disney; PLEASE go sign up and start earning money!! I have a tutorial in the works for making the most of your Swagbucks game. So stay tuned for that. UPDATE: I have started a series of posts about how to make Swagbucks work for you. Check out the first post here.
Method #3 Shopkick
I have also been a devoted Shopkick user for years. And I didn’t need a tutorial from LJ’s book in order to make it work for me. However, she did show me a secret for saving money for Disney World using Shopkick that has been super valuable.
It has been a long time since I first wrote about Shopkick (back when we had only two little ones!). And since my focus is on saving money for Disney World, I am no longer saving my kicks for Starbucks. Now I am saving my kicks for Disney gift cards. You can also save up and trade for other travel-related expenses like Hotels.com or Amazon.com.
I currently have enough kicks to cash in for
While that doesn’t seem like a ton, I will point out that with the previous two methods we are saving almost $1000 off our trip before applying the other methods found in Disney World Within Reach. Since we are a family of 6, this savings for our trip is almost 20% before our other money saving methods. And this is only utilizing FREE money!!
Method #4: Rebates
I have a serious pet peeve about the advertising for a certain online rebate site. The problem I have is the commercials say they EARNED free money just for shopping. This is technically NOT true. What is happening when you are purchasing items through an online rebate site like Ratuken (which I do when the deals fall into place) is you are getting a REBATE for your purchase.
Rebates are actually an old fashioned way of saving big money. All the old-time couponers were well-versed in the process of rebates. But in our modern-day age, rebates are a little more high-tech. The concept is still the same: you are getting a percentage of your purchase price back.
Rebate opportunities abound. Swagbucks and Shopkick are potential ways of saving money through rebates, too (although you can earn swagbucks and shopkicks other ways). Ratuken is the leader in the online rebate market. But you can also get rebates from certain credit cards.
We use a Discover card for our online expenses (I pay cash from a cash envelope system for everything else). The money we earn through their Cashback Rewards program is all headed toward our trip to Disney. It has been a long time since we have “cashed out” our rewards, so we currently have
I will be cashing this out for actual money since there is not a retailer through their gift card system that will help me save more. If we were planning on staying off-property for our Disney World trip, I would definitely consider using our rewards to purchase Hotels.com gift cards as a way to save another 10% on our hotels.
Bonus Method!: MyPoints
As I was preparing this article, I forgot to even mention another one of my methods for saving money for Disney. I haven’t been dedicated to MyPoints over the past year as I should have been. But I was pleasantly surprised to log in today and find I have enough points to cash in for almost
MyPoints is actually owned by the same company as Swagbucks, but it has been around a LOT longer. I have had an account with them since 1999!! Over the years I have used their rewards system for free gift cards. But this year I will be cashing those all in for Best Buy gift cards (the reason why Best Buy cards is explained in Disney World Within Reach)!
Trading my MyPoints for Best Buy gift cards will allow me to squeeze out a few more dollars from my FREE money – pushing it all the way to the $150 mark.
And when I go into Best Buy to make my purchase, I will be able to accrue some more Shopkicks! See how those systems are working for me?
UPDATE: Best Buy is no longer my go-to for Disney gift card purchasing. Instead I cash out MyPoints for Walmart/Sam’s Club gift cards.
Saving Money for Disney, A Summary so Far
All told, so far we have saved right at 1500 DOLLARS!! I feel a little like Tom Hanks in Castaway:
I. HAVE. SAVED. MONEY!!!
This total makes me SO excited for our trip because we are going to be able to do it without breaking the bank.