Today I'm happy to introduce you to another Disney friend from Alabama, Kristin. If you have ever searched for ways to save money for a trip to Walt Disney World, you have have probably seen her blog! Kristin lives just outside Birmingham, AL with her husband, 2 kids, and thier little dog. She started her blog to keep herself on track and has inspired 1,000s of people to learn how to pay for things they thought were out of thier reach. Be sure to visit her at Couponing to Disney. Welcome Kristin!!!
My name is Kristin and I am a coupon addict. My coupon addiction feeds my other addiction, all things Disney. How are the two related you ask? Well I have learned how to use the money I save by couponing to pay for my yearly trip to Disney World!
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 with our current budget.
It wasn’t long after my daughter was born that I started couponing. But I only used a coupon here or there. I didn’t realize the amount I could have 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, how to use rebates and eventually how to save my family thousands of dollars a year.
I was a smart shopper for over 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. (You can read about that trip here.)
When we returned home, we decided we would start taking a yearly trip to Disney. But we didn’t have the funds to designate to another vacation. We had other things we needed to spend our income on. So I decided to challenge myself to save the entire amount we needed by being a Smart Shopper.
So I started racking my brain to figure out how I could save this money. 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 withdrawal our weekly budget ($150 for groceries, entertainment, clothing, etc) in cash. Instead of making correct change, I always break a dollar and save the coins. The change goes into the Disney fund. It usually averages out to about $10 a week. That’s $520 a year! That’s 1/5th of the cost of our trip and it’s money we don’t miss!
Out of that $150, I also save whatever is left at the end of the week. This inspires us to eat out less and not buy items we don’t necessarily need. And if I came close to spending money and I resisted, I add that to the Disney fund as well.
Next I save all our found money. Found money can be anything from $1 in the dryer to an unexpected gift from a relative. It could be money earned by having a yard sell or by selling your Aunt Irma’s spoons on Ebay. If we weren’t expecting the money, it gets applied to our trip.
One of the biggest sources of my fund is by using rebates. Prior to saving for Disney, 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 about rebates and now they get deposited directly into the Disney fund.
There are also lots of ways to make money online. I participate in about 10 different survey and rewards programs. It adds up over time. I usually do them while I watch TV. And the more surveys you do, the more you can make.
I also have the Disney Visa by Chase. It rewards us with 1 Disney Dollar for every $100 we charge. So we use it to pay as many of our bills as possible. While it isn’t the best rewards card there is, it gives us other Disney perks as well. So it’s worth it to us.
I started saving for our trip on June 1st. We went for 12 nights (May 21st to June 2nd). We had 10 day park hopper tickets (2 adults and 2 children), the quick service dining plan (2 meals and 2 snacks per person per day) and we also ate at Chef Mickeys. The total cost of our trip was $3050. In 11 months, 2 weeks I saved $3223.32! (See detailshere.)
We are taking our 4th family trip to Disney World in November. We have already saved $2683.47 by "Couponing to Disney."
A Disney trip is not out of your reach if you are resourceful. As the great Walt said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
If you missed the first week of "Stars fell on Disney Fans from Alabama," you can find a post from Andi Sims, a Walt Disney World Moms Panelist, here!