Tuesday, June 7, 2016

How I'm Saving Money for Our Disney Vacation

Before I begin this post, I need to disclose the fact that we are incredibly fortunate & that my parents are paying for our rooms & our park tickets for our trip to Disney World. That said, we paid for our own flights and we are paying for all of our meals and souvenirs while in the park. I've been to Disney enough times to know that all of that is going to add up fast! So, from the moment my mom booked the reservation, we started saving. Already on a pretty tight monthly budget, that meant cutting back even farther on some little luxuries and taking advantage of every opportunity to make money that came my way. 

First, I picked up some over time. Now, you may be wondering how I picked up over time as a teacher, but in most districts there are actually many ways! Before I had kids, I did these all the time, but it's a little harder now with our daycare schedule. But since we were looking for some extra cash, I agreed to tutor a student who was out on medical leave a few hours a week and have also covered extra classes when substitute teachers were not available. I was able to make about an extra $100 per week doing this & put all that away towards our vacation! Total Savings = $645

Second, we've cashed in our Disney Movie Rewards. Ella is a total Disney kid. She watches Disney movies & because Eric's mom is a Disney Movie Club member, she owns a ton of them. Each Disney movie comes with a sheet of paper inside the case that has a Disney Movie Rewards code on it. If you go to and enter the code, you earn points. Ella had enough points accumulated to earn $30 in Disney Gift Cards, and these will be used as her souvenir money in the park. Total Savings = $30 

Next up, we robbed Ella's piggy bank. I'm being serious on this one. Ella has a large piggy bank that she received as a baby. Every time we have a little extra change from the grocery store, we give it to her & she puts it in her piggy bank. (If she gets money for her birthday or Christmas, that goes into her bank account.) She's also quite the schmoozer & is always getting little baggies of coins from her grandparents, so she'd accumulated far more money than we'd expected. I couldn't believe it when I found out she had over $50 in there! She's very clear about what her piggy bank is for, she's saving up for a trip to Disney, so I want her to see the fruits of her efforts on her trip. I cashed out this money for her & will keep track of it for her to use in the stores there. (Sidenote: I thought about loading it onto another Disney giftcard, but if she doesn't use all of it, I want it to go back in her piggy bank!)   Total Savings = $50 (I left everything over that in the piggy bank for next time!) 

Ughh... the next one was a tough one for me, but I cut way back on buying iced teas. I started brewing mine at home & bringing it to work with me in a gallon jug. I'd switch out those jugs throughout the week & add ice from the ice machine. I already have plenty of reusable cups. This saved me $10.70 per week, and I did it for the last 10 weeks of the school year. Total Savings = $107 (I'd recommend using this same principal for eating drive-thru breakfast or take out lunches too! I'd already cut those out of my spending when we had Olivia, but if you haven't already, you'll be amazed at what you save!) 

Another huge savings for us in the weeks leading up to vacation is that we aren't paying for daycare this summer. Olivia only has to go to daycare one day a week in the summer, and Ella isn't going at all as she gets ready to start Pre-K, so we've cut way back on our daycare spending this summer. In the five weeks of summer vacation leading up to this trip, we've saved over $1000 on daycare! Just typing that makes me a little sick, I hate that we pay more than our mortgage in daycare each month, but OMG - that's a lot of money to put towards vacation! Total Savings - $1225

And my last tip - garage sale! Now, I'm using the term "garage sale" loosely, because we actually sold most of our stuff online or to consignment shops, but you get the point. We cleaned out a ton of our stuff - particularly baby stuff that we aren't passing on to my sister - and sold it! Our exersaucer, rock & play, and baby swing all brought in good money that is going towards our vacation. I've also been selling a ton of items on Poshmark & all of that is going towards vacation as well. This has not only made a huge difference in the tidiness of our home, but it's easier to get rid of things when you know the money you'll make is going towards an awesome vacation! Total savings - $345 

So yeah, a total saving of over $2000 and all of that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of how we're going to save money once we're actually on vacation! I've been doing tons of research & can't wait to share with you all the ways we're making Disney more affordable this trip! 

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