1. Spare Change
This is one of my most successful ways of saving money. Whenever I have cash on me and I buy something I ALWAYS break the dollar. I never use change to pay for anything, even if my bill comes out to $8.01. If you put all of that change in a jar, over time it will really add up! I roll it up about once a month and deposit it into my vacation savings. Which brings me to money saving tip #2.
2. Vacation Savings Account
Open a savings account specifically for vacations. Make sure it is an account that does not charge fees if you have too low of a balance or when you take the money out to use for your vacation. When it’s all in this special account you won’t dip into it as much as if it is just money in your everyday savings or checking account. My work also offers direct deposit for our payroll and we can choose to put our money into more then one account. I have it set up for a small amount of my check each week to go directly into the vacation savings account. It's small as to where it doesn't affect my life but nice to see the account grow over time. I also put all of the change that I’ve collected into the account each month. Instead of letting it all sit around in jar, I deposit it as soon as I have a good amount so I can also receive interest. The interest really is not much depending on the type of account you have opened but hey, it’s something!
3. Disney Dollars
Anytime that I am near a Disney Store I will go into the store and buy a couple dollars worth of Disney Dollars. Just a few here and there, never to exceed $5.00. This way I don’t feel like I am spending very much and it will give me spending money that cannot be used until I arrive at the parks or resorts. Unfortunately there are many Disney Stores closing around the U.S. so this idea might not work for some. I am hopeful that the Disney Store will return to more areas as this is a great way to get some spending money together.
4. Survey Sites
I participate in several free survey sites that will send a check or deposit to your paypal account once you have completed the surveys that you qualify for. These sites are completely free (Never sign up for a survey site that is asking you to pay money to participate. It’s a scam!). Most of the sites operate on a point system. You take enough surveys and earn points. Once you reach a certain point level you can then cash in those points and the site will send you a check or deposit to your paypal account. You can also redeem points for other prizes but I like the paypal deposit as it helps me save for my vacations. Some of the sites that I recommend are My Survey , Opinion Outpost, and E-poll. In my experience, the surveys generate anywhere between $10-$50 in a month depending on how aggressively you answer the survey emails. I then put this cash into my vacations savings account. Now this is not something you can earn a decent living doing. A lot of times you will not qualify for the survey, but it is a nice free way to earn a little bit of extra spending money here and there.
5. Bottle Returns
In the good ole state of Michigan, I have the privilege to return bottles/cans for cash. It is only 10 cents per bottle or can, but if you never spend any of that money and put it immediately away into your savings it will add up nicely.
6. Yard Sale & Auction Sites
Get all of your old stuff together that you no longer want and have a yard/garage sale. Not nice enough outside to do that yet? Try selling your things on Ebay. Most auctions will not be charged an insertion fee and you will only have to pay a small fee if the item sells. You can also use Half.com if you have books or media to sell. Unlike Ebay, you can list your books or media on Half.com for as long as it takes them to sell. The site will take a small percentage of the final value but there are no fees to list.
7. Extra Money
Any extra money that I receive other than my work paycheck, I will normally throw into the vacation savings. For example, when I switched phone service providers, I had a credit on my account from my old phone. They sent me a check for the balance that was remaining on my account. Before I began these saving techniques I would have put that into my checking account where most of my everyday spending money would go. Since this is money that I wouldn’t normally have, it makes much more sense to put it towards your vacation. I use this mentality with any type of “extra" money I receive. Other examples of this would be money from birthday cards/Christmas gifts, extra work you do for someone that they may pay you for, mail-in rebates, a bonus from work, etc.
9. Disney Visa Rewards Credit Card
The Disney Visa Rewards credit card from Chase offers several perks to its cardholders. Most notable would be the reward dollars you can earn from everyday purchases. The current rate of reward dollars on the card is $1 per $100 spent. Once you reach an initial rewards amount of $20 you can then redeem for a gift card that can be used at the parks, the Disney Store, and the Disney Store online. Being a cardholder also gives you different perks at each of the theme parks such as private meet and greets, discounts on tours, exclusive pins and 10% discounts on merchandise at the parks, 10% discounts on select dining locations in DLR, and more. Now it is true that the rate of reward dollars is not great. There are a ton of other credit cards out there that offer better rewards. With that being said however, one of my favorite things about the card is when you use the card to pay for your Disney vacation, you are given 6 months to pay for the vacation with 0% interest. I do this every time we plan a vacation and then make sure the trip is paid off within the 6 month term. This helps my situation especially because I usually travel with family members who don't live in my household. I charge the entire vacation and this gives them time to get me their money without demanding it right away. Also the reward dollars earned from the price of the trip are mighty nice! We usually use the gift card we received to pay for tips at our sit down restaurant reservations. Combine that with the free dining and you have actual straight up FREE dining.
Hopefully theses tips will be helpful when you plan your next vacation, and they might even make it a little more fun to save. How do you save for your Disney vacation?
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