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Old 02-27-2013, 03:09 PM   #16
Carolynleanne
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Love all these ideas! It really does add to the excitement I think. Specially when you know you have a long wait still (our next trip will be May 2014)

The obvious thing I see in all those posts is that we DISboarders are making a family disney vacation a priority. We're willing to give up and skip other things that other people aren't
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heymy View Post
We told the kids we probably weren't going to be able to go back to Disneyland until 2015 because we are a one income family and we're not getting DH's bonus this year (job change). Well they both came up with a brilliant plan to skip both of their birthday parties (they usually do party places that cost a small fortune) and go to Disneyland in the middle of the 2 birthdays. So I'm now using our Disney Visa exclusively to get as many rewards points as possible. I will also be purchasing Disney gift cards at Target with my RED card for food. Hotel will be decided on which brand my husband as accumulated the most points with all of his travel.

Kudos to your kids. Thats great. At the age of 7 and 5 they are already learning that in order to get what they want in life they may have to give up other things to get to that goal. Thats fantastic.
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:41 PM   #18
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Also check out the Disney Individual Enrollment/YES program.

It usually consists of a 2 or 3 hour program like learning about the science behind the rides, history of California or how animation works etc.

They offer this class in conjunction with low park hopper tickets!

For example it's $235 to do any of the above and that INCLUDES a 5 day park hopper ticket!
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:05 PM   #19
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- monthly deposit to holiday account ($300)
- change jar
- pop bottle deposit money
- choosing not to by items and putting the money in the jar instead ( ie. valentines gifts)
- we are canadian so we use the airmiles program to earn free flights
- selling old kids toys online (and buying a few new ones used to save $)
- as a general rule I try to buy most items on sale, including groceries, which saves a lot in general

This year we created a disney jar and the kids have added some money. We also use it to talk about items we need versus items we want but don't need. The kids are really excited and it is helping them learn more about money and being responsible with it.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:48 PM   #20
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I use to be a SAHM but for the past couple of years I've been in a quasi-tipped position (we pool our tips). Since we were used to living on one paycheck I save my tips - my check goes straight to our checking account.

I have paid for one trip to DLR (and Sea World) and one to WDW (and Universal) - flights, hotels, food, tix etc. - with my tips and a little help from the internet

For the DLR trip I saved points in my reward sites and got gift cards for nearby restaurants - so nice to have so many w/in walking distance (unlike WDW). For some other places I got cards from discount gift card sites - plastic Jungle, Gift Card Rescue etc.

I looked every other day for the best price on flights and car rentals. Through My Coke Rewards I was able to get a SW coupon that saved us $60. Costco has amazing car rental deals from SNA. We paid - I kid you not - $76 total for 8 days!

I de-cluttered our place and sold anything small enough to be mailed on Ebay. Sold some old furniture on Craigslist.

I signed up for email newsletters from different places - they send out coupons all the time. If your birthday is while you are on vacation it is even better! There are also a couple of Anaheim sites that have coupons for nearby restaurants and attractions.

We put all our change in a Tiki Mickey bank - in 10 months we had about $85

Right now we are planning a trip to Philadelphia/Sesame Place/Hershey Place and are doing the same things - saving and research!
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:56 AM   #21
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We take one big vacation each year and a few smaller ones. Th big one is paid w/ by the tax refund.
But for extras I belong to 3 swap sites on FB and I regularly make $100+ /mo selling kids clothes there.
We don't eat out much to save for traveling.
We buy everything on credit and pay it off each month to accumulate air miles.
kids and I go to CA SAt for 5 days. I am a teacher and passed a national boards exam and earned a small stipend this yr and so I chose to spend it on this extra trip.
For summer we are all 5 flying. I read on DIS about the special SWA was having so DH and I both got credit cards and we each get 50K miles. That should cover 4 of us.
We also balance the trips w/ 1 meal out and the rest packed. Last yr we drove to DL (11 day road trip from WA) and it was great to bring food and souvenirs from home.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:12 AM   #22
AshleeH
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For our Disneyland trip, we've had it in the works for 5 years, so we've just been putting money away for it.

We are wanting to do a Disney Cruise to Alaska in a couple of years - significantly more money to save. Our two biggest plans:

$5 Savings Plan: Every time you have a $5 bill, you put it in a jar - never spend it. It adds up quickly.

Disney Gift Cards - we have purchased hundreds in all increments (anywhere from $20-$100). I buy at least one every week - minimum of $50 for the week - you don't realize what you waste $50 on in a week until you're putting it toward something specific. An amazing amount of money saved in a short amount of time!
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:54 AM   #23
Mr Snappy
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Really good ideas.

Let me also state how the "change jar" can make a nice difference. I have a large dry pasta glass storage thing next to my where i put my watch and wallet at the end of every night. I throw my change from the day in to it and am amazed how much it adds up every year. I am able to usually get around $200 from the jar the week before the trip. That is the money i keep in my pocket to pay for those little things during the week like McDonalds, Gas, IN-N-OUT, parking, etc.

$200 may not seem like much, but it keeps $200 off of a credit card.


Here is anothe thing that saves us HUGE MONEY....we bought a time-share in Anaheim. We have a two-bedroom apartment/suite at Dolphin's cove. It literally cost me $235 (not a typo) and I have to pay yearly maintenance of $835. The first year the maintenance was paid.

We would stay at a nicer hotel that would run about $200.00 per night, so a week would run about $1600+ and we were never as comfortable as we are now. With the $800 we save on that, we pay a substantial part of our airfare from KC.

Diffinitely not a solution that works for everyone, but it has saved us a ton of money. The nice part is that if we decided to take a year off from SoCal, I can rent my week out for around $1500.

Another place we saved big money was using costcotravel.com for our rental car. This does not always work as they only provide massive discounts if the rental companies have big car inventories very close to your trip. Here is what I do, I make a reservation early with National Car rental (my preferred company) so I am guaranteed a car. Then, i watch costco weekly to try to get a better deal. In October my National reservation would have run $300. Costco ended up costing me $97.00 (total, including taxes and fees)

My suggestion is to attack every area of your spend and constantly look to reduce costs. Coupons, credit card offeres, discount books, web sites,....just keep at it!
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:03 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AshleeH View Post
For our Disneyland trip, we've had it in the works for 5 years, so we've just been putting money away for it.

We are wanting to do a Disney Cruise to Alaska in a couple of years - significantly more money to save. Our two biggest plans:

$5 Savings Plan: Every time you have a $5 bill, you put it in a jar - never spend it. It adds up quickly.

Disney Gift Cards - we have purchased hundreds in all increments (anywhere from $20-$100). I buy at least one every week - minimum of $50 for the week - you don't realize what you waste $50 on in a week until you're putting it toward something specific. An amazing amount of money saved in a short amount of time!
If you have a target red card ( I have the debit card; no fee and no cost) you get 5% off your Disney gift cards. And last June they had a special where they were marked 5% off already so I got them a $50 card for $40. I would love to see that deal again!
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:15 AM   #25
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We charge every purchase to our SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) American Express Card. Starwood Hotels run Swan and Dolphin, as well as Sheraton, Westin, etc. We pay everything off at the end of the month. Then we book on points. Our last two Disney Vacations (we go about every other year) have been with free lodging. We usually stay 6 nights.

With that said, we are pretty disciplined with spending in general. I try to go to the grocery store only once a week, cutting down on those impulse buys. I make a menu and shopping list and stick to it.

We try to charge our insurance, any major repairs, all our medical co-pays, everything we can to add to our points for vacation.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:21 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by profa View Post
If you have a target red card ( I have the debit card; no fee and no cost) you get 5% off your Disney gift cards. And last June they had a special where they were marked 5% off already so I got them a $50 card for $40. I would love to see that deal again!
I know, I'm so jealous about this! The nearest Target to us is 75 minutes away .
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:30 PM   #27
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Carolyn's question was the same I had a while back. I see a Disney vacation as having four main components: Transportation, Lodging, Food, Entertainment (including park tickets).

I've spent some time researching these area, and I've found a way to mitigate lodging (via joining DVC), food (via DVC, that is eat in the room with the full kitchen and ask for Disney cards for Christmas/birthday), entertainment (a little harder, but ticket discounts are key). The trickiest (and high cost) was transportation. This started my quest for low cost airfare (and possibly car rentals) to Disney, and this is what I found.

It might be harder for Canadians, but a good way to offset transportation (and some lodging) costs is to leverage your credit.

There are several travel blogs that talk about how to use daily spend to gain credit card signup bonuses.

For instance, in January we signed up for the US Airways card from Barclays bank that provided 40,000 US Airways miles on first spend. I charged $7 on it for something, and received the points. Since it has no annual fee for the first year, I have no out of pocket for 2013, and can cancel as 2014 approaches if I don't use the benefits. US Airways is in the Star Alliance, so it can yield 2 round trip tickets on US Airways, United, Air Canada, or another partner.

I also signed up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. It gives 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $3,000 spend in 3 months. UR points can be used to buy tickets out right (about $400 for the 40k), or transferred to Chase partners like Southwest Airlines or United for airfare.

Between the two, we will have 80,000 miles for and Star Alliance carrier reward ticket (United, US Airways, Air Canada, etc), which is at least three round trip tickets for the cost of normal daily spend (groceries, gas, cell phones, etc). The trick is to pay the cards off at the end of the month as if it were cash.

In reality for our trip in May, two of the three tickets (for DW & DD) were free using Delta miles we received during a promotion and meeting daily spend on the Delta card.

ETA: a better option than the Disney card by Chase (which I have too) is a straight 2% cash back card.
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:27 PM   #28
KristinRiess
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I also stay at home with the kids. Being Canadian I get the $100 monthly child credit. I was using the monthly $200 for kid stuff, but realized if I didn't we never really noticed that much of a strain on the bank account. I started cashing the cheque and stashing it away. My husband never noticed that our grocery/Walmart bill went up.

Then, every time I went to Walmart/superstore/anywhere with cash back I would do either $20 or $40 cash back. All of that got stashed away. I also have my own business making paper goods (cards, birthday banners, party supplies) and any cash order would get tucked away as well. I finally told my husband what I've been doing, and he's happy I now have $2,000 stored away to help pay for the trip. I really reccomended the cash back because it doesn't seem like much but it does add up quickly.
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:47 PM   #29
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My kids are in on the saving too. They love saving for "the next time we go" to DL. My youngest is 4 and doesn't even realize there's actually a date, but he's still excited to have his own money when we go, lol). I also have a thing for change in my room by where my jewelery is kept. I use a DL popcorn bucket, the kids have Disney banks. I cash our change in for Disney gift cards every so often. We have about $400 worth so far for the December trip (we decided on Christmas that we want to go next Christmas) and its only been about 2 months. Thing is, nobody in the house spends change, we all put it in the bucket.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:46 PM   #30
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It's interesting to read all post and see how people save.. and if you really start to compare, the most important thing to notice is discipline, and consistancy. for my 2011 trip, I had recently paid off an ATV (my toy) and instead of canceling the auto deposit into a seperate bank account for the monthly payment, i just left it the same as obviously after 2 years of paying it off, i never saw that money, so i learned how to budget around it.

1. auto deposit into bank account. Remember... discipline!! don't touch it, it's your vacation money.

2. another thing mentioned here.. Spare change, change jar, even dollar bills. if it's less than $5 bill in my pocket or wallet, i throw it into the jar. you would be AMAZED!! as to how fast this adds up.

3. any yard sales, garage sales, etc. deposit into vacaction fund..

While mostly all people here have the same idea, i did this for 1 1/2 years, and i had enough for a PAID IN FULL Disney vacation. And as we all know.... it can add up quickly!! NOTHING is cheap in DISNEYLAND and it can quickly escalate into thousands. During that time i saved enough for a 8 night stay at the GCH, w/ 6 day park hoppers (when they had'em), 1 day at universal studios, roundtrip flights, rental car, food money, souvenir money, without spending an extra dime. and still had some left over. and yes....since that last 2011 trip... i'm doing it again in 2013!!! YEEEHAAA!!!! Good luck!! and remember... DISCIPLINE!!!!
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