Saturday, August 2, 2014

Disney World: Finding Extra Money for your Trip

So I mentioned at the beginning of this series that this is a ton of money for us to save.  We've been planning since early in the year, and I have been trying to come up with every possible way that we can earn some extra money!

Both Daniel and I are fortunate to have opportunities to earn a side income, me with piano and photography and him with running sound, so that has helped us a lot to save money.  I'd say a majority of the money from this trip is coming from those little side jobs.  However, I have found some other ways to make additional income for our trip.  It may not seem like a lot when you look at each of these components separately, but added together, it can make a difference!

Save your Pennies
We have been saving all of our change this year!  We started the jar in February when Audrey first told us that she wanted to go to Disney World.  I told her we could go when the jar was filled up!  We've had a few friends and family give us their spare change, and Daniel cashed in a $50 savings bond and got it all in quarters to add to the jar.  The rest of the money is just from collecting our spare change.  Every time I use cash, I have only been using bills.  Then I put all the change straight into the Disney World jar.  I have a bit of a habit of driving through McDonalds and getting a Diet Dr. Pepper for $1.09.  I almost always paid with $2, then put the rest of the change in the jar.  This little habit of never spending change does add up over time!

Today, we filled up the jar!  The total was $181.54.   I was hoping that we had $100 in the jar, so this far exceeded my expectations!

Have a Garage Sale (or Two)
It's no secret that I love to have garage sales.  I love getting rid of extra stuff we don't use, and I love being able to make a little money from it.  For the past few years, I have been having two garage sales per year. And I always manage to find enough stuff to sell!  If you don't have sales as frequently as I do, then you probably have even more stuff to sell with the potential for more profit.
In May, we had a garage sale (and lemonade stand) and made about $150.  This weekend we had another garage sale (and lemonade stand) and made about $115.  All of the proceeds from both of these sales went to our Disney World fund (probably about $25 of it went into our jar mentioned above).

I have friends who make good money selling their kids clothes at consignment stores.  Most likely you will get more for your clothes at consignment stores than at a garage sale.  So that's something to think about if you have a lot of nice kids clothes.

Buy Gift Cards at a Discount

You can purchase Disney gift cards at Target with your Red Card for 5% off.  You can also buy them at Sams Club at 5% off ($150 in gift cards for $142.50).  5% off doesn't seem like much when you are just buying a $50 gift card.  But when you pay for your whole Disney package with 5% off, it can add up.  I purchased $2000 in gift cards and used them to pay for our trip, saving about $100 total.  It's kind of a pain to slowly enter each $50 gift card into the computer system, but saving $100 in the end was worth it for me.

Earn Money by Shopping or Searching the Web
I frequently use several different apps and websites to earn cashback and gift cards.  I didn't plan this as well this year, but I could have saved over $100 towards our trip if I would have used these more purposely.  I would recommend the following:  (In full disclosure, these are all referral links for me.  So if you sign up for any of these, you will be helping me out.  But I'm not sharing these to get the referrals, I just genuinely want to help you save some money!)

  • Swagbucks:  This is my favorite way to earn some extra money, and I have been using Swagbucks for years as my search engine.  Sometimes I do surveys or try some different ways to earn Swagbucks, but most of the time I just earn Swagbucks for searching the web, which is something I would already do anyway.  I generally redeem my Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards, but you could also redeem them for Paypal money too if you want to use the money for a Disney trip.  Since January, I've earned $35 in Amazon gift cards, but you could potentially earn more if you were a more dedicated Swagbucks user.
  • Bing:  This is another site that rewards you for searching the web.  You can earn up to 15 credits per day for doing web searches on your computer (and another 10 for mobile searches).  Then when you have 500 Bing credits, you can redeem them for 500 Swagbucks, which can then be converted into a gift card for Amazon or Paypal or some other retailer of your choosing.  I just started Bing a couple of months ago, and I've earned one $5 Amazon gift card this way so far, plus I'm on my way to a second one.
  • Ebates:  This is one I have used for a long time to earn money back on online purchases.  I especially use it during the Christmas season. I also always order my contacts online, and I always order through ebates to get 8-10% cashback!   Every quarter, your cash is sent to a paypal account.   In the past year, I've earned $32 back using Ebates, and in previous years it has been much more.  Since I started using ebates in 2008, I have gotten $398.69 from them.  Especially if you shop online a lot, this is a super easy way to make money on purchases that you would still make anyway.
  • Ibotta:  Ibotta is an app that gives you cash back for purchases made in stores (and a few online).  Ibotta gives you a list of things to purchase, and then you earn various cash back when you purchase those things.  Using your smartphone, you have to scan the barcode on the items you purchase, and then take a picture of your receipt and send it to them.  You can redeem your money for Paypal cash or various gift cards.    I just started using it in February and I have made $41 so far in my Paypal account.  (You just have to be careful because it is tempting to buy things just so you can get the cash back.  But if you are buying things that you don't need or want, it is really not saving you any money.  So try to only use it for items that you would normally purchase anyway!)
  • Checkout 51:  Checkout 51 is similar to Ibotta, but simpler with a smaller list of things to buy.  So far I have $10 in my account, but you can't cash out for a Paypal check until you get $20.  So I'm still waiting to get money for this one.
If I add up all the things listed above, that is over $600 that we could save for our trip, with the possibility of even more.  I think it's worth the effort to find these little extra ways to earn and save money!!

Next:  When Should We Go to Disney?


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