We are all packed and will be heading to Florida tomorrow after making a stop to see some high school friends!! I’ve been running around like a madwoman planning to be gone for a month, but I survived! I managed to keep the site going and I am soooo looking forward to this adventure with my hubby.
Originally we had no set date for Disney, which made planning difficult. But as it turns out, the only weekend that will work with my husband’s training is the weekend of the 20th. We plan to leave Friday the 20th and come home Sunday night, so I needed to book a three-day/two-night stay with two-day park tickets. My family loves Port Orleans Riverside, and since this may be our only trip this year, this is where we chose to go. When comparing prices, I do it the old fashion way. I just get out a sheet of paper and start doing calculations. I look for discounts on the Disney Special Offers Page, Mousesavers.com and also call Disney and ask. After comparing all the discounts we were eligible for, the military offer worked best for our family. Here is the breakdown:
- Port Orleans Riverside Water View Room $215/Night
- Minus the 40% Military Discount
- Total: $290.25 with 12.5 Tax
- We took advantage of the Military Ticket Offer, which is $138 for a 4-Day Park Hopper x 3 tickets = $414
Total for 3 days/2 Nights = $704.25
Our souvenir budget is $150 ($50 per person) and food budget is $350 for the three days, making the grand total $1204.25 – This is my goal!
You can also book the same room/ticket combination online as a Magic Your Way Package for just $982.26, with NO Trip Insurance (which I do not recommend). If you stay in a Value Resort, it would be even less! My food and souvenir budget may seem low, but the truth is that my family has never got caught up in the souvenir craze. We are all pretty frugal at heart and have a hard time paying Disney prices. That said, I do keep my eye out for good deals and we do have some favorites that I will go into later. As far as food goes, I will also be posting more on this, but you can also look back through my tips for how we save on food.
As many of you know, I have completely paid for our last few Disney trips without having to touch the family budget. Since this trip was unexpected, I came close but didn’t quite make it. I have already cashed out (via PayPal) my Ebates account and the money I’ve earned from my survey sites. I did this first so I’d be sure to have it in time. I have also cashed out for numerous free gift cards which I will elaborate on in the next post. Here is what have already cashed out for and received:
Shopping Online = $551.50
- I cannot stress this enough: If you are shopping online and NOT doing so through a cash back program, it is like throwing money away!! You are getting paid to do something that you’d be doing anyway. These days, online retailers are offering such deep discounts, free shipping, etc. that in most cases you’re not only getting a better deal, but also earning a little cash back! Also, don’t limit yourself to clothing and gifts. I order office supplies, household good and even groceries online if it is a good deal! I already have a $300.00 gift card from Sunshine Rewards that I didn’t use on our last trip, and since I have never cashed out my Ebates account, I had $251.50…woohoo!! Keep in mind that Ebates pays quarterly, so when you get your payment (via Paypal or check), put it right into your Disney fund.
Surveys = $148.00
- Throughout the year, I do surveys online with a few of my favorite companies. Since this trip was so sudden, I have only added $148 since my last cash out. In years past, I’ve earned as much $300-$400, so it is definitely worth it! Just remember to add that money to your fund when it comes in!
Change = $279.00
- My husband and I NEVER spend our change. If the total is $1.23, we give the cashier $2.00 and save the change. The only time I might pay with change is if the total is $1.51…I’ll give a penny so I can get two quarters back. I saw this tip on Oprah a few years ago on her “Secrets of Millionaires” show and we’ve done it ever since. The grand total was $279 (last year it was over $500!!).
Total Saved = $978.50..almost, but not quite enough!
One of my BIGGEST tips for making extra money is to have a yard sale. We average $400-$600 at every yard sale and it goes right into our Disney find! Since this trip was so sudden I didn’t have time, but I have a mound of totes in our garage for next time! Throughout the year, anything I come across that I don’t need/want goes into the ‘yard sale’ totes!
You may be wondering how my “couponing” specifically helps me pay for these trips. While I don’t add every penny I save with coupons to my fund, I DO save thousands a year couponing. The answer is simple…I save on the things I need for my family so I have extra money for the things we want!
I hope this gives you guys some good tips and please share yours, and if you know someone who loves Disney, be sure to share this article with them as well