Disney parks are amazing, magical places that many children and adults want to visit. The magic is amazing, but it can be a financial stretch for a lot of people, worth every penny, but a stretch. Previously I posted an article on 7 ways kids can earn and save spending money for Disney vacations, but this is some ways adults can earn extra money to cover Disney expenses.
1. Book through an authorized Disney travel planner
Booking through a Disney travel agency is a great way to save money. Most offer their services to you at no extra cost, and they are often privy to deals and discounts that you may not know about. They can save you a lot of money and can help you avoid many headaches. For example, say you book a trip and then a Free Dining promotion comes up (spring 2017 might be soon) if you booked the trip yourself you will need to call in and wait on the line, to see if you can cancel and re-book with the new promotion. If you have a booking through a Disney authorized travel partner, they can let you know about the new deal and switch it for you. That’s just one example, deals come up often and they are on it. We always use a travel partner for our trips and we personally recommend Mickey Vacations by Academy Travel (they are platinum Earmarked too!)
* You don’t have to pay for the entire vacation up front either. You can put down the initial deposit and pay on your trip as you go. Just make sure you pay it off by the cut-off time*
2. Use Couponing and Savings Sites
Couponing is a great way to save up for a Disney vacation. When you go to the store use coupons for your purchases and then take the money you saved and put it away for your trip. You can put it in an envelope, bank account, savings account, online savings account, etc. Just save it!
Couponing can seem daunting, but it really is easy. A lot of retailers even offer online coupons you can take on your phone. There are great couponing sites where you can print coupons or purchase them such as: coupons.com, thecouponclippers.com and couponmom.com, just to name a few. There are also great sites for coupons and savings at mass retailers like retailmenot.com or Honey . Honey is great because it can be installed on your computer and you can use it to find the best coupon code on multiple sites. It will pop up automatically when you are ready to check out and scan for coupon codes. We saved $50 on furniture just last week. Ebates is another one where you get rebate checks that you can apply to your savings.
Something else you can use are the new savings apps like ibotta or Walmart’s Savings Catcher. Both let you accumulate savings and then put them to a gift card and Ibotta let’s you earn bonus rewards for using it so many times per month. It’s like using coupons, but the savings go into your account. Ibotta will let you transfer money into Paypal too. If you sign up for Ibotta you can get $10.00 to start by using the code glusjsg . With Walmart you can take your savings and put it on a Bluebird pre-paid card that is a form of an American Express card. We use it in the parks and for our trip expenses all the time. You can add money yourself too online or at a Walmart register. If you save $20 with coupons at Walmart, take that money and put it on the Blue Bird card right there.
The ones I mentioned are just a few savings sites that we personally use. There are many more online if you look.
3. Use Disney Gift Cards
A lot of times stores like Costco and Sams Club will offer Disney gift card packs at reduced rates. A pack valued at $150 might only cost you $143.00, saving $7.00. A $500 gift card could run you about $475.00. Now, $7.00 might not seem like a lot, but I’ve heard of people going in and purchasing 20 packs of gift cards, to pay for their trip, and then the $7.00 X 20 adds up to significant savings.
You can also buy gift cards people want to sell. Places like eBay, Gift Card Granny, or Raise, let you buy gift cards at a discount. For example, someone has a gift card with $93 on it they could sell it to you for say $89. If you buy a few cards it can add up to money off. I will caution you to make sure the cards you buy are the ones you can use in the parks too and not the ones that are Disney Store only.
*They sell cards for many retailers, so you can buy and use them at stores you frequent, then put what you saved into your Disney savings
4. Sell things you don’t use or want
This is a great way to make extra cash! Yard or Garage sales are the traditional methods, but you can also use places like eBay, Craig’s List, EBid, Amazon, or LetGo. You could also use social media. We have great luck with local “buy, sell, trade” boards on Facebook. I will caution to make sure you are honest about what you are selling and document it well. There are far more honest people than not, but scammers do exist.
*Remember safety first. Be smart and take precautions if you are meeting someone about a potential sale.
You can also check locally for upcoming area wide yard sales or flea markets. These are great because it’s usually advertised with little cost to you for being part of it. Lot of traffic and potential sales.
Consignment shops are also a possible way to score some extra money for unwanted items. A lot of shops are around that sell gently used children’s clothing or toys and sometimes they will pay you cash for your items.
5. Craft to Cash
Are you crafty? If so you might be able to make some money! Sites like Etsy or Handmade Amazon are good bets, but there are several out there. I personally do well on Etsy and have sold well on Ebay too. Keep in mind that a lot of sites do charge you fees to list and sell.
Craft shows, local festivals and Bazaars are also great ways to make extra money. Local shows are usually fairly inexpensive to set up at. Keep in mind if you are going to outdoor shows you will need to spend money to purchase a tent with sides. If you are simply in it to make a bit of extra money and don’t want much upfront investment, indoor shows might be the way to go.
Lot of items sell at these events, doll clothes, dish towels, wooden items, refinished furniture, Perler Bead pieces, jewelry, etc. Focus on what you can do and what you are good at.
*Keep in mind that some shows will require a tax id number. Follow local guidelines for all sales and shows.
6. Side Hustles and Odd Jobs
Another great way to make some extra money is with your extra time. If you have some time you can pick up an extra part-time job. A lot of people will work a retail job part time for the flexible hours. Seasonal jobs are great too because they are only going to last a short time. If you have design skills or other marketable skills you can work at your own pace on places like Fiverr. Sometmes people will offer snow shoveling or mowing services on their own. If you have clearances and time you can work as a tutor or a baby sitter. Good at the web? You can offer services for websites or graphics in your spare time. Look at how much time you have and what skills you have to offer and come up with what works best for you.
7. Keep a Change Jar
This is an easy way to save towards a trip. Get a jar, or some kind of container, and put your change in it every night. Try to use cash more than your card when you pay for purchases and you will be surprised at how much you can save. We have done this for a few months and cashed out a couple hundred dollars. I’ve also heard that some people save all their $1 or $5 bills they get. It adds up quickly.
8. Vacation Club or Disney Vacation Account
Many banks offer vacation clubs. They are like Christmas clubs where each pay check the bank will take out a pre-determined amount of money and put it into a special savings account. When you are ready to pay for your trip you can just take what you need out of the Vacation Club account. Since the money is set to come out each pay you get used it not being there and before you know it you have extra money ready to go.
If you prefer Disney offers it’s own savings account called the Disney Vacation Account. It works much the same way as a vacation club account.
9. Tax Refunds
I know a lot of people who simply wait for their tax refund and then book a trip to Disney. It’s almost like a vacation club because you pay the taxes in all year. We have done this a couple of times when we weren’t going to use the money for repairs or bills. Now is a good time to book if you have recently gotten a refund, especially if Free Dining does get announced soon.
10. Cut back on expenses
Our kids spend more time watching YouTube than TV. We have found that instead of paying $100 a month for television we just pay for internet and services like Hulu or Netflix, saving about $80 a month.
A lot of times, if you shop around, you can find less expensive alternatives for various house hold expenses. We just switched our cell phone service to a different plan and it cut our bill by $50.
It isn’t difficult, but it can take a bit of time to look into where to switch or swap. For us, just the television and cell phone save us $130 a month!
What are some techniques you use to save money for Disney trips? We would love to hear your ideas! Comment below or in the forums!