So, you really want to go to Disney. If you are like us, you want to go “all out”, as many days as possible, the best resort you can get, the most diverse restaurants and of course spending money! But times are tough and trips like Disney are a special treat, one that takes a true commitment to saving. I’m one of those people who can save if I have to, but I also have a bit of “shopaholic” in me, which, when it came to saving for Disney, actually helped.
One of the best things I did was get a Chase Disney Visa card. For every $100 you spend, you get a Disney Reward “dollar”. You can use these “dollars” for everything from Disney movie tickets at your local theatre to theme park admission at the World. I use this card for everything, food, gasoline, bills etc and track my spending in my checkbook like a debit card. That way I don’t go overboard by spending money I don’t really have, yet use the card to its greatest advantage. I even just put the down payment for my new car on it, even though I had the money in the bank, why not get the reward dollars? The other great thing about this card is when you charge your Disney vacation package or Disney cruise, you get 6 months interest free to pay it off. (Make sure you tell the cast member when making your reservations that you are using the Disney Visa card) Other perks include discounts at select Disney stores and Disney Tours.
At home, we have multiple Disney fund change jars. At the end of the day, all the loose change in your pockets goes in the jars. (Kids too!) If we’re feeling generous, we might part with a bill or two. I give myself an “allowance” each week for miscellaneous spending. At the end of the week, if I have any left over, I set that aside too. I read a tip that suggested when you grocery shop, check the line at the bottom of the receipt that says “you saved: $(some amount)”, either through coupons or store specials, and set aside that amount. (If you already “saved” it, better put it to good use!) All this may not seem like a lot, but I’m always amazed at how much we have saved after just a few months.
For me, one of my favorite things to do in Disney is go in every store. (Dave is rolling his eyes right now…) Yeah, they all have pretty much the same stuff, but it’s a different store, I still gotta check it out! But being the experienced shopper I am made me much more aware of the Disney paraphernalia already available to me back home at a significant savings. Do you need some Disney items before you leave, maybe some trinkets to “hint” to the kids you’re going or things to keep them occupied in a long car ride? Try your local dollar store first. Pencils, coloring books, yo-yo’s, sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, night lights, handbags, sunglasses all at a fraction of the cost of most things with a Disney character on it. Every kid needs an autograph book in Disney, I got both my kids “Pirates of the Caribbean” journals for a dollar each. (And don’t forget a big black marker, those character hands sometimes have some pretty big mitts on them!)
I love the Disney clothes, especially at the TrenD store in Downtown Disney. But unfortunately high style comes with a high price tag. Recently I found a great Mickey Mouse t-shirt very similar to the ones sold in TrenD in Walmart for just $8.00. If I put aside the money I saved buying the WalMart shirt instead of the TrenD shirt, I could buy lunch for 2 at Wolfgang Pucks!
So, keep your eyes open before your trip. Handbags, hoodies, pj’s, tank tops, they are all out there without paying the Disney price. Of course you will find special items while you are down there that you could never find at home, and those are the things you shouldn’t miss out on. And now maybe you can, because you shopped, and saved, a little smarter before your vacation even started!