Saturday, March 27, 2010

Couponing to Disney!! Really?? YES, It can be done!

Can the average person afford a trip to Disney? Well Kristin at Couponing to Disney proves that they can. She started her blog to showcase how she is using money she has saved by being a smart shopper, by using rebates, by saving found money and by earning extra cash online to pay for her yearly trip to Disney World. Since June 1st, 2009, she has saved over $2600 and not one dime has come out of their paychecks! And she teaches that anyone can save for anything they previously thought was out of their budget. She has readers couponing to Germany, couponing to cheerleading camp and couponing to a new television! It doesn't matter what you want to save for, she shows you it can be achieved.
Kristin, thanks a million for guest posting with us! Please make sure to visit her at site by clicking here! It is an awesome site!!

My name is Kristin and I am a coupon addict. My coupon addiction feeds my other addiction, Disney. How are the two related you ask? Well I have learned how to use the money I save by couponing to pay for my yearly trip to Disney World. Here's how it all began....

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I started making all these elaborate plans about a fantastic trip to Disney World when she was old enough to enjoy it. Then I saw the price tag of a Disney vacation and compared our finances and those dreams diminished. There was no way we could afford a Disney vacation with our current budget.

It wasn’t long after my daughter was born that I discovered coupon shopping. But I only used a coupon here or there. I didn't realize the amount I could have saved. In January 2008, my new years resolution was to become more adamant about using coupons. I started learning everything I could about saving money. I learned how to combine coupons and sales, how to stockpile, how to use rebates and eventually how to save my family thousands of dollars a year.

I was a smart shopper for over a year before I realized we could now afford a Disney vacation. So I started planning and by May 2009, we were at Disney World. We had 8 wonderful, magical days at the parks and it was everything I had dreamed of and more. (You can read about that trip here.)

When we returned home, we decided we would start taking a yearly trip to Disney. But we didn't have the funds to designate to another vacation. We had other things we needed to spend our income on. So I decided to challenge myself to save the entire amount we needed by being a Smart Shopper.

So I started racking my brain to figure out how I could save this money. I had a little less then a year to save.

The first and most obvious way to me was to start saving all our loose change. I withdrawal our weekly budget ($150 for groceries, entertainment, clothing, etc) in cash. Instead of making correct change, I always break a dollar and save the coins. The change goes into the Disney fund. It usually averages out to about $10 a week. That’s $520 a year! That’s 1/5th of the cost of our trip and it's money we don't miss!

Out of that $150, I also save whatever is left at the end of the week. This inspires us to eat out less and not buy items we don't necessarily need. And if I came close to spending money and I resisted, I add that to the Disney fund as well.

Next I save all our found money. Found money can be anything from $1 in the dryer to an unexpected gift from a relative. It could be money earned by having a yard sell or by selling your Aunt Irma’s spoons on Ebay. If we weren't expecting the money, it gets applied to our trip.

One of the biggest sources of my fund is by using rebates. Prior to saving for Disney, I was not very diligent about using every rebate available to me and there were times that I would forget to mail in my receipt and I would lose out on the rebate. So I became more dedicated and organized about rebates and now they get deposited directly into the Disney fund.

There are also lots of ways to make money online. I participate in about 10 different survey and rewards programs. It adds up over time. I usually do them while I watch TV. And the more surveys you do, the more you can make.

I also have the Disney Visa by Chase. It rewards us with 1 Disney Dollar for every $100 we charge. So we use it to pay as many of our bills as possible. While it isn't the best rewards card there is, it gives us other Disney perks as well. So it's worth it to us.

I started saving for our trip on June 1st. We are going for 11 nights (May 22nd to June 2nd). We have 10 day park hopper tickets (2 adults and 2 children), the quick service dining plan (2 meals and 2 snacks per person per day) and will also eat at Chef Mickeys. The total cost of our trip is $3050. In 10 months I have saved $2675 and not one dime has been earmarked from our budget.

A Disney trip is not out of your reach if you are resourceful. As the great Walt said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

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