No matter how affordable it is, you still have to pay for it at some point, right? So unless you are a lucky lottery winner, coming up with ways to save for a vacation can be challenging.  Especially during this economy!

I think that one of the keys here is to make it fun just like the rest of your Disney vacation! Envisioning a goal is half the battle, and it helps you remember that giving up that coffee or take out dinner, now may mean a Dole Whip at Disney World. Anything that keeps “Disney” in your mind is going to help you keep “vacation saving” on your mind as well.

Now, here are some other ways to build your Disney piggy bank:

  1. Credit Card Rewards: I personally love using my Disney Visa card for our Disney World vacations. The rewards that are accrued over an entire year or so can pay for significant parts of our trips. The year we bought our house we put EVERYTHING on our Disney card and instead of just a couple hundred dollars we had almost $400 in rewards!  And even if you don’t plan to visit Disney World that often, you can use those Disney rewards for all kinds of Disney products: merchandise, videos, shows etc. Another benefit is the ability to postpone payments on a trip for 6 months, interest-free, so if you know you will have access to, say a tax refund that can pay for your trip, this can be a strategy too. If you have kids, and credit cards work for your lifestyle, this can be a card that can be great. But don’t overlook other cards you may have: many offer all kinds of rewards that can be used on your trip. Discover, for example, actually accrues dollars. Others add Frequent Flier miles which lots of folks use to pay for their transportation. If you are getting any kind of rewards, look into saving them up and applying them to your trip. 
  2. Coin Jars…for Kids of All Ages: You might be surprised about how much money can be saved over the course of a year by collecting your change. And what is great about this is that it really is money that is not really designated for anything else, so you won’t really think about all those coins sitting around, and probably won’t use them for anything else, so they really won’t be missed. My family also does this.  All spare change gets dumped into one jar and once a year I turn it in at the bank.  Many folks take this a step further and add money that is saved from coupon savings, and any other “found” money. Another way to implement this idea is for your kids to use it to build their own vacation funds. When kids have their own money…they won’t be begging you for yours.
  3. Get Rid of Your Junk: Having a yard sale is a great saving strategy for two reasons: we get rid of stuff that you don’t need or use, and get money for it in the process. Again, this is a great way to get your kids involved by setting up their own section of the yard sale with stuff they really need to part with: let them be responsible for selling their own items, and they can then put their profit towards their own Disney fund. Clearly children need to be old enough for this, but as an affordable Disney vacation strategy, it is highly effective.  Plus is they make a sign saying the money they raise will go towards spending money at Disney people may pay a little more for an item off their table. 😉
  4. Save Up Gift Cards: When your family members ask what you (or your kids) want for gifts, think vacation, and request gift cards. I have a friend who asked for sponsors for her daughter’s Bippity Boppity Boo Boutique package.  It was something they really wanted to do but it was slightly out of their budget.  Disney gift cards are great ways to make your vacation to Disney World more affordable. Whether for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Easter, or Christmas, they really are the perfect gift. Even if you are getting them yourself throughout the year, when buying in small denominations, they can help you budget easily for your trip.  You can even use them to pay for your trip!  Disney accepts them as a form of payment.
  5. Out of Sight, Out of Mind: You can really avoid the temptation to dip into your vacation savings, by putting the money someplace else, like a separate account. Consider a short term money market account or CD, if the timing works for your trip. We have a separate Vacation savings account that I hide from my list on the bank website.  I try and do my own “Vacations Club” using this account but if I can’t that paycheck it’s not a big deal.  Another idea is to start an actual “Vacation Club” account at your local bank: a variation on the old Christmas Clubs where you deposit a small amount each week and at the end of the year you have quite a little nest egg, this strategy really works well for many people. Turns out that old saying, “out of sight, out of mind” really works. 


So how does your family save for their Disney vacation?  Do you give the older kids spending money or make them save up on their own?  When you’re ready to book that vacation contact me and I’ll get you’re the most for the money you have saved!

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