Category: Saving Money

11 Easy Ways to Save Money on a Disney Trip

Whether you are planning your first trip to Walt Disney World or you’ve been going for years, there are some easy ways to save money on a Disney trip. Of course, there are ways to save money on hotels and airfare, but I’m going to focus on how to save money at Disney.

main street in Disney World

With a little planning ahead you can save hundreds of dollars while on your trip. Use that cash savings to stay an extra day, buy the giant Mickey Mouse your kid has been eyeing, or put it away for the next vacation.

Save money on a Disney trip with these 11 Disney money saving hacks

1. Buy discounted Disney gift cards before you go

There are many ways you can get Disney gift cards at a discount. The simplest one is to purchase them at Target by using your Target Redcard. This entitles you to 5% savings. So you will get every $50 card for $47.50.  Other options are to purchase them on Raise.com, Giftcardgranny, or cardkangaroo. If they are out of stock on these websites, they will let you set up an alert that will notify you when they are back in stock. I have purchased gift cards from all of the above locations and had zero trouble.

If you are staying at a Disney resort, your magic band will be used to charge all of your purchases. Then you go to the front desk of your resort and pay off your balance. You can also give the resort your gift cards at the start of your trip, and the amount will be reflected on your account.

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One Easy Way to Save Money on Diapers and Pull-ups

One of the single largest expenses you will have after welcoming a new baby into your home is diapers. You will find yourself wondering how in the world one little person can go through so many diapers in a single day.

You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to save money on diapers.

There were times that I looked at my daughters and told them (not that they understood a word I was saying) that I was going to take the 25 cents per diaper from their college fund. It was most frustrating when you had just changed them and they dirtied a new diaper before you even finished putting it on.

You will start by buying newborn (or preemie if your baby is born early or just small like Amelia) then onto size 1 and 2 and 3 or even larger. As they get bigger the price per diaper or pull-up increases.

You’ll play the game of how much longer do I have to buy diapers. Okay, I’m going to stock up one last time and then I’m sure they will be fully potty-trained and I won’t need anymore, right?!?

Wrong.

As my girls got older I tried to rationalize with them.

They needed to be potty trained so that we could stop buying diapers and save money for our next vacation. It never worked.

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Teach kids to save money, even if you’re still learning

Kids learn more from what we do than what we say. This is no different when it comes to money management. Modeling good money saving in your own life is the easiest way to teach kids to save money.

It seems that in our world of instant gratification, no one has to wait for anything. Patience is something that adults and children alike don’t get much practice with. You don’t have to wait for commercials on television. You can buy something and have it delivered in a day thanks to Amazon Prime. We are shocked when someone doesn’t respond immediately to our communication since email showed up on phones and text messaging became a thing.

Why in this world of instant gratification would we be shocked that kids are having a hard time learning to save money?

I want my kids to understand money management and I want them to know how to save money.

teach kids to save

There are definitely money decisions I wish I had made differently years ago, but there are far more things that I am thankful I did know about and did wisely.

Even if you are struggling with money management yourself, you can still help your kids learn to save money and overall money management skills.

In fact, watching you learn how to save and pay down debt can be a great lesson for your kids. Our debt snowball started after we had kids and our oldest, Cassidy understands our goal on a basic level. She knows that sometimes we say no to things because we are working on paying down debt. She also knows that nearly 10 years after her dad finished law school we are paying off the money it cost for him to go.

This is and will forever be a lesson in how student loans and student loan interest can impact your life for years to come. His student loan is older than she is!

cassidy counts her money

How to teach kids to save money:

Be open and honest.

Share some of your financial goals – age appropriate. I do not advocate for sharing all of your financial information with your children. This is an important part of explaining money to a child. It is okay to tell your kids they can’t have something at the store, because you don’t have extra money for it. However, you don’t want to share so much that your kids are worried that you don’t have enough money to live. In our family we talk openly about our debt snowball and how we are paying off a student loan. If you can’t afford a family vacation now, but it is a financial goal- share that information.

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2017 Budget Recap & 2018 Financial Goals

financial goals

Happy New Year! This is going to be a great year.

You have to believe it to achieve it, right?

I love the newness and opportunity for a fresh start that a new year brings.

I’m excited for 2018, especially when it comes to our financial goals.

I get a little too excited to do our year in review financial statement. Yes, I know that makes me a huge nerd, but I’m okay with it. If you haven’t done one before be sure to check how and why to do a budget recap every year.

Last year was the first year we recapped our year in this format and also the first year we publicly stated our financial goals.

Our financial goals for 2017 were the following:

  1. Pay $20,000 towards student loan debt  (we paid $8,206)
  2. Average $650 spending or less on food every month (average was $796/month)
  3. Average spending on home supplies and improvement at $75 or less a month. (instead our average was $298/month)

Well we didn’t do so well on those, but it was our first year with such specific financial goals. One thing I will do differently in 2018 is to input the monthly income and expenses on the yearly spreadsheet at the end of each month. This will help us to monitor how we are doing throughout the year rather than just at the end of the year. Similar to how we track our monthly expenses on our everydollar budget throughout the month, rather than just at month’s end.

Annual budget recap sample

Sample year in review budget form. All you have to do is change the expense and income categories to the same ones you use from Everydollar or whatever budgeting system you use.

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Don’t be Scrooge: How to Set Up a Christmas Budget That Works

‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la, la la la.”  It is, right? If you don’t have money set aside for Christmas spending, the holidays are NOT quite as jolly.

A LOT of money is spent this time of year.

set up a Christmas budget title

Gifts for everyone on your list.

Buying Christmas cards.

Stamps to mail Christmas cards. Does anyone remember when a stamp was $0.25?

Ingredients for all the baking you want to do.

Food for dishes to pass for every party or family gathering you are attending.

Donations – it seems everyone wants a little bit of your money this time of year. The guilt I have every time I walk by a Salvation Army bell ringer (I promise I give, but not every time I walk by) or say no to rounding up on my bill at a store.

Eating out more because you have less time at home to cook. You’re spending more time tracking down gifts for everyone on your list.

Is there any limit to the spending we do in November and December?

There can be, and the answer is simple . . . A Christmas budget.

Oh boy, there’s that Big Bad B word again that I love to use so much.

Honestly, though instead of being restrictive, a Christmas budget can be freeing. It allows you to spend money and enjoy doing so.

credit cary paying for Christmas expenses

Follow my simple “steps” for how to set up a Christmas budget, and you’ll be singing Christmas carols right along with me all season next year.

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Deals After Christmas

Remember those great deals after Halloween. Well, they are back and even better. Now it is time for the deals after Christmas.

Halloween tends to be the preview of what is to come, but there are usually a lot more deals after Christmas.

If you have leftover money from your current year Christmas budget, you can use that to stock up on holiday products for next year. Maybe you have already set up your Christmas budget for the coming year. If you make purchases now for next year, you can easily deduct them from that budget and document what you bought. I guarantee in 11 months you’ll have forgotten what you bought.  We did this last year with LED lights for outside and containers for cookie gift giving. What a great surprise when I discovered the new items we had and that was already paid for and part of the budget!

The best deals after Christmas

So let’s talk deals and what you should be on the lookout for.

The discounts will start right away on December 26. Some stores will be busy with lots of people out seeking these discounts, but they will be more crowded at customer service with returns. (side note: if you have a return try to do it when the store is least busy and definitely not on December 26. Nothing says your return must be done the day after you receive it)

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What to Buy on Black Friday

Everyone knows Black Friday is a big day for holiday shopping, but I bet you didn’t realize the variety of things you can get deals on.

This doesn’t mean I think you should spend all your money or go into debt because something is a deal. However, if you were in the market for any of these items, now is the time to buy.

what to buy on Black Friday

7 Things to buy on Black Friday

  • Vacations—Yes, there are some great deals on vacations on Black Friday. All you have to do is book the vacation on that day. If I had the disposable income right now, I’d be booking a nice beach vacation for the dead of winter for Brian and I. Maybe next year when we’re, fingers crossed, debt-free.

beach vacation

  • Pictures, Holiday Cards, Calendars – Typically, Snapfish and Shutterfly offer great deals on Black Friday. Bonus both are on Ebates. In years past, Snapfish has been as much as 20% cash back on Black Friday. Be sure to plan and have your Christmas cards ready, your calendars made and your pictures uploaded. Then all you need to do is order them on Black Friday. This is also a great time to order any holiday picture gifts such as ornaments, photo albums, calendars, etc. A family favorite picture gift that we gave one year was a puzzle that had the image of my parents and all of the grandkids. Everyone had a great time putting that together.

picture puzzle from snapfish

  • Toiletries and Medicine – Seriously, check the CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid ads. You can get free or deeply discounted items such as toothpaste, razors and over the counter medicines. If there is a rebate, don’t forget to submit them before the deadline. Check your coupons because you may even be able to make money on some of those things.
  • Household Items – You may not be thinking about items for your house, but Black Friday is a great time to replace old Tupperware, towels, dishes. If you like Zak kitchen items like I do, they are offering my readers a great Black Friday discount. Be sure to check it out. Several years in a row we got the huge Tupperware set at Wal-Mart. The price was amazing (less than $10), and we love it. It stores nicely in my drawer, and it’s easy to find a lid. At the great price, I don’t even mind replacing it every couple of years if need be.                                      rubbermaid tupperware
  • Wrapping Paper – The best deal I have found on wrapping paper is Black Friday at Walgreens. If I know I will need more wrapping paper for the holiday, I stop by there and pick it up. The price is always the cheapest. I also look over the paper designs. Some are generic enough to use for other holidays or birthdays. I have found generic roles most years.
    wrapping paper
    This was “holiday” wrapping paper that can be used any time of year.

    Appliances –Not many people think about buying appliances on Black Friday, but they are usually on sale. If you are remodeling, buying a new house, or just need a new appliance, this is a great time to consider making that purchase. This is both small kitchen appliances (mixers, blenders, crockpots, etc.) and big household appliances (washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, etc.). In fact, if an appliance is on its last leg and you can swing waiting until Black Friday, it’s not a bad idea.

  • Electronics – They are usually discounted very well on Black Friday. The products on the front page of the ads, the door buster sales, are not always the best purchase. They look the same as something that is good quality but they are low-quality. They are made cheaply so they can be sold cheaply to lure shoppers in on Black Friday. The better deal is the rest of the electronics that are on sale. One year we got a great deal on an iPads from Target online.

I hope this list has helped you to consider some new things you may want to buy on Black Friday. Buying now could save you a lot of money later. December is also a great time to save money all year on gift cards and certificates.

*Planning to shop on Black Friday, be sure to check out “7 Tips to Make the Most of Black Friday Shopping.

*Remember if you plan to shop online you MUST sign up for Ebates.  If you don’t, you are throwing money away.

What other things should bargain hunters buy on Black Friday?

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means at no additional cost to you; I will earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase. Thank you for your support in this way!

 

 

7 Tips for Black Friday Shopping

Black and Friday

Two simple words that when put together cause much debate.

Whether you like Black Friday or not, you have to admit there are some good deals to be found.

I’m not saying that you “need” these deals, but they do exist.

The key to successful Black Friday shopping is to know what you want and not get sucked into spending on things you don’t need or want.

tips for Black Friday

Worse yet is buying something that isn’t in fact on sale, but retailers lead you to believe is a great sale.  To better help you prepare for Black Friday, I have six tips to make the most of your Black Friday shopping.

You could just go and shop, but following these tips could save you money, headaches and time.

Trust me Black Friday can even be fun, especially when you get free money afterward just for shopping on Black Friday (Ebates, Kohl’s cash, gift cards).

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What To Buy in December To Save Money All Year

Did you know there is one thing you need to buy for yourself in November and December that can save you money all year long?

I bet you didn’t because even the best of bargain shoppers overlook it.

Are you ready for it?

What to buy in December . . .

Gift Cards.

Yes, if you buy gift cards around the holidays you will likely receive free “money.”

Say what?!

Free money that can’t be right Megan.

How does that work?

Well, it’s easy and just requires a little extra cash. If you don’t have it now, plan for next year. You can save up just like you do for your regular Christmas savings.

Start to pay attention to the places you usually go to (i.e. restaurants, spas, car wash, stores).

This is how it usually works:

Chili’s offers you a free $5 gift card if you purchase $25 in gift cards.

Culvers offers you a free value basket if you purchase $25 in gift cards.

Maggiano’s offers you a $20 gift card if you purchase $100 in gift cards.

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Halloween Deals

Did you know there are great deals to be had the day after a holiday?

Yes, the stores immediately mark down items for quick sale. The markdowns typically start 50% and may get as high as 75% or 90% if you are willing to wait.

Everything that is related to that holiday goes on sale.

Halloween deals

As we gear up for several holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s), there will be several opportunities for stocking up on items at discounted prices.

Here is your guide for what you can be stocking up on after Halloween.

Costumes:

If you have children or grandchildren or are a teacher with a dress-up area, you will want to check out the discounted costumes. Target has some great quality costumes that we have bought over the years.  They are great for playing dress up all year long. If you plan to go to Disney World within the next year, it is the perfect time to get character costumes for your children. Last year we bought an Elsa and Belle dress for our daughters. We put them away and surprised the girls before we left. I guarantee we spent far less money buying them after Halloween on discount than if we had bought them in June before our trip.

Halloween deal on costumes
The girls in their dresses at Disney World. Both bought 9 months before our trip for less than $30.

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