Being an Annual Passholder, saving for Disney might not be as tough for me as others because I get awesome discounts throughout the parks and I also get to just walk right in without paying for a ticket. That’s not to say that I don’t have so much more to save for when planning my Disney trips. I live in California, so I frequent Disneyland as often as I can, but I live about six hours away in Sacramento because who can afford to live in SoCal, so I have travel and hotel to save for, too! With that being considered (also my love for food, pins, spirit jerseys and Alex and Ani bracelets), I can’t just hop in a car and go on a whim (#goals).
Other than just starving ourselves for months and basically living our best lives at work 24/7, Geli and I have come up with some ingenious ways to save for our trips! Here’s a few that I hope may help you to fund your next trip without hating every minute you’re not at Disney:
1) Cash Back Apps
Most of us go grocery shopping every week, right? Well, why not make some easy money on the side just for buying the items you need. It’s easy to do especially if you have a big family because the more shopping you do, the more rewards you’re going to get.
I mainly use two different cash back apps: Ibotta and Fetch Rewards.
Both of these apps reward you for grocery shopping at your favorite stores. My go-to is always Target (if they rewarded you for shopping in the dollar section I would be ballin’), but they also reward for shopping at stores such as Walmart, Costco and Winco! There’s a whole lot more stores too, but these are the ones I have gotten rewards for. Here’s the kicker, not only do they reward you for your normal grocery trips, you can be rewarded for using a meal delivery service, getting your drink on, mobile shopping, traveling (use this when you book a flight or hotel for your trip), and so much more!
Ibotta is definitely my favorite out of the two because I’ve already made $73 using this app in two months! I only put in the normal amount I would be spending, meaning I didn’t spend any extra money just to get the cash back! I used this app when I booked a hotel for a Disney trip and got back six bucks just for doing so and I also check out the cash back deals on snacks at Target everytime I’m getting ready for a trip cause who doesn’t need snacks for the car ride there??? The key to making a few bucks off the app for doing your shopping trips is to check out the deals for the stores you plan on going to before you leave and matching up the deals with your grocery list. If you’re using it for travel rewards, just go to the app and make sure to click the link to the site you’re using within the app or else you won’t get your cash back. If you wanna join Ibotta today, use my referral code wtqrwgw for a $10 welcome bonus when you redeem your first offer!
2) Personal Selling Apps
Take a long, hard look into your closet. How often do you even wear ALL of those clothes? Do they all even fit anymore? Do you have a forgotten box full of Disney collectables or 10 lanyards full of pins?? Then selling all of your extra clothes and merch on a personal selling app can bring you some moola on the side, especially the pins!
When I say “selling apps” I don’t mean Ebay. Ebay has A LOT of people selling items on it and often requires a large fee for selling. I personally use Poshmark and Mercari to sell my unwanted clothes and collectables. Poshmark is really good for selling clothing items and accessories while I usually sell all my miscellaneous goods on Mercari. These are both apps in which you make a listing for your item, choose your shipping option (either you can pay for it or your buyer can pay), and once your item sells you print a prepaid shipping label and off it goes. I know for sure that Mercari only charges ten percent for listings, once it’s sold, but Poshmark varies from time to time.
It’s so easy to list on these websites and I often cross-list items for more views and likes. I’ve made $605 already through Poshmark, I’ve been using it for about a year and a half, and even more on Mercari. It’s not something I have to put a lot of effort into which is good when you have a full time job, 3 furry children (2 puppies), school and a blog to run! You can join Mercari today and use my link https://merc.li/VCCXdFb to get $10 off of your first purchase!
I also have a few tips and tricks for selling Disney merch in particular on these apps. First, make sure what you’re selling is authentic. You might not know that the pin you traded for in the parks was a dud and the cast member just missed it. Take a picture of the backs of all pins for your listings, true pin collectors will be able to tell if they’re fakes or not. As for other merch, just make sure you show those Disney tags! For example, Tsum Tsum plushes have “butt” tags that prove they are authentic, whether from the parks or the store.
3) Save now for a trip later
Who doesn’t want to start planning their next Disney trip as soon as they get home?? Well planning your trips smartly can save you some big bucks for next time and also cushion your trips so that you have a little bit of emergency money on hand. Personally, I usually think pretty cheap when I’m booking my hotel room and planning things such as character breakfasts and max passes. It’s really important to prioritize your experiences. When you’re an Annual Passholder, some things aren’t as exciting anymore because you’ve had the opportunity to do them a million times. But, for others who are just going on their first Disney Parks vacation or are celebrating something special, I suggest sticking with Cash Back Apps and Selling Apps, there’s no need to scrimp on an important vacation.
Having stayed in most of the hotels, and motels, surrounding the Disneyland and Disney CA Adventure park, I know which hotels it’s worth it to save some money on and which I should just skip. Staying in a Disney hotel has lots of amazing perks and even more amazing pools and spas but think about it: Is it worth the extra $100-$200 per night?? Now I’m not here to argue with those who choose to stay at Disney hotels every trip, but I am here to suggest you save that for Birthdays and Anniversaries and such. Unless you’re going to stay cooped up in your hotel, exploring and napping and ordering room service, why pay the price? There’s plenty of hotels in walking distance of the park that merit amazing reviews. I’ve stayed at Motel 6 Anaheim quite a few times, since they have amazing customer service, nice rooms, a pool and are only a 10 minute walk to the parks. I typically only pay $80-$100 per night. To me and my family, a hotel is just a place to sleep and park your car. Of course, different families have different needs so plan accordingly to those.
Now when it comes to character breakfasts, which typically cost about $80 each if not more, we can all agree that these are super fun ways to eat and meet all of your favorite characters. I’ve done all but one of the character breakfasts at Disneyland (I haven’t done the one at the Grand Californian) and some I thoroughly enjoy more than others, but we’ll save that review for another day. My family and I occasionally take the time to reserve a place at a character breakfast for the food and the experience, but usually we just enter the park and head straight to the Jolly Holiday. I guarantee they’ll have something for everyone, not to mention their Caramel Macchiato is waaay better than the starbucks one 😉 If we’re in CA Adventure right in the morning, we head over to Starbucks and get coffees and a breakfast treat. For my family of, usually, 6 we typically spend around $40-$50 for breakfast. Now take into account that if we had chosen a character breakfast it could be closer to $500 just for one meal! Wowza!
What helps you save for your Disney trips?? Let me know in the comments below!