How I Save for a Trip to Walt Disney World

I returned from my three week long trip to Florida on Wednesday 14th and by Tuesday 20th I had already booked to go back in September. When I announced this, I had several people ask “but how can you afford to go again so soon?”

Based on that question, I thought I would compile a post of the ways that I save for WDW and also how I save money when I’m booking a trip to WDW.

Something to bear in mind is that I do not make a lot of money. For obvious reasons I won’t disclose how much I earn but it’s sometimes hard to understand how somebody’s saving/budgeting works without knowing how much money they’re starting off with – someone who says they save £600 a month may sound impressive, but if they have an annual salary of £80,000, it doesn’t seem as much. It’s all relative. I sadly don’t earn £80,000. Nowhere near.

With that being said, here’s how I save:

Treat saving like paying bills

This is the mindset that has helped me save so much more money than I was saving before I decided to go down this route. I treat saving as if it’s not optional. I’ve set up a direct debit to my savings account that leaves my bank account at the start of each month, at the same time that my various bills are paid out. Whatever I am left with in my bank account after this is the amount that I have to spend for the month.
This prevents me from being frivolous with my money (something I’ve been known to do from time to time, particularly when Primark has some particularly great Disney merchandise!), as I have to keep a closer eye on my spending.
I choose to save to three different savings accounts (see below), but that is my own personal preference. Just setting up a direct debit for £50 per month once you’re paid can really add up (that’s £600 in a year – enough for flights to Florida!).

 

Have a specific savings pot for holidays

If you save without targeting what that money is going towards, it’s a lot easier to forget what you’re saving for. I have savings that are specifically for holidays and others that are for everyday life (a ‘rainy day fund’, if you will). So if I need extra money, I dip into that rainy day fund rather than the holiday one.

 

Save using Chip

Chip is a great app that links to your current account and, based on a few instructions from you, will save amounts at regular intervals. You can choose roughly how much it takes (you can opt to save more or less, and set goals), and it will notify you before taking any money so if you’re a bit tight on cash at a particular time, you can choose not to have that money taken. The algorithm is really good, and will recognise if your spending has been higher or you have less in your account and adjust your save amount accordingly. I have anywhere between £10 and £20 taken at a time, four or five times a month.
Since I set up my account in October I have saved almost £600 without even trying.
There are a few other apps similar to CHIP out there (Plum is another one, I believe) but I’m so happy with Chip that I’ve not needed to try any of the others.
If you decide to use Chip, I’d love you to use my referral code, which is RXFFR8. You’ll get 1% interest on your savings for using the code and so will I – so it’s a win win situation!

Take advantage of deposits

Sometimes you see an amazing deal and you can’t quite afford it at that time. Sometimes companies will offer a deposit rather than asking you to pay the whole amount at once. This allows you to get things booked but still giving you a bit of extra time to save. For instance, the official Disney website sometimes offers a low deposit – for my upcoming trip I only had to pay £25 per person to secure the booking, with the remaining amount due 6 weeks before my holiday. Other hotels will accept a booking with payment on arrival.
It does mean putting these things in your diary so you don’t forget when to make the payments, but it’s worth it if you don’t have the money now but know you will in, say, 3 months time.

 

Buy things through cashback websites

If you’re going to buy things online, take a look at cashback websites such as Top Cashback and Quidco (note: both of these are referral links – they don’t cost you anything to sign up through the link, and help me keep running this website). By using the link on the cashback website to online purchase websites, you will receive a percentage of the amount that you purchase through the site (percentages vary depending on the company, and even on the time of year – sometimes companies will offer extra cashback for a small period, so always check!).
It doesn’t cost you a penny to do, and can add up in the long run. You can also convert the cashback into shop gift cards, which gives you more money than taking the money as cash into your bank account. For instance, I converted £29 of my cashback into £31 of Amazon gift card and bought some SD cards for my camera – which were essentially free!

Cut down on unnecessary spending

This one is possibly the most obvious but also the hardest. When you get home late from work and you can’t be bothered to cook, it can be so tempting to order a takeaway. Once every now and again (as in, one every two or three months) is fine. Once or twice a week is costing you an absolute fortune.
The same goes for lunch. That £3 Boots meal deal may seem like a bargain but £3 a day for 5 days a week for around 48 weeks of the year adds up to £720 – that’s only £60 less than I paid for return flights and 10 nights accommodation at All Star Music!

I hope you’ve found this helpful. If you have any other ways to save, let me know in the comments – I love knowing ways that people save and seeing if I can implement it in my own saving.

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2 Comments

  1. 31 March 2018 / 2:36pm

    Emma, I love your tips for direct deposits into savings! I will be researching the apps you mentioned. Because you are right: $10-$20 a few times a month adds up quickly!

    We also have a airlines reward credit card. Now this one takes discipline because if you don’t pay it off every month, there are fees of course. But we rack up airline miles by paying bills, rent, etc every month then pay it off with the money we would have used for those things anyway. The miles add up fast and they also offer “buddy fares” which are add-on tickets for like $99 apiece.

    I also hack the things I would already do to make them cheaper. For instance, I enjoy a Starbucks coffee once or twice a week (I’m a nurse and sometimes it’s necessary!). Well instead of ordering the double-mocha-white-chocolate-double-shot whatever, I simply order a grande brew coffee and add a few things from the condiment bar. It has the same effect for me, and only costs like $2. It’s easier on the waistline too! Anyway, I’ve enjoyed this discussion. Happy saving!

    • 2 April 2018 / 9:01pm

      YES, the airline credit card is something I’ve been looking into! It’s such a good idea. Just need to hunt down the right one. And love your Starbucks idea … I might try that because I’m notorious for ordering the most whipped cream and syrup I can, haha. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

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