This Is How We're Saving Up For a Big Family Trip

If you've ever been to Walt Disney World, you know that it's not only the happiest place on earth, but also one of the most expensive. This Spring, we'll be taking our first vacation there as a family of 5, so, as you can imagine, it's taking an exorbitant amount of planning.

When we decided to go, money-saving tips were the first thing we researched. We've already booked one of their value resorts, passed on the pricey dining plans, and settled on driving instead of flying. But since we'll be there on our daughter's fifth birthday, we know we definitely won't be able to skate by without a visit to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or a few character dining experiences. Then there's the souvenirs that I'm sure our three children will need (we'll let each of them choose one). All of those extras will undoubtedly cost a pretty penny. Here are three slightly unconventional ways we're saving up for them.

1. Making Every Penny Count

Literally. Since we almost exclusively use cash in our household, we end up with a lot of change. All of that change makes its way to a giant water cooler bottle. We'll roll it into our car and cash it in at our bank right before our trip. There's no telling how much we'll have, but the fact that it's been building for over a year now with another several months to go leaves me hopeful that we'll get at least a couple hundred dollars.

2. Ibotta

If you haven't downloaded the Ibotta app, then drop everything and do it right now. It requires minimal effort, and I've earned over $300 since joining two years ago. How fast or how slow your earnings accumulate depends on how you use it (I don't let it change my shopping habits, so I tend to earn slowly), and you can get lots of bonus cash for mobile shopping and referring your friends. That money can be used to purchase electronic gift cards or transferred directly to your Paypal or Venmo account. With our upcoming trip, I'm letting my earnings build, and I'll withdraw the money right before we go. By the time Spring rolls around, there should be at least $100 in my account to use for some small souvenirs for each of our kids.

3. Credit Card Points

As a rule, we don't rely on credit cards. However, certain things (like my gym membership, online purchases, and travel expenses) require them, so we're accumulating points. Our credit card allows us to use our points toward our balance, which is exactly what we'll do once we purchase our park tickets. Since we don't use our cards much, we certainly won't have enough points to cover the cost of our tickets in their entirety, but something is better than nothing!