When I was a young person, my Grandma used to send me $5 for every holiday you could think of. Valentine’s Day? $5. St. Patrick’s Day? $5. Arbor Day? $5. Now that I am a no longer a young person, I get checks for big holidays. In fact, the older I get, the less I see of presents and more of checks and cash. To which I say, yes, please and thank you.
In our family, my husband and I each have one set of parents and one set of grandparents. That’s four checks at Christmas and four checks at birthdays. What do we do with all that money? The natural instinct is to spend it, right? It’s a present and presents are for spending. If you’re living that thrifty, savings-crazy lifestyle, it can be a relief to just buy things you want with expendable money. But there is another way. It’s a way that takes discipline, but will be worth it in the long run.
Ya’ll have been reading FUNDamentals, so you already know what I’m going to say, right? Right. Put it in the fund.
Good news: you don’t have to put all of it in the fund. You don’t even have to put most of it in the fund. Just put some of it in the fund. Consider: Grandma Carol sends you $50 dollars for your birthday. Mom and Dad send you $50, too. You can put half in the fund and keep half to spend on birthday treats! When my husband and I both do this, we’ve got an extra $100 for the fund. If we do it at Christmas as well, that’s another $100. This kind of money is great for your fund, because it’s like found money. You don’t budget for it or do something to earn it. It just comes to you and then turns into Mickey bars.
What if you get gift cards for the holidays? I’ve got one Aunt who never met a gift card she didn’t love to give. These can still contribute to your fund. Take the amount of cash that is equal to your gift card and put that in your fund, while you use the gift card for other purchases. This will be dependent on what your budget looks like, as well as what kind of gift card you get. For example, if you get a $50 gift card to Walmart, spend it. Take that money out of somewhere in your budget, like groceries or gifts, and then put it in the fund. It will be easy to keep track if you’re using the Saving to Disney worksheets.
If you want to go all in on the gift card savings, an easy way to grow your fund is by saving all the gift cards you receive throughout the year. Instead of spending those Target gift cards you get on WYB3 deals, or the giftcards your bank sends for signing up for automatic payments, save them. See if you can apply them to your trip. If they’re Visa or Mastercard gift cards, you can use them for anything from food to souvenirs to park tickets. This is another opportunity to find money for your fund without it coming out of your pocket.
What are you doing with that birthday money from friends and family? Do people just know to give you Disney gift cards at this point? Tell me all about it in the comments!
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey three years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!