Recently, Jes shared her story with the Savears! Read her story and tips below.
I love travel! Four years ago, I took a three-month trip to Europe. I visited seven fairly pricey countries, but spent less than $7000. (That even included a trip to Disneyland Paris!) The only problem was that for months before, I was mostly miserable as I was saving every penny for my trip. So when I started planning my second trip to Europe, I wanted to be able to save without sacrificing quality of life. I’m a nonprofit worker and barely make above minimum wage, so at first glance it doesn’t look like I have that much discretionary spending. As a follower of C2D’s Facebook group, I decided to use their tips.
It started when I went to see Mary Poppins Returns in theaters this past January. Thanks to tips I found on the Facebook group, I was able to get my ticket for free. I even got a coupon for my popcorn. As I watched the movie that took place “underneath the lovely London sky”, I figured if I could coupon my way to seeing this movie, what’s stopping me from couponing my way to see London for real?
I started by making a spreadsheet with my goal, which was originally to coupon $2000 for just over two weeks in Europe. Then I broke it down into categories where I thought I would be able to save, such as Swagbucks, online, in-stores, banking, and travel-specific savings. Then I kept my eyes out for any deals that would save me money, give me free items/services, or even be moneymakers. While I didn’t have daily goals, once I finalized dates for my trip, I had a monthly goal of about $400. I ended up getting new credit cards during this time, which was a good way to save as I put both my daily and trip expenses on them so that I could earn the sign-up bonus. I found one of the credit cards through Swagbucks, so I earned SB on top of that!
Speaking of Swagbucks, this was a great place to find deals. I trialed meal subscription boxes and made donations to charities through this site, as both of these activities were good moneymakers.
The most fun ways to save was to find free days for entertainment. My local YMCA has one free night a month, so I took advantage of that for cross training days and otherwise used the outdoors to exercise. I went on some smaller local trips, like going to national parks during fee-free days. I found out which restaurants gave out free food on which days, such as Dairy Queen cones on the first day of spring, Wetzel’s Pretzels on National Pretzel Day, and plenty during my birthday month! I’ll be in Ireland during my actual birthday, and found a hostel in Dublin that will give me a free night for my birthday. That was a good way to save on travel expenses!
I try not to worry too much about budgeting when I’m traveling, so I try to plan things out upfront. That way, I have time to compare prices and find promo codes. By doing this, I was able to save a significant amount on The London Pass (which is already a money saver on its own as it grants admission to dozens of attractions around the city) as well as several day tours. I also needed some clothes and accessories to pack, so by buying things as I saw a good deal over the months instead of stocking up at the last minute saved me hundreds. I also utilized what I already owned. I borrowed travel guides from the library and took notes. I think the only gear I bought full-price was 97-cent WalMart flip flops!
Being on the lookout for deals for this trip even allowed me to save on other trips. I’m continuing to coupon as I found an excellent deal on a cruise to The Bahamas, which I’ll be taking at the end of the year!
New to Swagbucks? Swagbucks is a way to earn points by doing surveys, watching videos, and discovering new things. All these points, called SB, can be redeemed for gift cards from hundreds of major retailers including Target, Walmart, and you can also redeem your points for Paypal!
If you haven’t joined Swagbucks yet, you can join through this link. Be sure to enter the code SAVEARS to get started with 70 SB (this is exclusive to CouponingtoDisney readers; you only get 30 SB if you don’t use this link and code).
Just click on “I have a sign up code” when you join and put in the code SAVEARS.
If you are not a member of my Facebook group Saving for Disney with C2D (The SavEars) you should go join! It’s FREE and we help each other out. You don’t have to be saving for Disney to join. It’s a fun way for all of us to connect, and get to know other like minded individuals. If you are new to Swagbucks, they will be more than happy to help you along and answer any questions you may have!
Every day there is a new daily thread started that lists ways to earn Swagbucks. This helps everyone reach their goals. Just search #sbdaily after you go to the Savears group and you will see it!