At current count, I use 12 different earning and cash back apps. Some of them are slow earners that I cash out once or twice a year. Others are a little more consistent and I am able to cash out every other month.
Just like I have different earning speeds, the apps have different cash out speeds. Sometimes it’s instantaneous and before I can make a note in my savings worksheet, bam, I’ve got a gift card in my inbox. Other times, I cash out and it takes so long I forget all about it. Then I am pleasantly surprised when a $50 PayPal deposit is waiting in my emails.
This is all good and well when I have a few years to save, but I have a trip in less than six months and I am getting antsy. I cashed out for several apps weeks ago and all I have to show for it is this measly fund report.
Speaking of feeling the pressure, I decided this week to put more money in my solo trip than the family trip. When I started saving for these trips, I decreed that the first $25 dollars would always go into the family trip and the rest would be for the solo trip. Welp. Looks like I’m going to have to make a new decree. Hear me out: we had an even $19 left from January’s diaper budget, and my other deposit this fund is a nice round number, no cents or singles to worry about. I could blame it on the maths, or my laziness, but when it boils down to it, my solo fund needs that dollars more than the group trip. There are literal years to make up those few bucks for the family trip, but in less than 180 days, I am going to be at the Food and Wine Festival and those six dollars will be all that stands between me and a sparkling mimosa.
It’s not that I don’t think I’ll save enough money…it’s just that I’ve never saved on this short of a time period. Our 2018 trip was a 16 month saving extravaganza. You know, you read about it. Our 2017 trip fell in our lap because we sold our house for waaaaay more than we anticipated. Anything before 2017 was BS2D: before Saving to Disney.
B2SD trips were paid for all at once, usually with holiday bonuses or a portion of our tax returns. We cut corners on big things (less park days, driving instead of flying) but didn’t know how to get the most out of our vacation while also spending less. We didn’t know how to get discounts on rooms or flights, how to budget for the things we really wanted to do, or how to take advantage of perks and promotions.
Saving in the long term for a trip really stretched our dollars. We could assess as we went, tweaking our vacation as we saved. We could see, over the course of months, where our money would best be used and if it looked like we were going to have more (or less) than we anticipated, we could adjust accordingly. When we found out I was pregnant with the Teacup we had to change our dates, which changed our hotel, and even our ticket types. Because we had time to adjust financially and planning wise, that big life change was a welcome part of our vacation, and didn’t throw everything into chaos.
But if I’ve learned anything from Saving to Disney (and real talk, I’ve learned a LOT) it’s that having a plan but remaining flexible is the name of the game. So as I feel the time crunch when it comes to paying for my girls’ trip, I am going to make some adjustments.
Originally I had decided to put the first $25 of every earning cycle into the family trip and the rest in the solo (now girls) trip. I have no reason for that particular amount of money. It just seemed like a nice, solid amount. But in order to continue saving for both trips without driving myself crazy (and too much maths), I am instituting a new plan. Henceforth, I decree she who does the savings shall put whatever amount of money into each separate trip that she deems reasonable. End decree. Because why not? I’ve got to pay off both trips, but one has a much closer deadline than the other. It only makes sense to go at the speed that works best for me.
April 24th Deposits
2021 Family Trip
After Last Deposit: $7900
Total Deposit: $19, from January Diaper Surplus
Still Need: $7881
2019 Solo Trip
After Last Deposit: $837.65
Total Deposit: $30, 3 $10 Target Gift Cards from Playground Crew
Still Need: $807.65
How many apps do you use? What’s your saving speed? How often do you cash out? Give me your best tips for waiting patiently for cash out rewards 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 five 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!