Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How I save for WDW trips -- Part I

Remember the post where I talked about spreadsheets?  Well, I track my savings in the same spreadsheet where I'm also tracking anticipated spending.  This makes sure I'm hitting my goal of how much I need to save before we can afford to actually go on the trip.  It's also great because it gives me extra motivation to earn more money for the WDW trips.  

I'm a thrifty gal.  It's how my mama raised me!  I grew up watching her clip coupons and stock up on staples when there were good sales, and I still do the same thing with my family.  I'm not as enthusiastic about clipping coupons as she was, mainly because there are different ways to save money on groceries now.  I mainly shop from my grocery store (and Target)'s weekly ads. I also search for coupons online that will stack with weekly deals (or are for things I need and will purchase if there's not a current sale).  Then I use ibotta (go here to join my team https://ibotta.com/r/x6avdw) and Checkout51 to save more money.  My rule is that the money from ibotta and Checkout51 go into the Disney fund.  I save anywhere between $20-100 per month this way.  This really doesn't take me that much extra time.  I just open up the apps to see what the current offers are, and I use that when I'm making my shopping lists on Saturday mornings.  

I also track how many Disney Dream Rewards dollars I earn with the Disney Visa Rewards card (see previous post here).  Basically, I get 1% of my purchases on the card back to load on to a Disney gift card.  Each month when I'm paying the credit card bill, I add the amount of Disney dollars I've earned right into my spreadsheet.  Since I don't charge a ton on that card, this often only adds up to $5 a month, but by the time my next Disney trip comes along, I've accumulated enough dollars to use for tips at table service restaurants.  I highly recommend this card, so go check out my previous post to see why, and get a link to get a $200 Disney gift card after you charge $500 on the card!

My biggest money maker for saving for Disney is secret shopping and product testing.  Details about that will be coming up in my next blog post.

As always, if you have any questions or want advice, give me a comment!


It's back! $200 Disney Gift card when you open a no annual fee Chase Disney Rewards Visa card

Are you planning a trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland?  The Chase Disney Visa Rewards card is awesome!

There are so many perks, including being able to book the vacation package and room discounts before the general public, which gives you the best options to choose from, as these deals -- especially free dining -- are limited to a small set of rooms at each resort.  You also get a special character meet in Epcot, so you can meet a couple characters with a really short line and not use up a FastPass.

There's a great promotion going on now for this credit card.  If you follow the link below to sign up for the card, once you charge $500, they send you a $200 Disney Gift card.  I charged the $500 in the first month I had the card, and I received my gift card within a couple weeks of paying off the first month's bill.  The best part is that the Disney Rewards Dollars (1% of what you charge gets converted into rewards you can use at Disney and Disney Store) don't expire for 5 years, so you don't have to spend them right away and can bank them to help offset the (hefty!) cost of a Disney World trip.

Typically this value of money back is only given if you open the Premier card that has an annual fee.

Here's the link to get you $200 back with the NO ANNUAL FEE Chase Disney Visa Rewards card.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Smiley360--SleepNumber Store

Do you like getting free stuff and sharing your opinions on social media?  Check out Smiley360.  I've been doing this for awhile and have gotten to try out all sorts of fun stuff.  The latest "mission" had me go to the SleepNumber store and try out the new beds.  Just for doing this, I got a free sleepnumber pillow that's heaven to sleep on.

Check out the link below to learn more about Smiley360 or sign up to be one of their reviewers.


Smiley360 Review of Emergen-C

My latest free Smiley360 kit was full of samples of Emergen-C.  I've received samples of this stuff years ago and never was that impressed.  I like products like this when I'm feeling a cold coming on and like to load up on vitamin C.  I think Emergen-C (and maybe that Airborne product) got in trouble with the FDA for making claims that they improve or boost immune function, and I'm not making any claims like that.  All I know is that when I have a cold taking a bunch of vitamin C, or drinking gallons of orange juice, I feel like it helps make me feel better.  I don't care if it's 100% placebo effect, if I feel better, I'll take it.  However, I won't take these types of supplements if they don't taste great.  Some of the vitamin C tablets taste almost as good as candy, so I set the bar pretty high for anything I'd use as a replacement.

Now for my review of these new flavors of Emergen-C...

They must have changed up their formulation because these taste really good.  I think I'll stash a few of these packets in my desk until I feel the need to take them and can't get out immediately to buy orange juice.  If you want to like products like this but haven't tried Emergen-C in awhile, I'd definitely recommend checking them out again.

The product was free, but the opinions are 100% my own! Check out the link below to visit Smiley360 and learn how you can get free stuff just for sharing your opinions of the stuff they send you.


Friday, June 27, 2008

The National Zoo

A couple weekends ago, Nic and I ventured out in the heat/humidity to check out the National Zoo, which like most of the DC attractions is FREE!! We're both easily entertained by animals, and it proved to be a great day! Here are some pictures from our little adventure.

The lions and tigers didn't seem to mind the heat.

Our favorites were the monkeys. They're so much like people that it's fun to sit and watch them.

The hungry elephant standing behind Nic was one stinky lady.

America's Pastime

Nic LOVES baseball. Lucky for him, I love going to baseball games. Although I am definitely a sports fan, it's not the actual game of baseball that I think is the most fun. I grew up outside of Milwaukee, and as a kid our family would go to Brewers games every once in awhile. I recall loving the tailgating part before (and sometimes after) the games, but not really liking the baseball part at all. I'm sure people who call other states home will disagree with me, but I really must say Wisconsinites are the best tailgaters. The food is often much more than just hot dogs and burgers, and the atmosphere is even better. I'd be content to go just to tailgate and not even make it to the actual game. 

The fun is not limited to the tailgating at Brewers games. First, there's Bernie the Brewer.  At the old County Stadium, whenever the Brewers got a home run, he'd slide down from his little house into a mug of beer.  At the new stadium, he has a dugout and a slide, but sadly, no mug of beer.

What I used to think was the best thing in baseball is the Sausage Races.  As you can see below, guys dressed up as various types of sausage [Brat, Polish, Italian, Hot Dog, (Chorizo is new, and not pictured below as I've never seen him either)] race around the field at the bottom of the sixth inning.  The sausage races make me so happy!!!
You may wonder how this relates to my life now. Well...the Washington Nationals have something similar that I think is even better than the sausages....the Presidents Race!!!  
Your favorite faces from Mount Rushmore run from center field down the first base line  every home game.   Silly antics occur with each running of the presidents.   On Sunday, we saw George hip-check Teddy into the wall...hilarious.  Also, in the 2+ years of these races, Teddy has never won.  He appears to be the laziest and most easily distracted, but entertaining all around.   Even though the Nationals are TERRIBLE, the games are always fun.  

Here are some pics from our latest trip to Nationals Park:

No more excuses from me!!

The other day Nic and I were talking about blogs, and he seemed genuinely surprised to hear that I had one. I swear I must have mentioned it at one point, and his memory must be wrong, but it got me thinking that I REALLY needed to add something. I can make lots of excuses for not posting, the biggest two of which are (1) my life is just not that interesting to write about—it’s a fairly standard combo of work/play/sleep, but I don’t have kids who do silly/cute things or other such interesting topics for blogging and (2) I just don’t take lots of pictures to make what I do more appealing for other people.

Luckily, Nicholas is [finally] here and, as he is an artist, he quite enjoys taking photographs...so that negates my second excuse. I also realized we do lots of fun stuff. We live in Maryland just outside D.C. and visit cool places at least once a week. I have new goal to post at least once a week to share all the fun we’re having in our nation’s capital. Enjoy!