Using Savings Apps to Save for Vacation #savingsunday

Week 2 of our saving for your family vacation series is about utilizing the savings apps to your vacation’s advantage. I have posted about using the Ibotta app to save for gift cards but this post is going to feature 4 different apps to help you save for your family vacation.

Some of these apps are completely new to me so I am still learning how to use them but they have definitely added to my family vacation fund. The 4 apps are Shopkick, SavingStar, Checkout 51 and Ibotta (of course hehe).

Starting with Shopkick, this app is one that I have had for a while but never really opened it on a consistent basis until recently. With Shopkick, you have earn “kicks” or points by walking into specific stores, for scanning specific products at these stores and for making purchases (this is where you earn the most kicks). This is basically free money for your vacation just for walking around a store that you are already shopping at! Shopkick pays out through gift cards. They have many different cards to choose from but what will be most beneficial for our family is redeeming for Walmart gift cards and then using the Walmart gift cards to purchase Disney gift cards which can be used all over Disney World or redeemed to go towards our balance for the trip. You can do the same thing for your own vacation for restaurants or stores you may visit on your vacation. The only thing you cannot use a Walmart gift card to purchase is a the prepaid debit cards. Use code SAVE627743 or download http://getsk.co/save627743

The next savings app I have started using is SavingStar. This app is handy if you shop at stores that have loyalty cards because you can upload the rebates to card so they will automatically show up in your SavingStar account after you purchase the item and scan your card. For stores like Target and Walmart, you can scan your receipts for the rebates. Once you hit $5 in rebates, you can transfer your savings into a bank account, PayPal account or onto various gift cards.

The third app that I use is Checkout 51. Similar to SavingStar, you can upload rebates to a loyalty card or receipts for other stores. What I like about this app is that not all rebates are brand specific so just buying veggies or meat can save you money. Once you hit $20 then you can request a cash out which means they will send you a check. Be sure to allow enough time to cash out and deposit into your account for your vacation.

Last on the list is my favorite Ibotta! If you read my previous post about Ibotta, I detail how to use them and how great they are. With the holidays approaching they are offering even more stores both online and in person plus bonuses. Do you know how much you can save with Ibotta? So much money in rebates which can be cashed out to your PayPal or venemo account or redeemed for gift cards. This is always my go to app for rebates because I get the biggest payout. Use my referral code, hytctkm, and you can get a $10 welcome bonus. Sign up at https://ibotta.com/r/hytctkm

Our weekly update: This week I used ShopRite from Home to use the $10 off code to pay for the service fee and have less headache trying to walk around the store in my current condition. My budget was $175 which with my paper coupons and digital coupons plus some bonus purchase saving bonuses, I brought our bill down to $130! That is $45 for our vacation fund. Plus another $50 in rebates between all my apps (I am waiting to redeem them until it is closer to time I will use them). I had a few FB yard sale group sales so half of the money was $20. Lastly, I had a couple of handmade orders so half of that money totaled $40. Total for the week is $155! Adding that to last week’s savings and we are at $209 so far which is pretty good considering I had a rough week with my pregnancy and school.

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Saving Your Cash for Vacation Part One of Four #savingsunday

Saving Money for

After many Sundays talking about how to plan your budget for your family vacation, I am going to spend the next 4 Sundays talking about how to squeeze out that extra money for your family vacation. Today, we are going to start with how to use cash instead of debit or credit cards to pay for your in-person purchases and collect the change to save for your vacation fund.

Trust me, I know that convenience of using a card to pay for everything at a store BUT having worked retail for many years, I have dealt with the times that card machines are down. Being on the other side of the counter and explaining that we can only accept cash can lead to many upset customers. This has taught me to keep cash on me and not rely on my cards.

Part of revamping my financial budget was learning to pay with cash because it can be so easy to go over my budget limit. Before I go into a store, I have my list in hand (which I am human and don’t always stick to that list) and my cash that has been alloted for that trip. If I can’t afford to pay for it with that cash in hand then I don’t buy it on that trip.

This is where the saving for your vacation tip comes into play! Whenever you pay with the alloted cash you have budgeted, take the change you didn’t spend and place it in your vacation jar. This has been how I have saved so much money because I have learned to use coupons and find sales to use to my advantage so when I allot $40 for a trip to Walmart for basic essentials and come away with a savings of $10 that goes right into our jar.

We have incorporated this savings skill learning process into Danyella’s schooling as well. Now she will equip herself with a calculator and our budget to see how much more we can save and how much more we can put into the vacation jar. Even if you start doing this with small things like your morning coffee. Say your coffee costs you $3.50 (I am a latte person in the morning) and you have a $5 bill to pay for it. For 5 days you will save $7.50 towards your vacation. Even small savings do add up!

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Update on our Family Vacation Jar Week 1:

Since I was extremely sick this week after getting the flu and tdap shots, I was not very active in making/saving/budgeting money. In our cash jar, we have saved $44.76 which is from the system above. Plus, in rebates we earned $9.78 from the apps that I use (more on this on my next savings blog post next Sunday). Unfortunately my other 2 plans needed me to be able to function and that didn’t happen so we fell short of our weekly goal but this is a fresh week and fresh start. Goal: $163 Actual Savings: $54.54

Small Vacation Budget Goals

Supermom Says

Now that you have your vacation destination set and your budget laid out, it is time to set your budget goals. The ultimate goal is to raise the money you need for the trip and spending money but breaking this big goal into small ones are what make each step feel like a great accomplishment. I love the feeling of setting a goal, whether it is a goal for a day, a week or a month, and achieving those goals. Time to put those goals into manageable ones for your family vacation! Do you have your Family Vacation Notebook ready?

For our family vacation to Disney World, we are first saving for the deposit and airfare which is only an approximate because the airfare rate can change. Then, we have to save for the balance of the trip. Lastly, there is the most important savings…. Spending Money!

I prefer to break these larger goals down to months and then down to weeks. This makes the big goals feel so much more achievable when you see them in small amounts. So what are your goals?

Starting with our deposit which is $1300 and due on January 1st. The balance will be $7130 which I don’t find out when that is due until I pay the deposit. That part is a little frustrating because it should be broken down on the payment options page. I am going to figure that the balance will be due in March so I am breaking that down for a 3 month goal. After that we will save for our spending money which everyone knows is alot when it comes to Disney spending.

As much as I wanted to begin my savings for our family vacation in October, life and unexpected bills and car repairs proved otherwise. So we are starting our savings in November. Breaking down our deposit over the next 8 weeks, we need to save $650 per month or $163 a week. That can seem like a lot since that is nearly our rent payment a month but it is achievable with my money-saving system that I have been implementing and strategizing. (I will go over these next Sunday!)

Danyella is already enjoying participating in placing our vacation savings into the savings jar which is starting to get some money in there. Along with the Savings Blog on Sundays, I will be updating how our goals are going every Friday on my Facebook Page: Kaella Boutique so that everyone can see how my strategizing and savings are going. Feel free to like our Facebook Page so you can follow along and share your own vacation savings stories!

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Vacation Savings Jar DIY #savingsunday

savings jar

This week we are getting hands on with our savings by making a savings jar! The kids love this part because we hit Michaels and the Dollar Store for fun stickers and a jar. I like to pick out a jar with the chalkboard stickers because we can write where we are going and a countdown on the sticker.

The kids love to decorate with the stickers and talk about how we can save money for the cool trip. They can come up with some awesome ideas on how they can help us save money. Usually it consists of giving up a favorite food they like to eat so it is one less thing to purchase in the grocery order or giving up toys or other things to sell on the yard sale groups. I love hearing them get into all of this and it gives them satisfaction to be a participant in the vacation planning and saving instead of the adults telling them what we are doing and how we are saving for it.

Our jar is Disney themed but you can find cool beach, camping and other destination stickers and you can reuse the jar by taking the stickers off using Goo-Gone or soap and hot water which saves for the next trip. Even if you are using this for your spending money on the trip, it teaches the kids how to save and have fun doing it.

What are you going to put on your Vacation Savings Jar?

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Setting and Keeping Your Vacation Budget

Setting A Budget

We are on to Step 2 which is the most important step…. Setting your family vacation budget! Now that you have set your where and when, we get to look at how much this whole trip is going to cost. I am using our budget for Disney World to walk you through my thought process for budget setting.

Our plan for our Disney World  trip is set for July 1-July 7, 2018. Being an animal lover, we want to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge so that is our resort of choice. In the past, I have stayed at the Polynesian on the  concierge level which was a great benefit because they have a buffet of food and snacks all day long plus we had a better view from our room. Personally, it was worth the extra money. At Animal Kingdom Lodge, concierge level gives you the view of the Savannah with the animals which would put Danyella on cloud nine. This put us at $5525 for the week-long stay with access to food all day.

I did toy with the option of staying at the Polynesian again because of the access to the monorail which makes traveling between parks a lot easier with a baby.  At the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we will be utilizing the busses to get around. (Thank goodness for strollers and baby carriers!)

The next thing I added to our package was upgrading our Park Tickets to the Park Hopper with the water park option. It added more money to our overall cost but it is worth it because we will be going to different parks through the day so we have time to bring the baby back for naps and breaks. This put us at $5812 to add the Park Hopper option.

Something that was suggested to me from a yearly Disney World traveler, was to get the Memory Maker package because they will take better pictures then we will take. Her pictures proved it! So we added the $169 Memory Maker to the package which put us at $5981.

When I was at Disney, 15 years ago, there was no Dining Add-On Option for our vacation package so I consulted others that have been there and they all say that the Dining Plan was a must especially when you want to do the character meals. I got lots of tips on how to use this plan to get the best benefit out of it. Now add $1359 to our package price to make it $7340.

Onto our travel plans…. With an infant we are flying a direct flight from Philly to Orlando and using the free transport that Disney offers from the airport to the resort. This added $934 to our package. Plus I opted for the $155 travelers insurance just to be on the safe side. This put our Package total at $8429! Holy Cow!!

One of the nice thing about booking your trip through Disney, you can start with a deposit instead of paying for the whole trip up front. The deposit price includes the flights so that they are booked immediately. Our deposit for the trip is $1288 which is due immediately in order to book the trip and the balance is due on January 1st, 2018

For us, this will be our starting off point because we don’t have the $1288 just laying around the house but we will be finding ways to save this money. Yes, this will change our flights and possibly our price but we are not ones to use credit cards to charge things for entertainment purposes. Overall, with spending money our budget for this trip will end up being $10,000! Wowzers but this includes our travel, lodging and food which is the bulk of any trip. The rest will be just what we want to buy or spend money on!

Now it is your turn to get the budget in place for the major expenses: travel, lodging and food. If you destination doesn’t offer a package like Disney then you will need to make the package yourself. There are a ton of apps that can help if you choose to travel by car that will help with gas mileage and prices so you can add this to your budget. Then you can look and compare prices for the lodging to add that to your budget. The last big cost to include is your food. If you are renting a house in your destination, you can bring your own food and save a ton of money! There are so many ways to save on food if you look at what restaurants are in the area of your trip.

I hope this breakdown helps in your budget setting! Next week we will look into the savings jar and breaking your budget down to small goals. disney

5 Steps to Save for A Family Vacation

5 Steps to Save for a Family Vacation

One thing that I haven’t gotten to do but have wanted to do for so long is take Danyella on a family vacation. We have done fun day trips or trips where we went away for a couple of days but never an actual vacation. At 10 years old, she has been dying to go away and learn more about the world and see other places. Top of both of our list is…. Disney World!

Yes I know so cliché to want to go to Disney World but as an artist and artist in the making, Disney World is filled with so much art and entertainment and just fun that why would a kid of any age want to go. I have been there once and that was 14 years ago when both the older kids were just little ones. It was fun but in that time there has been so many changes to Disney World that it is time to go back. So now it is time to find the money to go down….

We are a credit card free family which means we save our cash for our bills and entertainment. If you are looking for ways to save for your Family Vacation without running to your credit card then this is where these tips will help us save for Disney World and you save for your family Vacation!

  1. Pick your Family Vacation and Dates! This is the most exciting part, besides going on the actual vacation, is picking where and when you want to go on vacation. Get your family involved in the process to see where everyone would like to go and make sure you have your calendar ready to see what dates you need to black out. I know in my family we have the dance recital the same week every June so that is a black out for us. Then there is arranging around when school starts and ends and other life events. Once you pick your destination and dates mark them down on your calender.   Orange Circle Studio 2018 Do It All Magnetic Wall Calendar, Aug. 2017 – Dec. 2018, Mom’s Do It All
  2. Set a Budget! This is the research phase of your trip planning. You will need to find out how much your trip is going to cost and how much you need to budget for the lodgings, transportation, food and spending money. Some places (like Disney) will offer packages that include the hotel, transportation (flights), and food. It is best to get this down on paper so you can see what you need and want to spend your money on. Another thing is to find out if the package or lodging wants a deposit or pay full at the time of your booking. Home Budget Workbook                                                                                                               
  3. Start a Savings Jar! This is something that I started for my girls Las Vegas trip about 6 months before our trip for my spending money. As a waitress, I lived off of my tips so I always had cash on me but I didn’t want to have to go to the bank every time I wanted to deposit the money for the trip. I am a visual person so I created a jar, got fun Las Vegas scrapbook stickers and decorated away. Everyday that I worked, I would take the couple of ones that I had left over and stuffed them into the jar. By the time I left for Las Vegas I had saved over $1000 and watching the jar fill up was making the countdown to the trip just as fun as the trip itself.My Las Vegas Trip Jar
  4. Break Down your Budget to Small Goals! How much do you want to save each month or week? Do you need to save for the deposit first? This is where a great notebook dedicated to your family vacation will help with setting and keeping your goals. Keep an eye on those goals so you know when you need to pay for specific things and where you need to increase your savings.Mead Spiral Notebook, 1 Subject, 70 College Ruled Sheets, Assorted Colors, 6 PACK (73065)                                                                                                     
  5. Find Small ways to Save Money! This is going to be the most important part of your saving for you trip is where you can save the money to go on vacation. I plan on highlighting different ways to find the extra money the rest of Sundays in October but here is just a few to think about… Grocery Shopping savings: Set your budget then when you use your coupons, take the left over money from your shopping and place it in your savings jar! Cut out your Dunkin or Starbucks coffee for a month and place that money in your savings jar! Use the savings apps to purchase gift cards or deposit in your Paypal account so you use it towards your trip!

I hope this encourages you to start your family vacation planning today! I will be highlighting ways to save for your trip every Sunday in October so keep an eye out. What ways have you and your family saved for your family vacation? 

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Ordering Your Groceries #savingsunday

Order YourGroceries

One of the best decisions that I have ever made was to order my groceries from our local grocery store. This is a service that Shoprite has offered for a few years but I thought I was better then paying the fee to have someone else do my shopping for me. Boy was I WRONG!

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Shoprite offers either a pick up or home delivery service. After hearing my coworker talk so much love on the pick up service, I decided to give it a try and I am so glad that I did because all I had to do was create my order, pick my time slot, pull into a designated parking spot, open my trunk for them to load my car (blue bags are your cold items) and drive home! Super simple and easy.

Over the past year of using this service, Shoprite has made many changes to make it easier on the customer to use this service which I love because I can order right from my phone when I have spare time. Another great upgrade is that they save your prior list so you can shop from products you have already purchased without searching for them.

When you begin your order, you have the option of adding items from a previous purchase list, a saved list, the interactive weekly flyer (this my preference), browsing departments or searching for the item.  There have been times where I have had to input a specific item and then they call me to verify the item for my order but this has been rare. Keep adding all the items you need and want on your order.

One great thing about shopping online is that you are not being sucked into those impulse purchases. I know that even a “quick trip” to Target can add an easy $100 to my bill because you see other things that you might “need” and just throw them into your cart. This helps curve those extra items that in the end you really don’t want or need in your home.

Next, let’s talk about additional ways you can save with Shoprite from Home. You can use coupons, whether they are the digital ones that you can upload from Shoprite’s site/app or paper coupons or both! This is the best way to help save money because you can get those sale items plus coupons and get them for just a fraction of what the cost would have been. For example, about a month ago Arm and Hammer laundry detergent was on sale for $1.99 (small bottle but still a great deal) plus I had $1 coupons from coupons.com which means I got 4 bottles for just $4. We have only gone through one of those bottles and I do alot of laundry in my house.

Once you sign up with Shoprite from Home, you will begin to receive emails from them with different incentives including codes to get a discount when you purchase so much in groceries (before your coupons). Most times it is $20 off an order of $200 or more which we easily hit with our monthly order. Yes, we only put in one big order a month and then purchase the small stuff like milk and veggies on a weekly basis because they go bad or are eaten faster then a month. I see that savings code as helping to pay the Shop from Home fee so to me it is win/win.

When you select your payment method, pay cash because then you will get the money back from the coupons immediatly instead of it being applied to your Shoprite account and then you actually have to go into the store to purchase items in order to use that money. Now I have talked about the fee and here it is… $10 for the service. That is so small compared to what I am gaining and saving out of it. Last month’s bill should have been about $250 and with the coupons and code, I was able to bring it down to $202 which could have been lower but I didn’t have all my coupons organized (another post for another day).

All in All, I love the shop from home service because it saves me so much time, hassle from dealing with other people and most importantly, money! I know that Walmart has started the pick up service but I have yet to try it…. now I am motivated to research and try their service soon.

This post was not commissioned and is just my opinion on their service. If you would like to check out their service or see if there is a Shoprite in your area click this LINK

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