Swagbucks: Easy Earners for the week of 7/5/17

So you may have heard me mention Swagbucks before. It’s a website that gives you points for doing small tasks, taking surveys, online purchases, and signing up for subscriptions.

I have a love/hate relationship with it to be honest. Sometimes it’s great, and other times it’s a real pain. If you are going to sign up for it (and I suggest you do), make a separate email address just for the account as it will frequently spam you.

Many religiously spend an hour each day on Swagbucks to meet daily goals and earn bonuses. Personally, I think there are much better uses of your time, so I am only going to share with you easy returns. Most will require you to spend money, but then earn additional money back in Swagbucks points.

For the week of 7/5/2017:

  • Sign up for Hulu and receive 2300 Swagbucks under the Discover tab. Easy money maker as Hulu can be cancelled at anytime and is only $9 a month. I have had Hulu for many years and gave up cable altogether 8 years ago, and never looked back.
  • Sign up for eStories and receive 2200 Swagbucks under the Discover tab. Pay $6 a month for three months.
  • Sign up for Paribus (free) and receive 300 Swagbucks under the Discover tab. I am a big fan of Paribus.
  • Sign up for a bundle of products from Honest Company under the Discover tab and receive 2500 Swagbucks, and 40% off your first bundle. I love their bug spray and stain spray.
  • Donate to WCS and earn up to 6500 Swagbucks under the Discover tab. For $9 donation you receive 2000 Swagbucks, and 1500 for each additional month for three months. Great moneymaker and you can help wildlife!
  • Donate to the Sierra Club and earn 3000 Swagbucks under the Discover tab. For a $15 donation you receive 30000 Swagbucks.

Each Swagbuck is equal to a penny. They can be traded in for cash via Paypal, or receive a bonus for the first $25 giftcard you redeem each month for only 2200 Swagbucks. This is what I usually do. I set a goal of getting that $25 giftcard and then take a break until I can purchase my next one at a discount. Happy Swagging!

Please note all Swagbucks links are referrals.


Can You Save on a Last Minute Disney Trip?

So many people plan for a long time for their Disney vacations – and they should. It’s a large expense especially for families and with many others going, it can be difficult to get reservations for dining and attractions that you prefer. So what happens when you decide to plan a trip last minute?

Well, my family recently found out when we threw a Walt Disney World trip together in less than a month. The sudden rush was due to a number of reasons, but namely it was due to my husband changing jobs. We had a small window time to take a vacation, and didn’t have much time to research. Since we had meticulously planned our previous trip, and I have consistently followed along with the changes in the parks, a trip to Walt Disney World ended up being an easy plug and play solution. Continue reading

How I Paid for my Disney Vacation

It’s all fine and dandy to read savings tips on how to pay for a trip, but without real numbers it’s sometimes difficult to understand so I wanted to lay out how my family of three – two adults and a toddler – paid for our 8 day trip to Disneyworld in April 2016.

First off, we put down a $200 deposit immediately upon our dates opening up (the minimum required for booking and totally refundable), and stayed flexible. This allowed our travel agent to easily take advantage of new promotions, while remaining in the hotel room we wanted. We ended up changing our touring plans three times, ultimately saving 15% off our hotel stay, and receiving one day free with the purchase of our 4 day park tickets.

Our total cost for tickets and hotel room is: $2126.67

I chipped away at that number – which is nearly twice what my family normally pays for a week’s vacation – a number of ways.

Continue reading

Prepping for Disney: What to Pack

Packing for a Disney trip brings up some unique challenges. Here are a few key items you should bring.

  1. A cinch backpack to get through security more quickly. All bags and wallets are searched – the fewer pockets the better.
  2. A cellphone charger and cable. Disney app is great until your cell battery is dead. Be prepared.
  3. Sunscreen/hat/sunglasses
  4. Change of clothes (especially socks)
  5. Swimsuit
  6. Refillable beverage containers. Water is free and readily available in any park. Drinking a lot in the hot Florida weather is very important.
  7. Rain gear. Ponchos are a great idea for that famous Florida afternoon shower. Also a good solution for wet rides. We bought ours at Dollar Tree, but if you’re expecting a lot of rain you may want to upgrade to a sturdier option. A stroller cover or an umbrella may be a good option for guests in wheelchairs.
  8. Hand held or stroller fans are a great idea. If you want a misting fan, bite the bullet and get the one in the parks. I hear great feedback on them, and if they malfunction or break they will replace them.
  9. A pad for the stroller that will help keep little ones cool.
  10. A FrogTogg towel which cools as it dries.
  11. Something for characters to autograph. Autograph books are the classic way to capture characters’ autographs. They are cheaper and readily available on ebay, as well as the Disney store. But if you want to be more unique you can bring something else for characters to sign. For us we are bringing a large canvas letter of our daughter’s first name so we can hang it on the wall when we return. Others bring bags, pillow cases, or even photo mats to sign. Another idea is to bring a storybook and have the character sign where their story is in the book.
  12. Glowing and light up items for nighttime activities. This is a great pro tip. Bringing these items at home – mostly from the dollar store – will save you a LOT of money. Bring some to share and you’ll be a hero.
  13. Good walking shoes. Leave the flip flops at home. You will be walking several miles at Walt Disney World by no stretch of the imagination. You need something with support. Bringing an extra pair and switching every other day will help keep your feet comfortable and dry.
  14. Snacks. I’ve been on the hunt for Disney themed snacks for a while. I found boxes of cookies at Dollar Tree that were Disney branded. I found packs of freeze dried apples on Amazon. And applesauce pouches and Mickey shaped veggie chips at Target.
  15. Cleaned pennies and quarters. My daughter absolutely loves pressed pennies. There are MANY of these machines throughout the parks so I knew this needed to be part of our experience. It makes for a great cheap souvenir too. I cleaned the pennies and then stacked them in a mini M&Ms container which seems like they made just for this task. Pennies are also great to carry to throw in various wishing wells and fountains throughout the parks.
  16. Things to occupy kids during travel. Coloring books, and a loaded up tablet will keep kids occupied. Don’t forget snacks, favorite toys, change of clothes and diaper needs.
  17. Things to occupy kids during line waiting. Looking for hidden Mickeys will only take you so far. I picked up this eye spy sort of game at Target. I also plan on taking a small container of bubbles.
  18. Necklace for a pearl from Japan. Picking an oyster and finding a pearl inside in Japan is one my cherished childhood memories of Walt Disney World. The necklaces available to contain your pearl are quite pricey. Thankfully, you can purchase a similar necklace on etsy for much less. Saved me quite a bit.
  19. Princess dress. If you are bringing small children, dress up items are a must. The parks do sell these items, most exclusive to the parks which means a lot more money. Priced at more than $100 in some cases, I knew I had to bring along some dress up. I ended up stalking the sales at the Disney store and got two dresses (Elsa and Rapunzel) for $50 total. High quality dresses can also be found at JCPenney. Dressing up ensures your children will be treated like the special royalty they are, but always keep comfort in mind.

Star Wars Launch Bay Opens at Hollywood Studios

Since Star Wars weekends has been sadly eliminated from Hollywood Studios, and the new Star Wars land is still probably three years out, Walt Disney World decided to hold us over with the Star Wars Launch Bay. The new experience features Chewbacca and Darth Vader Meet N Greets, as well as costumes and other items from the Star Wars franchise.

Check out this full video overview from Inside the Magic.

Ask r/WaltDisneyWorld: Where do you find respite in the parks?

I’m a member of Reddit (aka the front page of the internet) which allows people to share information and converse around common interests. A great Reddit group is the topic r/WaltDisneyWorld. Whenever I can’t find an answer to a specific question I ask them and they give me their honest answers.

So today’s question is: Where in the parks do you find respite?

With their ever growing popularity, the parks can get super crowded, even during slower shoulder seasons, and sometimes we just need a break. Whether you have a small napping child, want to relax yourself, or literally recharge (your phone that is) here are a few good places. Continue reading