A Big Way To Cut Costs At Disney

We’re back!

We are home from our Disney trip and I am so happy to be in our house! This was my 4th trip to Disney (Orlando) and it was Chris’s 1st trip. We both had our fun and our struggles with this vacation. We are pretty cute together sometimes too:

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Disney is a magical place, there is no doubt about it. Characters everywhere, amazing architecture and all of the childhood feels. However, all of that does come at a hefty price.

I want to give you a way that we could have saved money on our trip last week, had I known some of this ahead of time. I hope this helps you to plan your Disney trip and save some money!

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The number one expense that I noticed was our food. We used a dining plan offered by Disney. These dining plans are fantastic! We paid for the plan upfront, and then every time we got a meal or snack, we just scanned our MagicBands and went on our way. Essentially, you get credits when you use the dining plan – it allows you a certain amount of “Regular” meals, “Quick Service” meals and snacks.

When you pay you still get a receipt that shows how much the meal cost (as if you were paying out of pocket). The numbers on our receipts shocked me. We were paying about $50.00 for every quick service meal, which is essentially fast food. The meal that floored me consisted of burgers and fries and a cupcake…that cost $47.00! What?! 

The next meal that made me want to write this post was a sit-down character dinner. The characters come around and take pictures and sign things at your table. I am just not a fan of character meals. They interrupt and I do not care to take pictures at a meal. Just not my thing.  Anyway, this meal was a buffet that we stayed at for 15 minutes. Our meal cost over $100.00.  For 15 minutes of buffet food, we could have paid our electric bill again. Not to mention, tips are not included on dining plans.

Now that you have an idea of how crazy expensive our meals were, let’s talk about how to get around this.

We stayed 6 nights. It is essentially paying around $100.00 to $200.00 a day for meals on the dining plan (based off of our receipts). We even skipped lunch some days because it was just too hot to eat in the parks. We could have easily eaten for maybe 200.00 for the whole week! We had the luxury of having  kitchen in our resort room, but I will not include food that has to be cooked on this list. It’s not super healthy, and it’s very repetitive, but it’s about $800.00 more in the bank! Here is my sample of a frugal DIY Disney meal plan for two people (prices are based off of our local Wal-Mart and are approximate):

Breakfast:

Granola Bar (can buy a box of 8 bars for around $6 a box ) – $12

Yogurt (usually can get around 20 if on sale) – $10

Lunch:

Sandwich Bread – $2

Deli Meat (should get about 2 boxes) – $6

Cheese – $3

Mayo – $3

Lettuce – $3

Dinner:

(Can do sandwiches again for about $20)

Pizza (could order delivery to avoid having to heat)- $5

Salad (price includes cheese, croutons, dressing, salad mix, etc) – $20

Fast Food (for two people for $5 for 6 nights) – $60

Snacks:

Chips – $4

Fruit Snacks – $4

Apples – $5

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Lastly, bring your own BPA-Free water bottle. Bottled water at the parks can go as high as $6.00 per bottle, or one snack credit. Why waste money when you can fill up your bottle at your hotel? I say to fill it at the hotel because all of the parks had very metallic water in their water fountains…even when we were super thirsty, we did not want to drink it.

I hope this gives you some ideas around how to save money on your food bill for your Disney trip. Don’t focus on the food, focus on the memories! If I had done this, I would have enjoyed our trip much more, and I would have had more money to spend on some great souvenirs.

Any tips that you have for cutting costs on vacation? Let me know in the comments below!

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Guilty Pleasure

Wednesdays seem to be the hardest day to get through for me. It’s the middle of the week and I still have 2 more days until the weekend! I try to be positive and make the most of every day. I don’t want to spend my life living for the weekend…but sometimes it is just difficult!

I make time for myself during the week so that I don’t feel like I am dragging along – and this means indulging a little! I am not going to tell you that I make time for the gym and make sure that I am eating well… I do this, but sometimes you just need a little “pick me up”.

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One of my favorite guilty pleasures is taking a warm, bubbly bath. I love getting Epsom salts and bubble bath mixes that are scented. I particularly enjoy the ones that smell like eucalyptus or lavender. Not only is this super relaxing, but it takes a while. To fully enjoy the bath I make sure I set aside 30 minutes. Put on a show, bring a drink in the bathroom with you and get ready to unwind!

Another guilty pleasure for me is nail polish. For a present one year, Chris bought me a nail polish rack to hold all the polishes I have- currently over 30 bottles! I love to paint my nails at night after work. It makes me feel put together and more feminine. This is also something that takes some time as I have to wait for my nails to dry. My secret is that I sometimes paint my nails in my parking lot before I go in to work. Easy and no danger of smudges.

Overall, my guilty pleasures are little activities that make me feel more like myself. These activities become my “me” time and allow me to settle down, reflect on the day and get ready for the next one.

Do you have a favorite way to end your day? Let me know!

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Let’s Taco ‘Bout It

Everyone that knows me is fully aware that I love puns. I use them at work, I send them to Chris during the day, and the worse the pun is, the harder I laugh.

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a quick new freebie for everyone today. Grab this free print here, or under the Digital Prints section of the blog.

This is perfect for your kitchen or bedroom!

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Hope everyone’s Tuesday is filled with cheese and tacos (don’t forget the queso)!

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Unique Disney Packing Tips

We’ve got 4 days left until we leave and I’ve got the “travel bug”! Over the next couple of days I will be cleaning, getting some items to bring in the car, and starting to pack our suitcase.

We will be driving to Disney, so we will have a little more extra room than someone who is flying. Here are some tips that I will be using to get ready for our trip. This is not an all inclusive list of what to bring with you, but just some fun items to keep the boredom at bay and to make your trip easier.

Feel free to comment with your own and let me know how they have worked.

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  1. Collapsible Laundry Bags – These are fairly cheap ($1 – $4) and can be found at a variety of stores (Dollar Tree, Walmart, etc). Use these in your hotel room for dirty laundry and it will be much easier to pack up when it is time to leave. You will also already have all of your laundry sorted for when you are back home.
  2. Zip lock Bags – These are also inexpensive and can be used in a variety of ways. Use them for the following options: makeup, lotions, wet clothing, to separate items in your purses or bags, and snacks! Don’t forget some yummy treats to eat during your drive or flight – and you can save money by bringing your own snacks to the parks. The meals and stands at the parks are delicious, but they can eat up your budget really quickly.
  3. Spandex – This can vary person to person, but spandex or a thin, fitted undergarment can save you from hours of discomfort! You will be doing a lot of walking and the worst thing that can happen is you get some chafing burns. Along with this, you can bring a variety of ointments to help. I have heard of people using Vaseline, deodorant and even baby powder to help with any chafing.
  4. Scented Spray – No one likes stinky hotel rooms or bathrooms! Bring a can of your favorite Febreze or other sprays and you will save your nose. This can also create a relaxing atmosphere in your room and make it feel more like home.
  5. Glow Sticks – Save some more money by bringing your own Glow Sticks and Glow Necklaces! These are very pricey at the parks, but everyone loves to have them at the parades. Your kids and family will not mind having them brought from home, and your wallet will thank you too!

These are just some easy and fairly inexpensive items to help make your Disney trip easier  – maximum fun!

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Spring Shop Update

I have updated the Etsy store with some new prints, and I have been able to complete a custom order for a customer!

I have had the most fun (and stress) making something to fit someone’s request. 

To celebrate, I’ve added a new coupon code for spring that is valid until June. Get $1.00 off any item that is $3.99 or more.


Enjoy and expect some new things in the works! 

Happy Days

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Photography by our great friend Adam

It’s official – We are married!

This past week has been a great blessing to us – spending time together and with friends.

If our wedding and week after is an example of the rest of our lives, I know that we shall be happy.

With all the planning and decorating and such over, I now have more time to create for my own pleasure. I just added a new watercolor piece to the watercolor gallery.

Tonight I am working on some new ATC cards, and those should be up within the week.

Stay tuned!

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DIY Details

With only 3 days left and one glue gun down, we are pretty much ready for our wedding on Saturday!

This evening I wanted to share a basic DIY that we are using: wedding programs. I chose to make ours in the style of a fan, so that our guests can use them if it is too hot or humid. I also chose to make the back of our programs fun by adding a word search game and some trivia about us – there are always those boring moments before the ceremony begins! The supplies needed are very basic, and there are only a few different steps.

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Supplies Used:

Cardstock ( 2 packs, at $5 per pack) – $10

Black Ink For Printer (I bought mine at Walmart) – $16

“Curvy Craft Sticks” (from Amazon, pack of 200) – $7

Graphic Design – Free (me)

Glue Gun – $3

Glue Sticks for Glue Gun – $6

Steps/Instructions:

  1. First I designed the front of the fans, making sure to include basic ceremony information, a thank you, and the names of those in our wedding party. *Side note: I accidentally used one of my bridesmaids maiden name, and didn’t catch it until around #80. My tip is to have someone double check your wording and spelling within the first five! I decided to just roll with it (and checked with her as well).*
  2. Design the back! As stated above, I wanted to make it fun and give our guests something to do while they sit around awkwardly. You can google “free word search maker” and you will get plenty of options where you can make your own and save them as an image file.
  3. Test your printing on a regular sized paper before using your cardstock. I printed mine on regular sized letter paper at 20% and printed them 10 at a time. Printing them 10 at a time let me take some much needed breaks, and it was easy to keep track of how many I was making.
  4. Center your images and cut into a square. My finished squares ended up being about 5 1/2 inches by maybe 7 inches.
  5. At this point you can choose to round your edges with an edge trimmer or use them as is. Both are great options – I chose to round mine to make it look more finished and professional.
  6. Take your handy curved craft sticks and your glue gun. Ready, aim, go! I only had one pack of glue sticks so I had to run to our local Dollar General to get a few packs. The next day my glue gun gave out on me, so I made another trip there to get a new one. I first glued the craft stick to the front page (face down), then the back, and for the last step I ran some glue along the left and right sides.
  7. You are done!

This project was fairly easy, but I definitely took my time finishing. The cutting out of the images were the worst part for me (even with a paper trimmer) and when my glue gun stopped working. I finished the whole project over the course of 3 evenings and ended with a total of 100 programs. Also, I ordered some mini golf pencils from Amazon to pass out with the programs for the word searches.

I hope our guests enjoy them!

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

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It’s The Final Countdown

final-countdownCredit: Aleisha

15 days left until our wedding!

This blows my mind. I knew when we set a date that we had a shorter engagement, but it really flew by! The past 6 months have been a whirlwind of flowers, work, socializing and money spent.

I have put my art, Etsy and this little blog on the back burner since the engagement and I am looking forward to getting some of my hobbies back.

An update to this site includes the “Food” page. Instead of just baking (which I don’t experiment with that much anyone), I am hoping to try out a new dish every week that is also budget friendly! We love to cook and we love food, but it is hard to this sometimes with a budget in mind.

Speaking of budgets, I recently started selling on “Poshmark”. This is a nice website/app that allows users to sell women’s clothing and accessories (among other items) for a minimal fee. Once your item is purchased, you receive a shipping label, and you ship the item for free. It’s very user-friendly, a great way to clean out your closet and make someone else happy!

If you want to join, enter the following code and you will receive $10 when you get the app!

JXZOU

Find me by the username: Erinnicole1991. Good luck & have fun!

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DIY for Days

We are making some progress here at home! 

I knew trying to make a lot of our decorations would get time consuming, but it’s not real until you have to cut 160 invitations and put them together. 

The crazy part is that I still have so many ideas that I want to try. We only have about 2 months left, so I am running out of time. 

My craft room has officially become the wedding decor headquarters- it now has a huge fold-out table in it that is covered with flowers, invites and plenty of hot glue. 

One of my friends recently tagged me in this photo and it is ringing true right now:

  
(You can order this print here)

Just for fun, here is pumpkin helping me with envelopes doing the stink-eye.

 

Need some help?


Nothing like a furry friend to make the time go by.

Until next time.

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