Doing things together as a family often means coming up with ways to find the time and the money to make it happen. You know that isn’t always easy. Time is what it is and we do our best to work around work, school, and extra-curricular schedules. We had a little bit of success with putting aside money last year, so we’d thought we’d share how we did that. It may work for you too!
Here are three things we did this past year that actually worked and helped make our adventures happen!
As I was writing, I received this email from Google with a map of all the places I visited in 2018. It’s probably not perfect, but it looks close.
It’s got our trips up to Rochester, NY, Hershey, PA, and down to Walt Disney World, and many of the little trips in-between. We certainly got around in 2018. And it certainly helped to have the money set aside to make those trips happen.
In addition to our traditional savings account, here are three ways we put more money aside that actually worked: An app that automates our savings, an app that helps us earn free gift cards, and working some side jobs.
Automated Our Savings with Qapital
Having a separate fund to put money into helped us achieve some of our goals. And in more than one instance, it also helped us deal with some of life’s curve-balls.
Signing up for an account with Qapital allowed us to put money into a separate, legitimate bank account automatically. By simply installing the app on my phone, linking it to my bank account, and setting up a savings rule, I was putting money aside without having to think about it.
In the time I’ve had the app, I’ve saved close to $3,000 using a simple round-up to the nearest dollar on my purchases. That’s not too shabby. But if you want, there are a number of ways to set how much money you transfer and how often. And you can set multiple goals. This year, we’re going to set up more rules and let Qapital really help us save for those bigger adventures, like a cruise!
Qapital has also added a spending account and investment account option to give you even more flexibility on how to grow and access the money you put into your Qapital account.
And best of all, there are no fees, your money is FDIC insured, and you can easily transfer the money back. Want to try it? Use this link to try Qapital and you’ll get $5 to help kick-start your savings.
Stocking Up on Gift Cards
Gift Cards are another method that worked well for us. We frequently ask for gift cards instead of gifts for birthdays and holidays. And you can buy a gift card for just about anything these days. Getting gift cards in small amounts over time is a great way to save up for a big-ticket purchase.
For some of our travel expenses, we even save money by purchasing our gift cards at Target with our Target REDcard because the 5% discount applies to “specialty” or “entertainment” gift cards. They have Southwest cards we can put towards flights, Hotels.com gift cards for places to stay, Restaurant gift cards for eating while on vacation, and Disney gift cards can be used for everything at Walt Disney World!
Another way we stock up on gift cards is by earning them with the Shopkick app. With this app, we get “kicks” by simply walk-in to stores, scanning barcodes on certain products, and occasional purchases. In our opinion, it’s worth checking out. Since installing the Shopkick app on my phone, I’ve earned over 70,000 kicks, which is about $280 in gift cards. It’s not bad for the little bit of effort it takes. I rarely go out of my way to earn kicks. I get most of them while running my normal errands or during my commute if I’m walking by a store and I have extra time.
If you sign up for Shopkick through this link, we’ll both get kicks towards a free gift card!
Getting Our “Side Hustle” On
There’s only so much you can cut back and scrimp, so finding ways to bring in extra cash have a huge impact. More and more people are working extra jobs that they can do from home or in their spare time to earn more money. Here are some of the ways we brought in extra cash last year:
- Sponsored Posts – The ads and affiliate links we have on our site bring in less money than it costs for us to run it. But last year may be the first year that we made a profit from collaborating with brands. Often, we just get to keep the product. But when we’re paid for our time and effort, that can add up.
- Writing – Disney fan? You may have seen some of Lisa’s contributions to WDW Magazine!
- Selling Stuff – Lisa sold some jewelry, James sold some hard-to-find toys, and we de-cluttered by selling things through Facebook groups.
- Being Guinea Pigs – James participated in a clinical trial for a cosmetic company. He earned $110 for trying out a face lotion for a week!
- Making DVDs – James created the DVD for our daughter’s graduation and got to keep a portion of the sales. Someone who liked his work hired him to make a DVD for her husband’s birthday.
Hopefully, we’ll find more ways to earn some money on the side in 2019!
What works for you?
We’re always open to new ideas for saving and earning the extra money to make our adventures possible. If you’ve got a great idea that you don’t mind sharing, leave a comment below!