My 30 yr Anniversary is coming up in 3 years. Our honeymoon was at WDW. I would like some saving strategies on how to surprise him with an amazing trip back for our Anniversary. We have been to Disney many times but always on a budget so I want to go all out with Deluxe resorts and fine dining. I have read some things about saving gift cards. Any advise would be appreciated.
If you want to stay in a Deluxe, plan your visit for an off peak period. At 11.5 months out from your planned arrival, contact one of the major DVC Point brokers. At 11 months hopefully you can get booked. If this works out (off peak it should), you won't get a better price on your accommodations.
I use a savings account with my regular bank, but if you want more separated savings, Disney does a "vacation account" thing. For me, having the money in my regular bank is almost too tempting to transfer it back and spend it on different stuff, but I also like getting the tiny bits of interest. But at any rate, it seems safer than having gift cards.
I'm a big fan of the 52 week savings plan. One week put $1 in the next $2, the next $3 and so on. You end up with a little over $1300 in the jar without ever having to sacrifice a big chunk all at once. This year we're doing it a little differently and paying some of the bigger weeks early when we have extra money. Some do it backwards and start at $52, $51 etc...
Three years is plenty, go in off time as suggested and either rent points or book through Orbitz so you can get an extra discount.
I'll add to this. If you get paid bi-weekly, then I would recommend mixing it up slightly by paying like this:
Pay Week 1: $52 + $1
Pay Week 2: $51 + $2
Pay Week 3: $50 + $3
So really it would end up being $53 each pay week. I only mention this since many people are paid bi-weekly and I find this makes things a little easier for me.
Congratulations! You are so sweet to start planning already.
I've saved for different things over the years so some of the examples might be of some help. Please forgive me if it is old news for you.
1) Automatic deposit to college and emergency funds: Every month, a certain amount is drawn from checking account and deposited into the savings accounts. It's close to when I get paid so it's hardly there before it's gone... don't get a chance to use the money.
2) Used credit card rewards to complete my pot/pan collection for free: Honestly, this was a splurge that I wanted but didn't need. I didn't need a $80 pot! Anyways, I got them by using a cash back reward credit card to purchase and pay for everything possible (i.e. hospital bills, insurance, gas, food, etc.). The rewards would pile up until I had enough for the item I wanted, then I would redeem for cash. It took about year or so but it was exciting and fun. CAUTION: Only do this if you can pay off the credit card every month. If not, it'll cost you instead.
3) Cash back from Ebates.com: I'll use Ebates as a portal to other sites for on-line shopping, in return they will give me a portion of the amount I spend back. They send out the checks a few times a year tho but still a win-win situation!
4) Find discount codes through Retailmenot.com: I use Retail Me Not to find discount codes when on-line shopping. This has saved me some pretty pennies.
Other things that I've heard of but haven't tried...
1) Buy discounted gift cards at Cardcash.com: A site where people sell their unused gift cards at a discounted rate.
2) Get Certificates of Deposits (CDs) from a bank: When you buy a CD, you are loaning the bank money for a defined time period at a defined interest rate. The longer the loan term, the more the interest rate.