Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Poor College Student: Ways to Find Money to Go to Disney

If you're in college like me, you've likely found that money seems to leave you much faster than it comes.  There are so many things to buy and so many things to do that cost money, but you may not be replenishing that money as quickly as you wish.  That's why I've come up with a few ways that college students (or anyone, I suppose) can make some extra Disney money, short of finding a yearlong job.

1. Get a summer job.  This might seem obvious, but it's one of the best ways to make extra money without making a long term commitment.  The job market is really tough right now, especially for people looking for part time, summer work, so I highly suggest looking for a job that is hiring specifically seasonal employees.  I know it's tempting to just not tell potential employers that you're leaving after the summer, but that's not exactly how you get yourself a good reputation.  Some summer jobs that I've had in the past include a small local amusement park, a summer camp, and an ice cream shop (where I'm currently working).  It's best to look for jobs like this because they can often offer you a lot of hours (and what else are you doing?), and they're hiring a lot of people at once, all for the summer.  Also, start looking as soon as possible for a summer job.  It can take a while for employers to get through all their applications, and they might have already filled their positions by the time they get to yours.

2. Cash in those coins.  This is one of my favorite ways to "make" extra money.  I have a bunch of coins lying around, and I go cash them in for "actual" money.  Or better, I put them in the bank, so they can gain interest.  You may be surprised how quickly a bunch of coins can add up.  I had a small box of coins that recently cashed in to almost $40.  Throw all your leftover change in a jar, and cash it in when it fills up.

3. Eat at home.  This one's a little painful for me because I love eating, well, not at home. But it's a great way to save money.  Make your own coffee before hitting up Starbucks or make a burger on your grill instead of going to McDonald's.  Of course everyone likes eating out once in a while, but you can also save money at a restaurant if you choose water instead of soda and don't have appetizers or dessert.  Now that I think of it, this one can also be better for your health...

And there you go.  Three possibly obvious but useful ways to get or save money as a college student.  Just don't go and blow all that money at the mall.  I find it helps to think about how every dollar I don't spend at the mall can be spent at Walt Disney World.  Maybe it wouldn't be a terrible idea to upgrade to a moderate...

How do you make or save up money for Disney?  I want to hear your suggestions!  (A college student could always use some more money!)  Let me know in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!


  1. You can always make a little money on eBay selling stuff around your place that you can part with. You likely won't be able to afford a whole trip on that, but it can generate some money to help.

    Also you neglected to mention selling your organs, mob hits or money laundering as great ways to get cash for your next trip! Basically, the entire AC/DC song of "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" is a great primer for getting money out of the "service" industry. ;)

  2. It's not specifically summer-related, but one way I like to save money is to try and make gifts for people (birthdays, Christmas) as often as possible. As long as the recipient is someone who will appreciate the homemade touch, it can work out very well!

    For example, you could fill up a cheap glass jar (I find them at Hobby Lobby, Michael's, etc. and put nice ribbon on them) with some homemade cookies or candy as gifts. I like to knit gifts sometimes, so then it's just a matter of paying for the yarn and putting in the effort. And another option would be to get some digital prints made (stores usually have coupons every week or so) and filling up an album or nice frame as a gift. As long as you believe that the person or family would appreciate it, I think a homemade gift can be a great money-saver!

    I've also recently become a big fan of using Plato's Closet! I don't have a ton of stuff that they want to buy, but I've managed to get rid of some unwanted shoes and other summer clothes and get a little bit of cash. It's also a great place to find great clothing for cheap prices if you hunt around a bit!

    Great post idea!

    ~ Anna

  3. Matt, eBay is a good idea, and there is a whole slew of illegal things you can do too.

    Anna, homemade gifts is another great idea, especially around Christmas time. I'll have to keep that one in mind. Thanks!

  4. I like this idea so much I have a page dedicated to it-LOL. is the BEST way to make money for Disney, but I don't think you'll be able to earn enough before August-start saving for another trip, though :).
    You should be able to earn a couple of giftcards to Amazon on
    ALSO, check out the ETC section of your local Craigslist.

  5. We would love to have you come try out Sunshine Rewards! We have a lot of college students who come to our site to earn Disney Gift Cards for their trips by taking surveys. It's completely legit--no spam. As huge Disney fans ourselves (I just got back Sunday), we do everything we can to help others get to Disney more often!

  6. Hedy, I tried Sunshine Rewards, but I found that I never qualified for any surveys. I still have my account, though. Maybe I should try again. I'll check out Swagbucks and Craigslist too.

    Tricia, I have a Sunshine Rewards account, but I feel like I rarely qualify for surveys.

  7. I just graduated 2 days ago after 6 years of University, so while I'm no longer a student... I am equally as poor haha. One thing I've always done is put out ads for babysitting and tutoring. Any money I make from these things goes straight to a trip fund, and it doesn't require a long-term commitment and so they can be done all year long (I mean, if you're busy and have an exam coming up then you can just decline a babysitting job). Also any job I've ever had that has tips, the tips go straight to the vacation fund as well.

    You could always ask (politely hint?) that you would like Disney Gift Cards for Christmas or Birthday (or grad) presents. I've had a few times where presents from my boyfriend have been to pay for some aspect of any upcoming trip we're going on (my birthday present this year is that he's going to pay for my Universal tickets when we go in August- it's a Disney trip, but we're huge Harry Potter fans as well haha). Of course, its not always polite to ask, and my mom for one will never accept present suggestions (she likes to surprise us).

  8. Ooh, good ideas! Too bad my birthday's not 'til January, lol.

  9. Hey there,

    I was wondering what you would say to people who think that going to Disney is too expensive for a college student no matter what? (I am a college student going to Disney in January) I am curious what you guys think of people who believe money is better saved?

  10. I do believe that it is important to save money while you're in college, but I also say money's for spending. I've seen plenty of people in college blow money on their cars, on bars and clubs, and on who knows what else. If Disney makes you happy and you have the money, go for it! One thing I don't suggest is going into debt for it, though.