How My Family and I Ate for Free at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival!
My family and I just got back from a 10 day vacation to Disney and the Caribbean! We had a wonderful time, celebrating my birthday and participating in Frugal & Fit’s very FIRST sponsored media trip! Disney gave us free day passes into Epcot in order to review the annual Food and Wine Festival, hosted in the World Showcase at Epcot every year from September to November. A full review of all the allergy friendly, gluten and dairy free eats featured in the festival is coming this week but first let’s talk about how we paid for all those yummy treats! (And no, Disney did not pay for our food. As much as I tried to get them to!)
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I don’t talk as much about saving money (the Frugal side of Frugal & Fit) as I once did. Years ago, I used to be the coupon queen and hosted classes in extreme couponing. Since revamping my diet in 2016, I don’t use coupons as much for food items, just because there aren’t as many available for the foods I tend to eat and feature here on the blog. But I do my best and I still look for ways to save money as often as possible. One of the big things I still use regularly to save money is Swagbucks.
Saving Money with Swagbucks
Swagbucks, if you’ve never heard of it, is an online website that pays in “swagbucks” points that you can turn into gift cards or paypal cash. There’s lots of ways to earn points, from using Swagbucks as a search engine (I don’t do this very often), to filling out surveys (I do this almost every day), or using their links for discounts on online shopping. You can also watch online video clips, earn points for printing and using coupons, and play games. There are numerous ways to earn and the points add up fast! In a little over 2 months, I earned over $300 in gift cards for my vacation!
The Epcot Food & Wine Festival can get pretty expensive. At $4-$8 a dish, you could very easily spend $50 a person. I wanted our family to have a fabulous time, without having to worry about how much we were spending on every single little thing. We were definitely on a budget, even with some things being sponsored, but I wanted us to have the kind of fun you have when you’re NOT on a strict budget! So, I traded in my Swagbucks for $200 in Disney gift cards. (Pro tip: you can’t actually get Disney gift cards through Swagbucks as a reward. I had to trade in for Visa gift cards and then buy Disney gift cards on the Disney.com website)
Most of the points I earned were through surveys on the Swagbucks website. I lucked out on a few big survey bonuses that paid upwards of $25 per survey, but most surveys pay between $.60-$.80 each. I’m fortunate to have a job that’s pretty laid back and I’ve got the time to fill out a quick survey in between projects. The next biggest thing that earned me points was video clips. I ran them in the background while I worked on other projects. You can earn up to 500 swagbuck points per day watching videos (500 points = $5). I never earned that kind of cash but I would earn a dollar or two watching video clips.
From time-to-time, I would remember to use Swagbucks as my search engine and earn a few points using it. They host trivia games daily where you can earn a dollar or two playing. Once or twice a month, they’ll also host SWAGO, their version of Bingo. Do the activities listed and you’ll earn a few dollars from that as well. I highly recommend checking it out! If nothing else, use it when you’re doing online shopping to earn cashback!
It does take some effort to earn the kind of money I did in a relatively short amount of time. But before the end of July, when I really ramped up my Swagbuck usage, I was using it casually to earn about $25 a month. It paid for my Starbucks addiction mostly! LOL!
Swagbucks helped my family have a wonderful time at a place that doesn’t offer many discounts. We tried 16 different dishes at 12 different “countries” and didn’t spend a dime of our own money! If you’re interested in checking out Swagbucks, a completely free website, you can use my referral link to earn a bonus 300 Swagbucks, just for signing up! That’s $3 to get you started! Trade it in for Visa gift cards, Amazon, or Starbucks (like me!). It’s completely free and not spammy. They don’t send you emails unless you sign up for them. Check it out! You’ve got nothing to lose and all the gift cards to gain!