There are a number of things to keep track of when it comes to spending on your Disney vacation: accommodations, travel, food and park tickets are the 4 biggies and the ones that have the most written about them. But souvenirs often become the biggest budget buster, as many of us don’t really “plan” what we are going to buy until we get there….and then emotions take over, which is a sure sign of spending more than you want to! We’ve all been there, and it’s pretty frustrating, after having budgeted oh-so-carefully before your trip, to return home with a pair of Mickey crocs that you spent too much on and, really are you going to ever wear again?
However, when we discovered pin collecting, we discovered a great way of keeping that souvenir budget under control. Because pins are now our souvenir of choice, we are better able to plan our souvenir purchases and stick to a planned budget. We don’t get sidetracked, and don’t suffer “buyer’s remorse” when we get home either.
Is pin collecting for you? Well, if you are like my family, and find all those little pins just crazy addictive…then yes, this post is for you. So with that in mind, here are 5 tips on how to make Pin Collecting an affordable Disney souvenir strategy for your family:
- Decide on your Pin Strategy: collect for fun, collect to trade, or collect seriously. If you have kids who are going to trade everything away, you don’t want to spend a lot on them, or especially worry about what they look like. If you are going to primarily “pin trade” then buy cheap ones that you don’t like as much, and trade them for more “valuable” ones. (Of course everyone defines “value” here differently. For some, it is ones that are literally worth more. For others, it is merely ones that they like better.) Point is: don’t buy pins you want to keep. Seems obvious, but it took us a bit to actually figure this out. Now on the other hand, if you want to make this a serious collection, you can purchase only Limited Editions, for example, to increase the value of your collection. If this appeals to you, there are some great books that can give you more information and help you make informed decisions.
- Buy low, trade high: If trading pins is your main focus, then arrive at Disney with a dozen or so cheap pins for your kids to trade with. You can find some on eBay, on sale at DisneyStore.com, and even Amazon. The idea here is to trade these for others your kids will like more.
- Set a limit …and then stick to it. At this point, with hundreds of pins, we limit ourselves to 2-3 pins per trip. Because yes, this CAN be an expensive hobby if you are not careful! While the cost of pins can start as low as maybe $6-8 each, they can go up to $20+ for some very elaborate limited editions. It is easy once you start looking at them, to get carried away, so keep to that budget!
- Pick a theme, any theme: It is easier for many folks to keep to a pin budget, by collecting with a theme in mind. Maybe the resorts, or characters, or villains, or princesses. You name it Disney’s got a pin for it. Seriously. For us, we now pretty much buy our pins around dated events, as they are a great reminder of when we went and when we got the pin: for example New Years Eve 2005.
- Preserve your collection: Think about how you are going to keep them when you get home. Don’t go to all this trouble to buy all these pins and just keep them in a shoebox! Some people frame the lanyards and pins. Some put their pins in a shadow box. Some keep them in a display portfolio or binder. Whatever you choose to do, keep them in a way that will preserve your investment, and allow you to enjoy them.
Good luck with your pin collecting! If you are like us, you will find that it is an affordable and fun hobby, as well as a great way to relive your wonderful Disney vacation memories!
Nancy, her husband and college-age daughter live in the Baltimore MD area, but consider Walt Disney World their second “home”. She started her site, The Affordable Mouse, as a way to share ideas about how to plan affordable Disney vacations. Her favorite things at Disney World (in no particular order) are Soarin’, most of the food in World Showcase, Illuminations…and that special “Disney magic” found in the most unexpected places.