268 – Gift Card Hacks – Preserve Family Memories – Busch Gardens Tampa’s Christmas Town

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Hi!  I’m Josh Elledge, the Chief Executive Angel of SavingsAngel.com and welcome to the SavingsAngel show! I’m podcasting to you from a windy and chilly Orlando, Florida.

I am an extremely busy consumer expert, money-saving advocate, syndicated newspaper columnist, and the guy that turns digital entrepreneurs into media celebrities with UpMyInfluence.com. I love what I do and can’t wait to get going on today’s episode.

In order to help you save more, earn more and live more abundantly on today’s show I’ll be covering:

  • How to Maximize Spending Your Gift Cards
  • Preserve Your Memories with Storyworth
  • Holiday Fun at Busch Gardens
  • Stay Safe with Online Deals


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How to Maximize Spending Your Gift Cards

With the holidays right around the corner, we all know that we’ll be giving or receiving gift cards this winter. It’s one of my go-to gifts for casual friends or relatives who might be difficult to shop for. I’m always excited when I get a gift card myself because that means I get to stretch every dollar and find ways to enhance my savings. Here are 6 tips on maximizing your gift card spending.



1.) Save them up! You never know when a gift card can be your saving grace in a tight spot. Money you don’t spend out of pocket goes back to bills and other important expenses and we don’t always have a lot of extra cash lying around to begin with.

Save the gift cards (like Visa or Amazon gift cards) that could help you replace something important later down the line when you really need it, but don’t wanna burn a hole through your wallet!



 2.) Look for deals on the items you are looking to get with your gift card. Make sure you take the time to look through weekly ads and seasonal deals in order to get the most bang for your buck.

For instance, this week in the Target ad, you can save up to 50% off on kid's toys and books. Have a Target gift card you’ve had for a while?

Save on holiday gifts for the kids by shopping now, or even on Black Friday, to get those toys for a fraction of the normal cost. Want to use your gift card to shop online? Use websites like Groupon or Honey to search for coupons and promotions to get the hottest deals on your favorite items. 


3.) Look for promotions that give you gift cards. Some stores (like Target) will give you 5, 10, or even 15 dollar gift cards if you spend a certain amount of cash on certain items.

For instance, the current Target gift card promotion offers a 15 dollar gift card if you spend 75 dollars or more on diapers using same-day order services. This is a great way for parents to get money back for what they already spend, and it’s 15 dollars you don’t have to spend on your next shopping trip!


4.) Make sure you understand the terms and conditions! Always read the fine print and figure out if your card needs to be activated before use, if there are any limitations, or if there is an expiration date.

These are important things to know so you remember how and when you can spend your gift cards. 



5.) Keep your unused cards somewhere safe. There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect time to use a gift card and then realizing you haven’t seen it since you got it last holiday season. 

Make a dedicated envelope or folder for all of your unused gift cards so you always know where they are. 




6.) Keep track of your card balances! You’re not always going to use your whole gift card during one shopping trip! Take a moment after each transaction to write down the remaining balance on the back of your card.

Forgot the balance on your card? No worries! Most cards have a phone number on the back that you can call if you ever need to inquire about the card’s balance. 


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One thing I love around the holidays is family getting together and sharing stories. It’s especially poignant for our older family members and friends to share about times long ago.

Wouldn’t it be great to have these stories written down and shareable even after loved ones return home? 

If you’re into family history these stories become invaluable to pass down to the next generations. That’s why I’m giving my family the most meaningful gift this year – StoryWorth.

What is so wonderful about this service is that you can choose to share with your family and friends or keep your stories private, but ultimately you will have written a memoir without the stress and writer’s block that comes with sitting down and quote-unquote writing a book.

  • StoryWorth is an online service that helps your loved ones tell the story of their lives through thought-provoking questions about their memories and personal thoughts.


  • Every week StoryWorth emails your family member different story prompts – questions you’ve never thought to ask. Like, “What have been some of your life’s greatest surprises?” and “What’s one of the riskiest things you’ve ever done?”.


  • After one year, StoryWorth will compile every answered question and photo you choose to include into a beautiful keepsake book that’s shipped for free.


  • You never know what family history StoryWorth will uncover. One story I got to share recently was… My grandfather was an avid fisherman. When I was little I went fishing with him. It was a really bad day of fishing with tiny catches that had to be thrown back. As he was telling me it was time to pack up, I caught a 14-inch trout! I was so proud of myself and grandpa mumbled all the way to the store to purchase fish he could pass off as caught.

Preserve and pass on memories with StoryWorth, the most meaningful gift for your family!

Sign up today by going to StoryWorth dot com slash SAVINGSANGEL.

You’ll get $20 off your first purchase! That’s StoryWorth dot com slash SAVINGSANGEL for $20 off.

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Alright, so right now I am with Rebecca Ramzi, who is the communications public relations director with Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay here and we are actually in the midst, Becca, of Christmas Town!



It is so beautiful here. So, can you give us an overview of what Busch Gardens Tampa does for Christmas because it is so wonderful. It's so festival there's so many great foods and characters and decorations like in Busch Gardens. It's just completely transformed right now.


Absolutely. And let's break it down. Like you said food, characters, decorations. We’ll start with food.






The holiday season is all about food. Food and family and having a good time. And eating some yummy things together.






So, not only do we have where we are right now, in the middle of the Christmas Town Village, which has a lot of fun sample sized items that are some returning favorites, but also some new things. Uh- The sweet potato fries with an apple pie on them. They are like, incredible.






I can feel myself like gaining the calories by thinking about them and I'm not mad.




It's delicious.



Yeah. Worth it. Worth every bite.



I don't think there's any calories if you just inhale.



Christmas calories are half price.



That’s right. That's right.



That’s the rule.



That's Jesus’ gift for all of us. Exactly.



So, you’ve got the food on the pathway that’s absolutely delicious. You've got our specialty cocoa that we're famous for and those super cute refillable mugs which are good all-season till January sixth.



And we also have new dining opportunities this year. So, we have a new Elmo breakfast with friends. And that's going to be at Dragon Fire Grill. So it’s the first time we've had an Elmo dining experience there, so if your kids are Sesame Street fanatics, that is where you want to go.



Tell me more about Sesame Street and the- kind of the Sesame Street Christmas experience.



Absolutely. So, you can start your day with this only breakfast- breakfast experience with those family friendly favorites and that time with the characters that's up close and personal.






So, that's going to be an upgrade experience. So you're going to book that online in advance because reservations do fill up. But during the day, you're going to have Elmo’s Christmas Wish which is a very merry monster makeover of some of your favorite Christmas tunes because “All I Want for Christmas Is Cookies” is a song that everyone needs to hear.



I love it already. Cookie Monster is actually my favorite because he's a little bit naughty a little bit irreverent, you know.



But mostly nice!



 But yeah, totally!



 Like, he’s totally on Santa’s nice list!



Yeah, of course. course Of course. Okay, so tell me more about uh- now one thing that people should know is this- when you come to Busch Gardens, it's not a separate ticketed event when you come to the holiday event, right? So, you don't have to pay like an additional $70 more per person. Wink wink. I wonder who we're talking about there. It is all inclusive.



Correct. So, when you come to Christmas Town, it's included with your daily admission or annual pass to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. So you can come in the morning ride coasters all morning, get your adrenaline rushing, and then spend the evening under the lights, eating delicious food, and spending some time with the favorite jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus. Who's right here in the park. Yeah, his favorite reindeer Rudolph and Clarice and Bumble, the adorable snowman, as silly to say



Great segue. So, tell me more about all the characters that you can get photos with and all of the character experiences. You already started getting into it. Tell me more.



Well, it's November 16. So, we're early in the Christmas season but you've got time to get that perfect Christmas card photo with all of these great character experiences throughout the park.



So, of course you want to go see the big guy himself. And what we have at the park is Santa's house, which is sponsored by Coca Cola. And you go through the house and you're going to have those opportunities- you're greeted by the elves and the elves, they're going to get you all excited about, “Well, what are you going to ask him for this year? You’ve got- you’ve got to know! You’re here!” It's exciting.



And Mrs. Claus is going to greet you as well. She's going to have some cookies in the oven, which you can grab on your way out. And then you're going to go and you're going to see Santa in his study, and you're going to spend that quality one on one time with him. That experience top to bottom isn't entirely- the only word to describe it is magical.



Wow. So, one thing I really love to do on this show is kind of share some kind of ninja hack or something. So, if we're planning to have a great experience at Busch Gardens in Tampa, for Christmas Town 2019. What- here's one hack that I would recommend, some of the some of the food carts do have- they're very popular! and so we've divided and conquered. So that's the first thing I reckon. Okay boys, you go over waiting that line will wait mom and I Oh, wait this line and then we'll get you know, we'll grab our little tag and run up to you. Hey, tell me about how that works like so. So we acquired a tag that had 10 punch passes on it. How does that work?



So the Christmas Town sampler lanyard is back this year we've had in previous years we've brought it back because we have so many good food and beverage options that the best way to eat Yes.



Oh my gosh, I like I'm like, I'm like a kid in a candy store right now. And I'm supposed to be good at my diet right now is it I'm cheating a little bit. It's totally worth it.



I need a cheat day or a week however you will



see those sampler lanyards are going to be great to save and saver on everything that we've got on that Christmas time village pathway so you're going to be able to get the that chicken and waffles sandwich with those homemade waffles. They are so lucky and good and baked with the love. Level love is what we're talking about.



Yeah, there's so much buzz over those waffles right now. And so I know right now so Mrs. savings. Joelle and my two boys are waiting in line right now to go get they may have that right now. And meanwhile, we're talking here and I'm not enjoying the waffles. Any other tips for making the most out of Christmas Town here at Busch Gardens?



So my recommendation is to come early in the day. Yeah. So if you wait until it's dark, and the lights are already on, you might miss a couple of things. And you really want to experience Christmas Town to its fullest. So I recommend getting here early. And if you can, I'd recommend visiting on a weekday rather than a weekend. Yeah, especially if you want to get that iconic moment with Santa Claus because Santa house is such a great experience that we take time with every single guest. So on the weekend, it's gonna take a little bit longer to see the big guy during the week, I highly recommend it. But that the Christmas Town lanyard is going to help you out through the village it's gonna we also have quick q passes available for Santa and Rudolph. If you're crunched for time, you're going to have that opportunity to really get the most out of your day at Busch Gardens.



So Santa is a very busy guy. I'm very grateful that he takes time out out of his day he's magical and how he does this. But if you want to come see Santa he's at Busch Gardens



he is he is so come out see Santa Claus sia Rudolph and Clarice as well and we also have a new princesses so we've got Oh cute really fun princesses throughout the park they've got an ice princess we have our points set of Princess and new this year we have a sugar from sugar from princess to get that sweet tooth go and she's going to give you all their favorite recipes and Becca what is the best



way to get tickets are there any available discounts that sort of thing.



So the best way to get tickets is going to Busch Gardens calm and that's where you're gonna see our best offers not only for daily admission but for yearly admission. We've got a great deal going right now for our annual pass. So we've got a low low rate no down payment and you gonna want to get that pass because next year we've got something pretty exciting coming and I made a link to this little structure behind me right



behind us this is going to be correct me if I'm wrong so it's it's going to set some records are hybrid coaster. So iron



qyz is the next level of glossy wherever we're evolving here, this next evolution we are going to be North America's tallest hybrid coaster and the fastest and the steepest hybrid coaster in the world



I'm looking at it is magnificent. Like as I'm looking at it right now this thing is huge.



Yes and the lift hill as we continue to see the lift hill rising, I can feel everybody getting a little bit more excited about it. It's the anticipation is building



you know, it's exciting being here in Florida and having some record breaking coasters. And so my, my kids are a little bit older now and so they really love those g forces. And that's one thing that that Busch Gardens here in Tampa as well known for is if you want g forces, you have a lot of options, just real quick run through some of the other really popular roller coasters available here.



So one of the classics here at the park is monteux known for its amazing inversions. coaster nerds are all about it. I'm one of them, and I'm over there too. It's one of my favorites. I also love Cheetah hunt for its launches. It's that experience is it takes your breath away. One



of my favorite coasters it just it's a such a smooth and very cool experience. And I think they did you know what's really cool about that coaster is they did such amazing storytelling in the track itself. Like I totally get the story of being the cheetah on the hunt. You actually feel it the way that the you know, kind of slides back and forth. Yeah, absolutely. The very moment it feels



just like the mobility of a cheetah and yeah, to be able to get off that right into see cheetahs in our park. Yeah, that's when you you really make that connection to cheetahs and their flight in the wild and the things they're going through and you're you care about Jesus at the end of the day, because I know that like one



yeah, that's so cool. You know, actually one of my favorite roller coasters here is it what's the Cobra core Cobras curse and that one that is one of the only roller coasters when I ride. I laugh throughout the coast or just the way that it moves and you're turning around and you're engaging with your family because you're like looking at each other's you're kind of like spinning back and forth around. It's a really, really great coaster. Oh, those spinning



moments. It's a good time. And it's something that some of our younger riders in the park and be able to enjoy with their parents as like their first coaster experience. Back in one location.



One last thing I wanted to mention, and I don't know if you have this ready, but I saw that there's some really great opportunities for military families and veteran families, I think that are still available. Is that right? I know we did during Veterans Day.



Yes. So we have offers zero parks and entertainment has always them on our program, which has got some great discounts free tickets for military. Yeah. And those offers do change throughout the year. So the best way to check those offers is through ways of honor calm, that's right. Just gonna have the best very available for whatever you're looking for.



Yeah, as a military veteran, I just want to say to the powers that be that happen to be listening from Busch Gardens z world. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I really, really do appreciate that. And Becca, I appreciate you When my family and I love coming to Busch Gardens here, there's always so many fun activities throughout the year if it's how low scream if it's Christmas Town, if it's just coming for other parts of your beer fast. I mean, there's just so much going on. There's always something going on here at Busch Gardens in Tampa.



We're very lucky. And it's such a cool place to be. And it's a different visit every time and that's what makes this garden such an awesome place to come and spend time with your family make some new memories. So we appreciate you guys coming out and joining us and celebrating with us. Especially Christmas a little bit early in the season. Yeah, we'll take it.



Rebecca ROMs. Here the communication public relations manager with Busch Gardens here in Tampa. Thank you so much.



Thank you, and we'll see you soon at Christmas down.


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Transition to article


Stay Safe with Online Deals


December 2019 is on-tap to become the biggest online shopping month of all time.


If you don't want to miss out on the best online offers, you have to know where to go. And how to be safe getting there! Each of these online shopping tips starts with knowing where to go to get the best deals followed up with how to know it's safe.


Get in the know with emails:


Sign up with your favorite big-name retailers, any smaller or local retailers, restaurants, and services as well. 


Be safe with emails:


Beware of any unsolicited emails. Never click through an email you weren’t expecting. Over the holiday season, unsolicited emails and phishing scams increase exponentially. An unsolicited email may be posing as a genuine company but actually directs the victim to a fraudulent site.


According to FBI.gov, “Scammers use many techniques to fool potential victims including… phishing emails advertising brand name merchandise for bargain prices or e-mails promoting the sale of merchandise that ends up being a counterfeit product.”


If you are interested in an advertised deal but are unfamiliar with the company, do a search online to verify their legitimacy. Never simply click through any provided links in the email.


Get in the know with social media:


Follow your favorite retailers and local shops on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and anywhere else. This is one of the fastest ways to hear about hot deals.


Be safe with social media:


Just like in emails, bogus deals float all around social media. Often people will share them, not even realizing themselves that it is a scam. A $75 Costco coupon recently made the rounds on facebook. Unless you are on a trusted business’s page, be wary of any clickable links, and treat like you would email. Go directly to the business’s website instead to verify the deal.


Get in the know with apps:


Some businesses with apps you can grab in the App Store or on Google Play: Best Buy, Amazon.com, Target, Home Depot, Kohl’s, JCPenney, Old Navy, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Hobby Lobby, Sam’s Club, Kmart, Macy’s, Sears, H&M, Overstock.com, QVC, Aeropostale, Walgreens, Sears, Meijer, Children’s Place, American Eagle Outfitters, and Footlocker are among the most popular. Third-part savings apps like RetailmeNot, Swagbucks, Honey, and others will help with aggregating savings opportunities.


Stay safe with the app:


Staying safe with official store apps is pretty simple. Prior to downloading and installing any app, read and evaluate reviews others have posted. Any flaws or potential danger will likely be mentioned there. Be cautious when using third-party savings/coupon apps. They are only as safe as the deals they link off to.


– – – – – – —

If you’ve loved hearing everything on this podcast, SHARE THIS episode with a friend! People NEED this information.

You and I, together, can change lives. I recommend taking a screenshot and posting on FB – or wherever you hang out most.


And as always, if you have any specific questions, or if there is something you’d like to hear me talk about, you can drop me a comment in the podcast feedback, write me on my Facebook group, or call my podcast hotline at 407.205.9250 and leave me a message.

I’ll answer your question, write you back, or – with your permission – I might even share your question or story with others on this show.


Have a wonderful week – full of saving more, earning more, and living more abundantly – and thank you for listening!


StoryWorth.com/SAVINGSANGEL FOR $20 OFF first purchase



Written by Josh Elledge - CEO, UpMyInfluence

Josh Elledge is U.S. Navy veteran and launched UpMyInfluence to help entrepreneurs like himself attract the perfect audiences and grow their authority and influence. While growing their better-than-PR agency, UpMyInfluence discovered that building 7-figure B2B Sales Systems (with zero paid advertising) for agencies, consultants, coaches, and other high-ticket B2B service providers is actually what they do better than anyone else on the planet.

UpMyInfluence was the natural outgrowth of his first startup, SavingsAngel.com which has grossed more than $6 million in sales with zero paid ads. He did it all through building authority and serving audiences in the media.

Josh is a weekly TV consumer expert in Orlando, writes a syndicated newspaper column to 1.1 million readers, and regularly appears on more than 75 TV stations across the country. All told, Josh has appeared in the media more than 2500 times.

Josh loves living in Orlando, FL with his wife and three children.

SEE ALL ABOUT JOSH ELLEDGE HERE: https://upmyinfluence.com/josh/

Staying Safe While Shopping Online!

The Countdown to the Holiday Season is on!