The answer is yes, yes you can. With these budget tips, I managed to head to the happiest place on earth with Paolo and not break the bank. Here’s how I did it:

First off, I had an annual pass.
For the people who don’t go to Disneyland that often, this tip isn’t for you. But for people who are obsessed with the parks (like I am), I used the crap out of my annual pass and discounts. I have the signature pass, which gets me 15% off food as well as free parking. That’s already $25 off our budget every time we visit, which is a HUGE save. If you go to the parks more than 14 times a year, the signature pass is actually a better deal and cheaper than the Deluxe pass because you get free parking as well as a higher discount on merchandise and restaurants. That means my price for entering the parks is $0, and my price for parking is $0.

Double up on your Starbucks rewards if you have them.
If you have a Starbucks gift card, if you aren’t already, PUT IT IN THE APP. Your gift card goes further by earning you points that you can redeem towards free drinks. There are two Starbucks locations in Downtown Disney, one Starbucks in California Adventure, and one Starbucks in Disneyland Park. If you are an annual passholder like I am, skip the lines at the Downtown Disney locations and wait in line at the park. I get that you cannot mobile order within the parks which can be a bummer, but if you’re willing to wait in line, not only can you redeem Starbucks rewards and gift cards there, but you also are eligible for your annual passholder discount. I had a coupon for a free drip coffee, Paolo got a drip coffee for $3.50, and we both bought $5 breakfast sandwiches. Plus the 15% discount brings our total to $11.50 for breakfast.

One of my favorite pictures from a previous Disneyland visit.

Pack snacks/lunch to eat in the parks.
Food is EXPENSIVE in the parks. If you’re not careful, things can add up incredibly quickly. If you can, bring some snacks, a water bottle, and maybe even a full lunch with you if you can. Paolo and I brought water bottles, mixed nuts and seeds, turkey sandwiches, prepackaged cookies, chips, and some apples and bananas. Other ideas could be veggies and ranch, prepackaged snack olives, yogurt in a tube, string cheese, and dry cereal. We didn’t buy any drinks at the parks because we had water, and we had a light lunch in the parks. We ended up sitting on the benches outside Grizzly Peak in California Adventure, and it was a great (and shady) spot to sit and relax while we ate our lunches. That means we spent $0 for lunch and snacks in the parks.

Skip the pricey souvenirs if you plan on coming back.
While merchandise is changing constantly, I find that window shopping is the best way to get my fix of souvenirs without wasting money purchasing them. There are also other ways you can get free mementos, like asking PhotoPass people to use your phone to take pictures of you, getting a free button at City Hall, or even a limited edition map (Hello, Galaxy’s Edge!). The photos I’ve taken have been far more valuable to me than any T-Shirt ever could be. When we last went, we spent $0 on souvenirs, opting for buttons, maps, and, of course, photos.

Wait, there’s free food in California Adventure?
Yes, yes there is. If you, like me sometimes, forget to bring snacks into the park, California Adventure is host to a little-known secret: the Boudin Bakery Bread Tour. It’s a small attraction right by the Ghiradelli Fountain, and when you enter, you get a small slice of DELICIOUS sourdough bread to savor. If you are getting hangry in the midsummer heat, this is a great place to cool down, taste some amazing bread, and see how the addicting loaves of sourdough that Disneyland sells are made.

Where do you eat at Disneyland on a budget?
Now THAT is a great question. There are a ton of places to choose from, but there are some places that are more expensive than others. In Disneyland park, Bengal Barbecue has a bunch of skewers that you can choose from that are reasonably-priced if you don’t go overboard. However, the best meal deal in Disneyland in my opinion is the Margherita pizza that you can get at the Red Rose Taverne in Fantasyland. Pictured above, it is a very large pizza that would definitely be filling for two people to share, and it’s priced at just $10. Combined with my 15% off discount, that turns out to be $8.50 for a meal for two. Flo’s V8 Cafe is also great in California Adventure for simple diner fare, with most meals being about $12.

What about a sit-down restaurant?
In general, quick service restaurants are your best bet if you don’t want to break the bank. However, our favorite sit-down restaurants are the Carnation Cafe as well as Cafe Orleans. Carnation Cafe has typical Americana fare, but what I love about it is if you time your reservation right and get outdoor seating, you get a front row seat to parades. Cafe Orleans is my second choice for a cheap sit down restaurant in the parks because it offers practically the same menu as Blue Bayou, but for half the cost. Granted, you don’t get the ambiance, but they serve a very similar salad, very similar entrees, and of course, you can get a mint julep and a monte cristo sandwich for much cheaper.

So there you have it. Disney doesn’t have to break the bank if you budget carefully and plan. I hope these tips are helpful for the next time you visit the parks! Let me know if you used any of these tips in the comments below!

“I think you should pursue another type of therapy.”

That isn’t exactly the greatest thing to hear out of the mouth of your therapist for the past 4.5 years, is it? Since elementary school, I have been in and out of all kinds of therapy with all kinds of therapists. I started in group therapy and art therapy, and then as I got older, slowly graduated to talk therapy.

Talk therapy has been a life-saver for me since a young age. Because I have struggled with bipolar disorder my entire life, I was processing extremely difficult emotions from a very young age, and having a trained professional to talk to about it was crucial to my healing.

I’ve seen the same therapist for almost all of my adult life – that is, until very recently. Things seemed to be looking up for the most part, until I experienced a pretty harsh mood swing and the typical coping tools that she had equipped me with simply weren’t working. I was mindful of my diet, surrounding myself with people that I cared about, getting outside, taking my medication, and had a spiritual practice, and still, my moods were just out of control. It was in a couple’s therapy session with my partner when I was experiencing particular frustration with my moods that she said the fated words: “I think you need to pursue another type of therapy.”

Granted, it was a type of therapy that she did not specialize in. But still. It felt like a punch in the gut to know that she felt that the treatment I was getting with her wasn’t enough. She encouraged me to check in with her as I pursue other types of healing (more to come on that), but sadly, I realized that my days of having sessions with her were over.

GIF courtesy of Giphy

When a therapist breaks up with you, it’s incredibly easy to think that you are untreatable. That you cannot be healed and that things just won’t get better for you. But here’s what you need to know:

The onus is on them, not you.
If they are unable to continue providing treatment for you, that doesn’t mean that you are untreatable. It just means that THEY are unable to treat you in an effective way. If you’re sensitive like me, you may take it personally and it may sting for a while. But the sooner I learned that it wasn’t because they didn’t like me, it just was because they didn’t have the tools to treat me any more, I felt much better.

Feel free to ask for referrals and recommendations.
If you feel comfortable, ask them if they have a colleague or a specific modality of healing that they might recommend you pursue. My ex-therapist recommended TWO different kinds of healing, I pursued both, and both have been greatly effective.

Life will go on.
If you’ve been seeing this therapist for years like I had, it can be hard to think that there’s a life after them. Like dating after a serious break-up, getting used to putting yourself out there and finding a new therapist can seem daunting and scary. But what’s on the other side of slogging through Psychology Today bios WILL BE a therapist who truly understands you and will be able to walk alongside you in this leg of your life.

Find a temporary support system while you’re therapist-hunting.
If you’re really struggling and aren’t in a place where you think you can be without a therapist, there are many ways you can build a temporary support system in place of your therapist while you search for one. Make sure you tell your friends/family that you may be relying on them more significantly for emotional support during this time, and to let you know if they are not in a place to bear that burden. ALWAYS ASK before you unload on someone. You may not know what they’ve got on their plate. I also turned to my online community of friends, and there are many message boards such as 7 Cups of Tea that provide free emotional support when you feel you have nowhere else to turn to. If all else fails, and you REALLY need help, there’s always the Crisis Textline, which I have used in a pinch and I don’t have anyone else to talk to and need immediate support.

A therapist breakup can be as painful as a breakup with a significant other. And things may seem a little unstable, especially if you’re in a tumultuous part of your life where you really need someone to talk to. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, and someone who is WAY better equipped to handle your struggles than the previous therapist was.

Have you ever experienced a therapist break-up? Comment below!