Disney with Little Ones: Watching Our Savings Grow

It was my very first post here at The Affordable Mouse that I talked about teaching children to save for vacation. I’m a woman of my word and we have been consistently adding to our Disney savings jar. We’ve been watching our savings pile up while the number of days until our trip continue to dwindle down. Since I now need less than one hand to count the number of weeks before our trip, I decided it was time. Time to total up the bills, coins, and gift cards that have been dropped in the jar over the past 6+ months. I really have a set goal when we started but knew that it would be bonus money – money we would spend on the trip without ever missing it from our day to day budget. 

If I have change from cash purchases, I put it in a tray in my car. When the tray starts getting full, I transfer it to the jar. I let my 3 and 5 year old boys take turns dropping the coins in – they make a very satisfying clink as they land! I even save one dollar bills sometimes too. Our Disney jar sits out in the open on the counter in our kitchen. A constant reminder to us (and our guests) that we are saving towards a goal. We have told the boys that the money we are able to save can be spent on extras, like fun snacks and souvenirs (in other words, TOYS!), two of their favorite things in the world. They have been excited to participate in the saving. There have been many times that they have volunteered to put money they have been gifted into the jar. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends have even given the boys money to put into the jar. The jar’s constant presence is like a silent plea for sympathy donations. Not my intent, but we’ll take it! 

I bought one $25 Disney gift card per month while grocery shopping. I collected change from my vehicle’s floorboards and from the washing machine. The bottom of forgotten purses and couches are great at hiding coins! We’ve had a lot of fun working toward this goal. 

I plan to keep every receipt from our trip to total up exactly how much we spend. I think people will be surprised. Contrary to the comments I sometimes receive when I say we are going back to Disney World (yes, so soon!), you do not have to be a millionaire to go to Disney. You just have to want it and be willing to plan far in advance if budgetary constraints are an issue. As Walt once said, if you can dream it, you can do it!

So, what was our grand total after 6 months of saving? Drumroll please….

$290.85! I will be sure to add another $9.15 to make it an even $300 before we head out on this adventure. I plan to purchase Disney gift cards with the cash to spend while on property. It’s getting close!

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Candice was raised in east Tennessee. While in college, her best friend dragged her to a Walt Disney World College Program recruiting session at the University of Tennessee and the rest is Disney history. In the Fall of 1999, Candice became a quick service food hostess for Sunset Ranch Market and Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios – or what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While soaking up her time as a cast member, she met Ryan, a neighbor and a fellow college programmer who worked as a custodial host at Epcot. Four years later, Candice moved to the Midwest and married that boy from across the hall. They now live in Greenwood, Indiana with their two little boys. The Disney-loving foursome took their first family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth in 2013 and Candice is eagerly planning their return. Candice also works full-time at a community mental health center and enjoys taking photographs and blogging at Mommy in the Midwest.

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