With the new year, if you are like many, you’re making plans for your next (or first!) Disney vacation. Last week, I talked a bit about putting all the pieces together to create the best Disney vacation for your family. Today I want to talk about another part of this process: actually creating your budget…..because you really need to know what you can afford before you do just about anything else.
So to start, I think it’s really important to be honest with yourself and be realistic. And realize that not having an extravagant budget does not mean you can’t have a magical vacation! But having an idea at the beginning, of what you can truly afford to spend will help you greatly in your subsequent planning. No matter what the amount is that you can afford, knowing your budget right from the start will then help all the other pieces fall into place.
Now you can do it the other way around: figure out everything about your trip, see how much it will cost, and then save up until you can afford to go. This is certainly what we did for our first trip: we decided what we “thought” it would all cost (based on other people’s opinions I might add, not actual research), and then saved until we could afford to go.
Which is one reason why our daughter was 7 before we went to Disney World for the first time.
But once I realized that what you paid for a Disney vacation was actually variable, I changed my way of thinking. On subsequent trips, I figured out what we could afford to spend, and then created a vacation to fit that budget. We still had to save, mind you…but we went more frequently, and I knew that I was never spending more than what I was comfortable with.
Yes, it’s just a different way of looking at it, and of course, my way may not be right for everyone. But it was the best way for our family (and for many others I might add.) So if you agree with my way of thinking…then first make your budget, and then plan around it.
In fact, as I noted last week, planning….and flexibility…..are really the two main ingredients here. The further you plan ahead, the more options you will have for finding ways to save money on your trip. And the more flexible you can be with the various aspects of your trip…..when you go, where you stay, how you will get there….the easier it will be to create your vacation to fit your budget.
So create your budget, plan as far ahead as you possibly can, and be as flexible as you can: these are the first steps in creating a truly affordable Disney vacation for your family. Happy planning!