Summer vacation is coming up! Hey, I know it is October but believe me, that Disney Vacation next summer is looming in your near future! Time flies, haven’t you heard? This week, I think we need to think fast-track saving for our next Disney trip! So here’s a few ways to make it happen and be stress free while you vacation… this does not mean there won’t be sacrifice before vacation…no pain, no gain, right….
First set up your vacation budget. Are you driving or flying? Where are you staying and what does it cost? Cost of food, souvenirs, and park tickets must be included. Spend a little time on this and investigate online or contact your Disney agent for help. Your Disney agent will be able to provide an accurate estimate if you have definite dates in mind. Total all this up on your trusty calculator (I know you have one if you have a computer). Now are you shocked, scared, or just uncomfortable with the total? If it is just not a realistic sum for your vacation budget, cut back on the costs until you are comfortable. Now that’s the easy part…
Here we go…
Back in September we talked about couponing which is a great way to pay your piggy bank over the next year for that well-deserved vacation. Here’s a couple other ways to expand on all that great saving you are putting into your vacation piggy bank!
We all have cellphone plans these days. Can you downgrade your cellphone plan just a bit and pay your vacation account the difference? We have the option with our carrier company to adjust our plans with no penalty, so we cut back to barebones usage then if our needs go up, we change our plan to avoid excess charges. If you don’t need 10 GB this month, why pay for it? Every month you don’t use the more expensive plan, pay your vacation account the difference. By dropping from 10GB to 4GB, we save $30 each month. Monitoring those plans saves money towards a great vacation… if we manage to stay at 4GB plan, and pay our vacation account (which really is a big piggy bank) that means we are saving $360/year towards vacation! Woot!
What about your health club or going for a walk (which is free) instead of going to Pilates or Zumba one day a week? My Zumba class fees are based on $10/class…. If I go for a fast-paced walk once a week instead, I’m saving $10/week. That translates to $520 in a year by going for a walk! Hey, put the leash on your dog and he gets a great walk once a week too!
Now… let’s talk a bit about food… we spend on average for our family of two about $150/week in groceries. That’s if I cook almost every night and buy the snacks we love. Give your family a challenge that every other night, you are going to have leftover night from supper the previous night for a month. That means you are saving on grocery money! This actually means my family of empty nesters can save about $50 per month in groceries. I’m allowing the $25 extra that I might spend on paper and cleaning products so probably won’t save half of each week. That means that if I can manage to do this for 12 months, we are going to save $600/year in groceries!
Still on the subject of food… eating out… did you know the National Restaurant Association estimates that the average family with kids (remember average family has 2.5 kids) younger than 6 years old spends $239 each month on restaurant meals? Hmmm…. That’s $2868/ year! Start checking on restaurants that advertise kids eat free nights, clip those newspaper coupons for BOGO entrée deals; and go through the flyer junk mail for fast food coupons. There are also several great websites for discounted coupons where you spend say, $10 and get a $25 certificate for a particular restaurant. Pssttt… try restaurant.com and Groupon. The websites will ask for your zip code to give you specific deals for your area. Now take your calculator with you and figure the difference in your costs to eat out and pay that vacation account!
Now with just these tips, we have saved $1480 towards next year’s Disney vacation! Next time, we’ll see how much more we can save during the next 9-12 months! On your mark, get set with your budget, let’s go to Disney World!
Make memories magical, not expensive at Disney World!
Till Next Time, Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne, originally from Mississippi, lives in North Alabama with her husband and a menagerie of furry kids (FIDS), including dogs, cats, exotic birds, fish and a lionhead rabbit. Figment, her African Grey parrot, is named after Disney’s small purple dragon, Figment. She works as a motivational speaker and pastoral counselor. In 1974, Leigh Anne marched with the Enka High Marching Band in the Magic Kingdom daytime parade. Leigh Anne fell in love with Disney while on her Disney honeymoon with her husband in 2002. They have made an annual trip back to Disney to celebrate their anniversary every year since. Since they own a piece of the mouse with their Disney Vacation Club (DVC), some years they go twice! She also plans to be the grandmother that introduces all her grandchildren to Disney World first. She has a great start ~ 2 out of 3 so far! As a DVC member married to the best Disney shopper in the world, Leigh Anne has lots of experience in finding the most frugal way to have the most fun in the parks and resorts! Leigh Anne admits to being spoiled as a DVC member but is always on the lookout to keep their WDW vacations fun and frugal! She blogs at Queen of Hysteria and tweets @la_haygood