August 19, 2015

Saving For a Trip to Walt Disney World (or any vacation)

But it still costs so much money!  Yes, a trip to WDW costs more than any other domestic vacation.  I have no facts to back that up.  I'm just saying.  It costs a lot.  We are definitely not independently wealthy so a question we hear a lot (and by the way I think it is a rude sort of question) is how do we fund it?

1.  Long ago Allen and I began to fund our vacation and the other amenities for our family when we made the decision to live debt free.  With the exception of our mortgage we never carry debt.

2.  We also knew we wanted to have money left to do things we enjoyed with our family and to give to others.  Having a large family means anything is going to cost more.  Therefore when buying our house we determined to only spend about half of what we were approved for.  This is a decision we have never regretted.

3.    Long ago we knew vacation was something we cherished with our family and we weren't willing to let it go by chance.  We keep this appointment as an anchor to our schedule every year.  And we set aside money every payday to fund it.

4.  We save where we can throughout the year on special projects and the additional savings are added to our vacation account.  For example we will be installing a new set of French doors in the kitchen this fall.  Allen typically has windows and doors factory painted to save time.  Having these doors painted will cost an additional $600.  The kids have agreed to paint the doors themselves and Allen has agreed to put $300 in the vacation fund.

5.  We forgo things such as eating out and don't pay for television.  Our children use pay as you go cell phones versus expensive contract plans.  We use gas award points from our local grocery store to keep the van full which is a savings of $100 or more each month.

6.  When there are activities we may be interested in we always weigh them with the possibility of putting the money in the vacation fund instead.  Most of the time we offer the option to the children and let them decide.  Sometimes they choose an activity but almost always they decide to put the money into the vacation fund.  Some things that might fall into the category would be Six Flags and going to the movies.

7.  On our first trip to Disney Allen made a deal with the kids that when they saved up enough for their tickets to the park he would pay for the lodging and gas.  They save their birthday and Christmas gift money, egg money and other funds they earn from odd jobs.   In this way they are able to fund their own way.  It used to be they could save in a year or two.  With the rising cost of Disney tickets and because they have to buy adult tickets now, it took three years to save enough this time, but that's okay, because they will enjoy it all that much more.

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