Saving Your Cash for Vacation Part One of Four #savingsunday

Saving Money for

After many Sundays talking about how to plan your budget for your family vacation, I am going to spend the next 4 Sundays talking about how to squeeze out that extra money for your family vacation. Today, we are going to start with how to use cash instead of debit or credit cards to pay for your in-person purchases and collect the change to save for your vacation fund.

Trust me, I know that convenience of using a card to pay for everything at a store BUT having worked retail for many years, I have dealt with the times that card machines are down. Being on the other side of the counter and explaining that we can only accept cash can lead to many upset customers. This has taught me to keep cash on me and not rely on my cards.

Part of revamping my financial budget was learning to pay with cash because it can be so easy to go over my budget limit. Before I go into a store, I have my list in hand (which I am human and don’t always stick to that list) and my cash that has been alloted for that trip. If I can’t afford to pay for it with that cash in hand then I don’t buy it on that trip.

This is where the saving for your vacation tip comes into play! Whenever you pay with the alloted cash you have budgeted, take the change you didn’t spend and place it in your vacation jar. This has been how I have saved so much money because I have learned to use coupons and find sales to use to my advantage so when I allot $40 for a trip to Walmart for basic essentials and come away with a savings of $10 that goes right into our jar.

We have incorporated this savings skill learning process into Danyella’s schooling as well. Now she will equip herself with a calculator and our budget to see how much more we can save and how much more we can put into the vacation jar. Even if you start doing this with small things like your morning coffee. Say your coffee costs you $3.50 (I am a latte person in the morning) and you have a $5 bill to pay for it. For 5 days you will save $7.50 towards your vacation. Even small savings do add up!

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Update on our Family Vacation Jar Week 1:

Since I was extremely sick this week after getting the flu and tdap shots, I was not very active in making/saving/budgeting money. In our cash jar, we have saved $44.76 which is from the system above. Plus, in rebates we earned $9.78 from the apps that I use (more on this on my next savings blog post next Sunday). Unfortunately my other 2 plans needed me to be able to function and that didn’t happen so we fell short of our weekly goal but this is a fresh week and fresh start. Goal: $163 Actual Savings: $54.54

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Setting and Keeping Your Vacation Budget

Setting A Budget

We are on to Step 2 which is the most important step…. Setting your family vacation budget! Now that you have set your where and when, we get to look at how much this whole trip is going to cost. I am using our budget for Disney World to walk you through my thought process for budget setting.

Our plan for our Disney World  trip is set for July 1-July 7, 2018. Being an animal lover, we want to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge so that is our resort of choice. In the past, I have stayed at the Polynesian on the  concierge level which was a great benefit because they have a buffet of food and snacks all day long plus we had a better view from our room. Personally, it was worth the extra money. At Animal Kingdom Lodge, concierge level gives you the view of the Savannah with the animals which would put Danyella on cloud nine. This put us at $5525 for the week-long stay with access to food all day.

I did toy with the option of staying at the Polynesian again because of the access to the monorail which makes traveling between parks a lot easier with a baby.  At the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we will be utilizing the busses to get around. (Thank goodness for strollers and baby carriers!)

The next thing I added to our package was upgrading our Park Tickets to the Park Hopper with the water park option. It added more money to our overall cost but it is worth it because we will be going to different parks through the day so we have time to bring the baby back for naps and breaks. This put us at $5812 to add the Park Hopper option.

Something that was suggested to me from a yearly Disney World traveler, was to get the Memory Maker package because they will take better pictures then we will take. Her pictures proved it! So we added the $169 Memory Maker to the package which put us at $5981.

When I was at Disney, 15 years ago, there was no Dining Add-On Option for our vacation package so I consulted others that have been there and they all say that the Dining Plan was a must especially when you want to do the character meals. I got lots of tips on how to use this plan to get the best benefit out of it. Now add $1359 to our package price to make it $7340.

Onto our travel plans…. With an infant we are flying a direct flight from Philly to Orlando and using the free transport that Disney offers from the airport to the resort. This added $934 to our package. Plus I opted for the $155 travelers insurance just to be on the safe side. This put our Package total at $8429! Holy Cow!!

One of the nice thing about booking your trip through Disney, you can start with a deposit instead of paying for the whole trip up front. The deposit price includes the flights so that they are booked immediately. Our deposit for the trip is $1288 which is due immediately in order to book the trip and the balance is due on January 1st, 2018

For us, this will be our starting off point because we don’t have the $1288 just laying around the house but we will be finding ways to save this money. Yes, this will change our flights and possibly our price but we are not ones to use credit cards to charge things for entertainment purposes. Overall, with spending money our budget for this trip will end up being $10,000! Wowzers but this includes our travel, lodging and food which is the bulk of any trip. The rest will be just what we want to buy or spend money on!

Now it is your turn to get the budget in place for the major expenses: travel, lodging and food. If you destination doesn’t offer a package like Disney then you will need to make the package yourself. There are a ton of apps that can help if you choose to travel by car that will help with gas mileage and prices so you can add this to your budget. Then you can look and compare prices for the lodging to add that to your budget. The last big cost to include is your food. If you are renting a house in your destination, you can bring your own food and save a ton of money! There are so many ways to save on food if you look at what restaurants are in the area of your trip.

I hope this breakdown helps in your budget setting! Next week we will look into the savings jar and breaking your budget down to small goals. disney

Setting Your Family Vacation Place and Dates

 

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This week we are going to start breaking down my 5 steps that I highlighted in last week’s savings vacation post. So we are starting with Picking your place and dates to start your budget planning!

First and Foremost, get yourself a notebook designated just for your Family Vacation Planning. This is essential because you can take notes, write down your budget and keep your family on track for some vacation fun!

Time for a family vacation meeting! Grab your notebook and a calendar to get you started. If your kids are older, then gather everyone together to begin to discuss where you want to go and when everyone can go. This is the fun part of the planning!

Where do you want to go? The beach, a specific city, a historic site, Disney World, or another exciting place that your family is going to enjoy and cherish! The possibilities are endless! For my family, our first choice is Disney World. Having a 10-year-old little  big girl, this one is a No Brainer because she wants to experience to Happiest Place on Earth with all the Princesses she has fallen in love with over the years.

Next step is planning how long the trip would be. 5 day vacation, a week-long, 2 weeks or just a long weekend? The length of the trip should be considered with the budget because the longer the trip, the more money you will need for lodging, food and spending on the extras. We are looking at a week long vacation for our family.

Here comes the most difficult step for today’s post…. When is the vacation going to fit into your family’s schedule? Ok so this is the hardest part for my family between school, work and now dance schedules to try to figure out when we can all go to have a family vacation. Oh and don’t forget, we are awaiting for our baby girl’s arrival! This pretty much narrowed down our open months to July and August or Christmas Vacation. For my family, it is way out of our budget to plan a Christmas Vacation at Disney World so we are opting for July or August.

Once you have the destination and dates down, it is time to start pricing out your vacation. It is best to look as many different options when you are planning this part. I like to research different travel sites, hotels and other options before solidifying my plan. Another factor to consider is transportation, are you driving, flying or taking a train? This will go into your planning as well because flights need to be paid up front and booked as far in advance as you possibly can. After you research and have a set plan of whom you are booking your vacation through consider if you need a deposit or need to pay for the whole trip up front. All of this needs to be planned into your budget. I know when you book through Disney’s website, you need a deposit if the vacation is booked so many months in advance which is our best budget option.

These are factors to consider in your budget planning for your family vacation. Next week will get into the nitty gritty of budget planning for your family vacation so make sure to check back next Sunday!

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