Sunday, April 3, 2011

Disney Budget

I have been asked several times "how in the world can we afford to take a family of seven to Disney World?" In fact, I had one person tell me that I must be rich. The truth is quite the opposite, we are not rich but we make choices based on what is best for our family based on what we think is biblical.

We started talking and planning this trip about a year ago. This was a major help in I started thinking of ways to add to our money. One advantage to having such a long time to plan is that we were able to pay for some things way ahead of time. I was also able to "stock up" on things I knew we would need for the trip. Some examples of this include stocking up on soda when they were on sale in January, buying swim diaper end of season last year. We made reservation for Cinderella's Royal Table in October. I knew that we would be receiving a nice Tax Refund this year because of having all the kids at home. In fact this will probably be the last year that we receive a large refund because we have changed our dependents to increase our take home pay. We used our refund to buy tickets to both Sea World and Disney and to pay for our house. These were the major expenses besides transportation. We have debated for several month on whether we purchase an older van to use for traveling or rent. Finally we decided to rent based on up front cost as well as the idea of maintenance on 3 older vehicles on a regular basis. The van we purchased right after we were married was paid off in February so we used the "car payment " for March and April to rent the van.

Now on to the current budget, I am hoping this allows us plenty of "wiggle room"and will plan a post after our trip to confirm this. I am using a modified envelope system. I plan to carry cash and use except for the gas and the additional hotel. We currently are planning on 3 special meals at Disney; Monday- The Royal Table, Thursday- Dinner at Prime Time Cafe for Matt's birthday and Friday Lunch with Disney Junior characters. As I mentioned above the first has already been paid for. I am budgeting $150 a meal for the other two. Our plan is to have 4 evenings of meal at the house which we are sharing with another family. We also plan to take lunch with us everyday in the parks. I have planned $800 for all food. Currently at least $100 of that will be spent at Costco for convenience foods for lunch. This is the area with the most play since I have purchased alot of food and items on our regular budget to take with us. The girls have planned on going to the "Bipbopity Boutique". Haley will be paying for her own and I am paying for the girls. We have budgeted $300 for Gas which is based on 2 tanks each way and an additional tank in Fla. Our plan is to leave at 1 am on Saturday night and travel to our rental house, this eliminated one night in a hotel which is a huge expense when you have to purchase 2 rooms. We will be stopping in Atlanta on the trip home to spend some time with Matt's sister. Our budget is for $250 for the hotel. In addition, we have $300 for "spending" money and souvenirs. Amanda and Haley are responsbile for anything they purchase besides meals. I am planning on bringing in one soda a piece as well as water bottles will be available. Lily has saved some money and will probably purchase one or two souvenirs.
I am actually pleased to say that now that I have written it out it sounds very doable!

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