HOW TO SAVE

MAK­ING A BUD­GET

WDW Magazine - - How To Save At Wdw - BY: KIM­BERLY MASIMORE

De­ter­min­ing a Rea­son­able Bud­get

De­cid­ing what is a rea­son­able bud­get is go­ing to be dif­fer­ent for ev­ery fam­ily. For some, stay­ing in a Deluxe Re­sort ho­tel with the Deluxe Din­ing Plan and an open-ended sou­venir bud­get is rea­son­able. For oth­ers, my­self in­cluded, stay­ing at a Value Re­sort and plan­ning ev­ery as­pect of the va­ca­tion at least a year in ad­vance in or­der to save, is rea­son­able.

What­ever your bud­get is, the end re­sult is the same- you’re go­ing to Dis­ney! The first thing any­one who is go­ing needs to do is de­ter­mine a rea­son­able bud­get for his or her fam­ily. Have an ap­prox­i­mate bud­get in mind? Good- let’s take a look at some vari­ables.

Your fam­ily size is go­ing to de­ter­mine which type of re­sort you can book. Most Deluxe Re­sorts can ac­com­mo­date fam­i­lies of 5. Dis­ney Va­ca­tion Club lo­ca­tions can hold from 4 -12 guests depend­ing on the type of room you select. Most Mod­er­ate Re­sorts com­fort­ably sleep 4 guests; how­ever, many have a few rooms that are able to ac­com­mo­date 5 (such as Port Or­leans River­side and Fort Wilder­ness Cab­ins). The Value re­sorts will only ac­com­mo­date 4 guests per room. The only ex­cep­tion to this rule is the Fam­ily Suites at All-star Mu­sic, which can ac­com­mo­date up to 6 guests.

Stay­ing at a Deluxe Re­sort ver­sus stay­ing at a Value Re­sort is all a mat­ter of how long you want to save for. Ev­ery­one has the abil­ity to stay at a Deluxe Re­sort if you want to save for a long time. How­ever, if you re­ally only want to sleep at the re­sort and not en­joy ad­di­tional ameni­ties, Value is cer­tainly a great op­tion. If you want to splurge and live like a VIP for a week, you can save for that too. De­cide where you want to go so the sav­ings can be­gin.

Here’s an ex­am­ple of pric­ing for a fam­ily of four (2 chil­dren un­der 10) for 6 nights and 7 days us­ing July 24-30 with the Awaken Sum­mer Sav­ings:

7-day park ticket (non-hop­per) plus re­sort stay:

All-star Mu­sic $2370

Port Or­leans River­side $2721

Wilder­ness Lodge $3410

Per­son­ally, I like to stay at a value and use the money I save (up to $1000 in this case) on sou­venirs! I know plenty of peo­ple that en­joy stay­ing at a Deluxe Re­sort and re­lax­ing away from the theme parks. You can stay at a mod­er­ate or Deluxe Re­sort and still bud­get money for sou­venirs. I’ll fill you in on some great sav­ings tips be­low!

An­other vari­able is the pos­si­bil­ity to stay off prop­erty. With a lit­tle search on Google, I found Bay­mont Inn & Suites in Kis­sim­mee (rated 3 stars) for ap­prox­i­mately $60 a night. If you have a car and don’t mind driv­ing, here’s a com­par­i­son to the price sam­ples above:

Off prop­erty ho­tel stay plus 7-day park ticket (non-hop­per) pur­chased through Of­fi­cial Ticket Cen­ter:

Bay­mont Inn & Suites $397.65 + $1486 = $1883.65

By stay­ing off site, you can save $486! Al­though, you do have to con­sider trans­porta­tion to the park and park­ing, how­ever it’s still a sav­ings.

Of course, a great travel agency like Des­ti­na­tions to Travel can help you find the best pos­si­ble deal no mat­ter when you de­cide to take your trip or where you de­cide to stay.

Man­ag­ing Your Bud­get Be­fore the Trip

Once you de­ter­mine the type of re­sort or ho­tel you need, you’ll want to fig­ure out how to pay for your trip.

Most Dis­ney re­sort pack­ages need to be paid in full 30-45 days be­fore your trip. Depend­ing how far in ad­vance you book, you can man­age your bud­get sev­eral dif­fer­ent ways.

Dis­ney re­quires a $200 de­posit when you book. If you can swing putting down a larger de­posit, this def­i­nitely cuts down on how much is left for you to pay.

If you booked a year in ad­vance, di­vide your to­tal by 10 months (this gives you a lit­tle wig­gle room with the pay­off 30-45 days be­fore your trip). Each month call Dis­ney, your travel agent, or pay a lit­tle bit on­line through My Dis­ney Experience. When you cut your pay­ments into man­age­able chunks, pay­ing it off doesn’t be­come quite a chore.

Think about us­ing a sav­ings ac­count es­pe­cially for Dis­ney. If you sep­a­rate your Dis­ney money from the money you use daily, it might make it eas­ier to save. There’s even the Dis­ney Sav­ings Ac­count that helps you do just that. I have not used it per­son­ally, but it looks like a great way to make a bud­get. The Dis­ney Sav­ings Ac­count uses an es­ti­ma­tor, helps you cal­cu­late your sav­ings plan, and even tracks your bud­get. You can even earn Dis­ney Gift Cards by sav­ing ahead!

An­other way to bud­get in ad­vance is to add the Dis­ney Din­ing Plan. There’s a lot of de­bate whether or not it is re­ally a sav­ings, but it def­i­nitely helps my fam­ily to cre­ate and stick to our bud­get. If you aren’t a big eater, the Din­ing Plan might not make sense for you, but if you are go­ing to take your kid­dos to many char­ac­ter meals (like we do) it’s def­i­nitely some­thing you want to con­sider. Here’s a look at how adding the reg­u­lar Din­ing Plan (1 Quick Ser­vice, 1 Ta­ble Ser­vice, 1 snack) might af­fect your bud­get:

7-day park ticket (non-hop­per) plus re­sort stay and din­ing: All-star Mu­sic $2370 Port Or­leans River­side $3760 Wilder­ness Lodge $4449 I’ve gone to Dis­ney with and with­out the Din­ing Plan. Did I save money by us­ing it? Maybe, maybe not. Did I save the worry of mak­ing sure we bud­geted enough for meals while still splurg­ing on a fun va­ca­tion? Def­i­nitely. Like I said, it’s not for ev­ery­one, but it helped us to make a bud­get in ad­vance and head to our Dis­ney va­ca­tion know­ing that we re­ally only needed to pay for sou­venirs out of pocket (and tips) be­cause ev­ery­thing else was taken care of.

Man­ag­ing Your Bud­get Dur­ing Your Trip

Pre­pay­ing for din­ing us­ing the Din­ing Plan cer­tainly helps us man­age our bud­get dur­ing the trip but it’s not the only way.

A few nights be­fore we leave for Dis­ney, I set up our “va­ca­tion en­velopes”. I take our cash/gift cards/ trav­eller’s checks and di­vide them out among en­velopes that rep­re­sent each night we are stay­ing. I la­bel the en­velopes with the dates of our trip and put money in each one. When we

get to our re­sort, the en­velopes go into the safe (each Dis­ney Re­sort has an in-room safe) and I only take out the en­ve­lope I need for each day. If there is any left over from a pre­vi­ous day, that gets added into the next day of fun! I have found this works great for our fam­ily since we know what we have to spend and don’t go over­board by get­ting caught up in the magic of Dis­ney and all of their tempt­ing sou­venirs!

An­other great way to man­age your money while on your Dis­ney va­ca­tion is to put your sou­venir money on a gift card. Us­ing this in­stead of a credit card helps to make sure you don’t re­turn with “buy­ers re­morse” once that credit card bill ar­rives in the mail. Plus it helps you stick with your bud­get.

If you have kids, I def­i­nitely rec­om­mend get­ting each prince or princess a gift card so their spend­ing is lim­ited. Putting them in charge of their own sou­venirs will give them a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity and will hope­fully limit the spon­ta­neous spend­ing that might hap­pen oth­er­wise. Plus again, your bud­get re­mains in check.

Fun Ways to Save

One way I love to save for Dis­ney is by uti­liz­ing my credit union’s Christ­mas Sav­ings Fund. When the fund ma­tures on Novem­ber 1st, I take half out and put it to­wards our sum­mer Dis­ney trip. I like that the money comes out of my check au­to­mat­i­cally. I try to add a lit­tle each year and have found that I can ad­just my monthly bud­get eas­ily while know­ing that I m sav­ing for Dis­ney!

An­other way I like to save is us­ing the “52 Weeks of Sav­ings” method. Get your­self a good old-fash­ioned piggy bank and a cal­en­dar. You need to plan a year ahead of time if you want to use this method com­pletely. Count 52 weeks from the start of your va­ca­tion, this is “week 1”. Dur­ing “week 1” you will put $1 in your bank. Week 2 you will put $2 in your bank and so on. When you have fin­ished 52 weeks, you will have $1378. This is a great way to

save for your meals and snacks if you are stay­ing at Dis­ney for a week. If I’m hav­ing a good week, I like to throw in an extra $10 or $20 here and there be­cause at the end I have a lit­tle “bonus” money to spend. I also have done this chal­lenge in re­verse (start­ing with $52) and have found it to be more en­joy­able to­wards the end when I am only adding a dol­lar or two. Here's an ex­am­ple chart you can print out and use as a check­list.

You don’t have to save big in or­der to SAVE BIG! Sav­ing coins like dimes and quar­ters adds up quicker than you might think.

Dimes for Dis­ney is a cool chal­lenge that I haven’t tried yet but sounds like a great way to save. Leg­end has it, if you fill a 2-liter soda bot­tle with dimes it will equal around $700! It’s def­i­nitely worth a try!

Cur­rently I am in the process of fill­ing up a cof­fee can with quar­ters. Ac­cord­ing to my cal­cu­la­tions, I will have about $170 once it is filled. I plan on turn­ing the quar­ters into Dis­ney Gift Cards for the kids.

Fi­nal thoughts

Whether your bud­get is huge or su­per tight, you can still have an amaz­ing time at Dis­ney. There was a time when I used to put our en­tire trip on a credit card and had a great time while there, but not so great once I re­turned and was pay­ing for the trip for months and months. Now, I use the tech­niques above and pay for the trip in bits and pieces and don’t use a credit card at all. No mat­ter how much money you have to spend on your trip, take time to bud­get and it will def­i­nitely help set you up for the ad­ven­ture of a life­time!

Have a tech­nique to share? Head on over to our Face­book page! We’d love to hear from you!

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