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Old 09-15-2012, 04:10 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 36

The savings plan worked, trip almost paid off!

The backstory:

We took my son to Disney when he was 5 and my daughter stayed with the grandparents (she was 2 at the time). We told her when she was 5 that we would return to Disney for her first trip. We never mentioned it since, so were surprised at the beginning of the year when she started asking "I'm almost 5, do I still get to see Disney?"

Engage planning mode! This was a few months before my yearly work bonus, so we started planning the trip we always wanted to take: Christmas season at the Wilderness Lodge. We were looking at dates and talking through details when bad news hit - yearly bonuses were taking a large cut, and there was no money for Disney.

We broke the news to our children who were very upset. My son said the sweetest thing, he hung his head and said he understood we couldn't take him, but his sister deserved her first trip because he wanted her to see the "real magic" of Disney, and that he could still have fun at grandmas house. My daughter cried and cried, she had remembered the promise for years.

So I sat back and looked at our finances and our disposable income that goes to restaurants, movies, etc. We had 8 months, we could do this. I priced out options, moderate resorts, no dining, dining combinations with the resort we wanted, and finally worked out a plan. We could still have the trip we started planning, and at the same time have a great opportunity to teach my kids about saving, working towards a goal, and making sacrifices.

I drew up our savings board, and broke down the cost of each major portion of the trip. I also gave each of us a "star wall". When the kids saved their allowance and put it towards the trip they got a star. Mom and Dad got an area for savings too (spending less on lunch, ebay'ing old things we didn't need), and an area for teamwork savings - this was money leftover at the end of each month for lowering bills (like turning off all the lights around the house) and skipping costly family activities.

When my kids first looked at it, they said we'd never make it! It's been great to have them see, week by week, the savings line inch it's way up the chart, and know that we are all doing this together. We now have 4 weeks until our payoff date, and only have about $400 left to pay! We'll continue saving after the payoff to cover extra spending for souvenirs and the like.

I'm so happy that we didn't blow off the trip due to lack of immediate funds, my daughter gets to have her first trip, my son gets his second, the wife gets to stay at the resort and date she wanted, and we get to enjoy that we did this together as a family.

Here's a shot of the "almost there" savings board:

I know we could have cut costs with a cheaper room and less money on food, but the WL has been a long wanted destination, and my wife has celiac so we do all sitdowns...it's the ONLY vacation destination where she can be carefree on food!

Anyway, I thought I'd share, thanks for reading!
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