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Old 09-16-2012, 09:38 AM   #46
AshleyD1983
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What an awesome and inspiring idea! Thanks for sharing your great story. Have a super magical trip!
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:04 AM   #47
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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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Old 09-16-2012, 12:48 PM   #48
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Awesome!!! I know it will be an amazing trip!
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:17 PM   #49
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A wonderful tale that brought tears to my eyes. I am sure you and your your family will have a fantastic trip and you will inspire all those who read your post, thank you so much for sharing.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:47 PM   #50
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Way to go!!
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:40 PM   #51
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What a great story!! Thanks for sharing it!! Just goes to show you, you can accomplish anything with motivation & teamwork, right? What a great lesson you've given your family

OH, and can I just say that your son is a tremendous human being
to offer to stay home so little sis could have her turn? Nice job all the way around parents! Wish there were more like you out here in the world!
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:54 PM   #52
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that's awesome.

and your son is amazing. you and your wife have obviously done an amazing job raising your children.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:04 PM   #53
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What a great story, the part about your son willing to give up his trip for his sisters made me cry. You obviously have done an amazing job raising your children. I hope you have the most amazing trip ever!
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:18 PM   #54
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We're doing something similar - making saving for our trip (11/13) the incentive to clean the house. I may do a PTR at some point.

Also, your son is awesome.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:47 AM   #55
Cirrius
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Wow! Thanks everyone for the positive feedback!

I was very touched by my son's response too, as a parent I couldn't have been more proud of him. I make mistakes in being a dad, but it was a moment that let me know we've been doing things right.

In retrospect I would have set up a legend for star value and color coded those so there is a visible difference between $5 and $20. The only difference is you get a special sticker for exceptional savings. They don't mind that part though, they love going to the "secret book" (it's a small safe that looks like a hardcover book) at the end of the week and counting their savings and putting it in there, then picking their star and marking progress.

The kids decided this weekend that once we pay for the trip, they want us to stop the vacation countdown and not tell them when the trip is. So the plan is changing to a covert one now, we will pack all the bags in secret and not tell them what day it is until we drive to the airport. That should be a lot of fun!
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:04 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirrius View Post
Wow! Thanks everyone for the positive feedback!

I was very touched by my son's response too, as a parent I couldn't have been more proud of him. I make mistakes in being a dad, but it was a moment that let me know we've been doing things right.

In retrospect I would have set up a legend for star value and color coded those so there is a visible difference between $5 and $20. The only difference is you get a special sticker for exceptional savings. They don't mind that part though, they love going to the "secret book" (it's a small safe that looks like a hardcover book) at the end of the week and counting their savings and putting it in there, then picking their star and marking progress.

The kids decided this weekend that once we pay for the trip, they want us to stop the vacation countdown and not tell them when the trip is. So the plan is changing to a covert one now, we will pack all the bags in secret and not tell them what day it is until we drive to the airport. That should be a lot of fun!
So it will be a surprise, how sweet, love it! I think they are having so much fun with this, you will doing more saving plans like that for other trips.
I am so adapting your system!
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:25 AM   #57
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That is so wonderful. This is what we do for vacations too, but I’m not sure my daughter fully realizes it because it isn’t documented on something large like this. She just knows “we aren’t doing or buying (insert whatever) because that money is going to our vacation.” I think she may be a more willing participant if I did something like this. We have a goal to go on DCL in November 2013. I’m going to come up with something for that.

And I too had tears in my eyes when I read the part about your son volunteering to stay behind. How awesome is he!
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:05 PM   #58
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This is fabulous!

Congratulations! What a great lesson for your kids and great teamwork. I hope you have the very best, most magical trip ever! You really deserve it after all the hard work. Awesome!
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:39 PM   #59
Cirrius
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*drumroll*

Final payment has been made! The trip is official! We are so excited!

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Old 10-16-2012, 10:19 PM   #60
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*drumroll*

Final payment has been made! The trip is official! We are so excited!

YAY!!!!
That's wonderful!!
We booked tonight for our February trip. It will require some belt tightening and extra work to get it all paid off (especially with Christmas just before final payment day).
I LOVE the idea of a visual to keep everyone going when we need to say No to things like McDonalds, or stay in for movie night. The kids get it, and they are grateful, but putting it all down on a chart or a ledger will help them see the progress!
So you have inspired this family too. Have a WONDERFUL trip. You have awesome kids!
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