The savings plan worked, trip almost paid off!

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by Cirrius, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. Cirrius

    Cirrius Earning My Ears

    May 15, 2012
    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's the ONLY vacation destination where she can be carefree on food!

    Anyway, I thought I'd share, thanks for reading! pixiedust:
  2. mommyof3grlz

    mommyof3grlz Mouseketeer

    Oct 15, 2005
    I love the chart. I think it is great what you have done. Have fun!
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  4. mayaflysmama

    mayaflysmama Earning My Ears

    Mar 13, 2011
    I love this and what a great visual for the kids (and parents)! I may have to copy this format in the future.

    Have a great trip!
  5. bellaally

    bellaally DIS Veteran

    Jul 15, 2012
    This is a great idea for every trip, I would do this for my boys so they can better grasp the concept of saving money and putting it towards something. Plus saving instead of getting little treats here and there and you can put it towards something huge.

    P.s great job dad lol, look at all those stars
  6. Swimnoid

    Swimnoid DIS Veteran

    May 28, 2003
    That is FANTASTIC! Good job. Your family (especially the kids) will have more fun knowing everybody helped. Have a great time!
  7. Pixie Princess

    Pixie Princess DIS Veteran

    Nov 23, 2009
    Ditto! And how great is your son for volunteering to stay behind so his sister could get her first trip?! That made me cry!
  8. DisFanEY

    DisFanEY Mouseketeer

    Feb 21, 2007
    So, so happy for you! What a great post...we're scrimping too to get to the next trip, and I do think we're all learning valuable lessons...
    Just wanted to wish you all a great, great trip! It will be even more meaningful and extraordinary. :)
  9. Tonka's Skipper

    Tonka's Skipper DIS Veteran

    Jul 14, 2010

    Well done there Dad and family!:thumbsup2
  10. debrapagliasotti

    debrapagliasotti DIS Veteran

    Jul 3, 2011
    Great job :thumbsup2

    Hope you and your family enjoy your holiday trip :)
  11. redheadedmermaid73

    redheadedmermaid73 Mouseketeer

    Sep 11, 2012
    I think its great! You're teaching your children a valuable lesson that will help them when they are older. Plus I bet the trip will mean more when they know how much it cost and how hard everyone worked to save up for it.
  12. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    This brought tears to my eyes! What an awesome idea, and what a great job you all did! Thats very mature for two little kids!!! You should be very proud of your family, and make no excuses about where/how much, y'all deserve it!
  13. focusondisney

    focusondisney DIS Veteran

    May 7, 2009
    Me too! What an awesome big brother! I hope your family has a very magical trip! :goodvibes
  14. Jacksonev1

    Jacksonev1 Mouseketeer

    Apr 29, 2012
    Awesome Job!! This vacation will be a special memory for your family--they will know it was earned!!

    Have an amazing vacation!

  15. KellyNY

    KellyNY DIS Veteran

    Aug 8, 2009
    This is a great way to have a trip and to teach kids to save when you have a goal in mind!
    Great job! I may adapt your idea. May I ask what those stars represent, they are different colors?
  16. amccu18007

    amccu18007 DIS Veteran

    Dec 22, 2008
    Fantastic! So happy for you! I think that I may follow your lead and strt saving for our march trip now so the kids can participate!
  17. jtopp

    jtopp driving the monorail in my dreams

    Oct 28, 2001
    Great Job!!!!. Its a much more enjoyable trip when you know its prepaid, and no bills when you return home. You can say you truely EARNED this trip. Hope you have a great time, and congrats on such a good job!!
  18. jnfr2424

    jnfr2424 I'm Tink I got my Peter Pan and together we love t

    Aug 10, 2009
    This brought tears to my eyes to see the selfless love your kids have and how you were able to put this dream trip together! Congratulations! I hope you and your family have the most fantastic trip ever!!
  19. wdwfan1

    wdwfan1 DIS Veteran

    Jan 18, 2004
    Wonderful story. I know your trip will be great. We just love WL, especially at Christmastime. We will be there too--over at the Villas at WL.


    Apr 6, 2005
    I agree 100%.
  21. goofyintoronto

    goofyintoronto I really wanted to like it, but I didnt.

    Mar 29, 2011
    ME TOO!!! what a sweet boy!! :) Its great what youve done as a family. have a fabulous time!!

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