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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What Disney Has Taught Me About Budgeting

We have flown in and out of Orlando International Airport over two dozen times and have flow from various airports. . . going where the price and times of flights were the best.  Our upcoming trip is no exception and it was without hesitation that we purchased our airline tickets over 10 months ahead of time.  And, now the price for those same flights has increased $189 per person.  Wow!  Paying that price would have taken a much bigger bite out of our vacation budget.

Budgeting is on my mind for a variety of reasons. . . one being that we currently have a vacation budget being built and adjusted, another is that I responded to a post on a message board about budgeting for the holidays, and I am getting ready to make a short presentation this week about budgeting for the holidays and spending less.

Let’s face it, unless we are trust fund folks or live off investments, we are all living on a “fixed income”—no matter the source of that income.  My pay is the same each month, no matter the hours I work and if I want more income, well then I work another job or find other ways to increase the amount of money coming in.  The majority of people operate similarly.

So the ideas that will be presented this week for budgeting for the holidays and spending less are based on the same ideas of planning and budgeting for a Disney vacation or any vacation.  Here they are:
  • Set and know your budget.  Don’t let emotions of the holiday or event override the budget.  Yes, we would all like to splurge, but the momentary exhilaration is not worth the long term grief or worry of going over the budget.
  • Get organized.  Buying something at a great price ahead of time is wonderful, but then you have to know where you put it/hid it for the upcoming holiday or vacation.  I had a friend who kept buying the same color of shoes over and over because she couldn’t find hers.  Organization can save you money!
  • Plan ahead.  Yes, I know that means making decisions ahead of time rather than going with the flow of the vacation or holiday gift buying.  I would rather spend a little bit of time making decisions at my leisure than use time during the holidays or during a vacation to make decisions that are pressing.  Planning ahead lets me enjoy the wonders of the holidays and my vacation time.  Consider planning ahead for grocery purchases as well as gift purchases. 
  • Prioritize—stuff vs. experiences.  What is important to you and your family?  For us, we made experiences a priority over stuff.  So when the holidays role around, we go to festivals, shows, and concerts—many of which are free or their admission goes towards a charity.  This is same for our Disney vacations—souvenirs are much lower on the priority list than say a meal at a unique location, or another experience. 
  • Look forward to the next one. . . whether this be the next vacation or the next holiday.  As soon as one is over, the planning begins for the next!  Spreading and spending time, energy, and resources throughout the year rather than feeling exhausted during the moments that we want to savor. 

Am I glad we purchased our airline tickets so far in advance?  Definitely!  Part of shopping for anything—airline tickets, the holiday turkey, or the latest electronic gadget, is knowing a good price when you meet it and making the leap.  Speaking of which, I’m off to the grocery store to snag a free turkey.  That price is definitely in the budget!

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