Th best tip for your budget Disney World vacation is to pay with cash. The last thing you want to do is pay interest on your vacation for years to come. As a matter of fact paying interest on your Disney vacation can keep you from having room in your budget to save for a future vacation. Remember saving for a Disney trip can be done $10 at a time. It just takes a little planning.
Budget Disney World: Frugal Disney Trip Planning
I really wanted to take our son on his first trip to Disney on his 5th birthday. I had the idea about 3 months before I wanted to take the trip. Well, I just couldn’t save for a vacation of that size on that short of notice. I felt bummed, defeated, but determined. I knew we could make this trip happen. We just needed a little more time to save, a plan to cut back expenses and all of the frugal Disney ideas we could find. And guess what, we did it (in 8 months), we loved it and our first vacation cost $1700 (the youngest didn’t need a ticket). I want you to know that if your family really has a desire to go to Disney on a budget, you can do it too. It may take a little longer to save, you may have to make a few sacrifices but not only is it doable, your trip will be magical.
Estimating Your Frugal Disney Trip
When estimating your trip remember your number is simply an estimation. Tickets prices change, Disney packages change which could help or hurt your budget, so make sure to follow Disney price changes. One of the easiest ways is to sign up for emails from MouseSavers.com.
Different Vacation Options
Book a Package with room and tickets directly through Disney.
You Can Stay Off Site and purchase tickets either through Disney or through an approved agency. If you choose to stay off site remember to add parking fees to your budget goals.
Extras To Add To Estimation
Tips For Mousekeeping
Boarding of Pets
Looking for ways to save on your Disney trip? There are so many great ways to do Disney on the cheap from cheaper rooms to saving money in the parks, you can read our favorite ways to save plus see links to other families who loved their frugal Disney vacation.
Budget Disney World Vacation Savings Examples
Here are a few examples of estimated trips and what it looks like to save for them in 6 months, 12 months or 24 months.
Now that you know what your goals are let’s look at how you can meet those goals. If you do not have a basic budgeting plan here are a few things to help you save money on your monthly expenses.
Credit card debt kills so many budgets. Once you get into credit card debt minimum payments, high-interest rates, and adding expenses to your card can keep you from paying off those cards for good. Look at your budget. How much are you spending in credit card debt each month? If your credit card debt is keeping you from going on vacation and enjoying life, then you need to first start a spending freeze. Make an agreement with your spouse that neither of you will use credit cards for purchases then you need to start on a debt snowball plan.
Eating out and throwing away unused food is costing you a lot of money each month. If you need to get your food budget (eating out plus grocery expenses) under control meal planning is the easy path. I use the Meal Planning Made Easy Kit to reduce our monthly expenses at the grocery store by eating what we buy and eating out significantly less. In the past, I did not pay much attention to our food budget but once I started writing down how much our food expenses were each month, I was shocked. Since I started using the Meal Planning Made Easy Kit, I cut my food budget by 40%.
Garage Sales, eBay, Craigslists, or FB selling sites
Your budget is good but you just don’t have enough extra room to save for a vacation. Try simplifying the items in your home and selling items that you don’t really need or use. It is easy to sell items at a garage sale or online at Ebay, Craigslist or Facebook selling sites.
Consignment sales take a little work to prep items, but you can easily make money selling your kids unused or outgrown baby items, clothes, toys, and furniture. Don’t have anything to sell? Consignment sales are also a good place to buy quality items for significantly less than new which can help you with your budget Disney World vacation fund.
Did you get a great tax return this year but not sure how you want to spend it? Don’t blow it on items that are not going to make you happy in the long run. Go put it into your vacation fund now!
Do loved ones give you the gift of money for special occasions? Put that money into your vacation fund. This is how I funded most of our first Disney trip. I saved up the money I received for special occasions for a couple of years.
Give Up Excesses
Small expenses are really dangerous to a budget. We think $4 or $5 just doesn’t matter but when you do that 15 times this month, it can kill all of your fun money. Give up the expensive coffee, the run to the Dollar Store for stuff you don’t really need, unplanned gum and candy in the checkout line, or running into the convenience store because you didn’t pack a drink or a snack (again!). This can help you scrounge up some extra cash to meet your frugal Disney planning goals.
Don’t Forget The Change Jar
The change jar is one of my favorite ways to find an extra $50 to add to our vacation fund.
Where To Stash Your Cash For Your Budget Disney World Trip
DO NOT let your savings sit in your checking account. You will end up spending a little here and there and before you know it your dream frugal Disney trip fund is completely depleted. The easiest way to separate your funds is to set up a savings account at the same bank as your checking and transfer your savings every week or month. You will be able to easily keep up with your progress, it won’t be easy to “borrow” or spend your savings on whim items, and before you know it your Disney fund will grow.
*The Disney Vacation Account program ended as of 7/2017. If you have a Disney Vacation Account go to the site to check your options for refund immediately. We will update this section if/when a new program is available.
Disney Vacation Account Another way to save for you Disney vacation is to open a Disney Vacation Account. The account is free but there are a few rules. You can start saving up to 5 years in advance of your Disney Vacation. You can use a debit or credit card to make scheduled deposits or make an instant deposit anytime. A full refund of your money is available at any time but can take up to 7-days to receive. Disney can put up to a 7-day hold on all new deposits so make sure you plan ahead before wanting to use your money. For every $1000 that you spend on qualified vacation expenses (read the fine print to understand what Disney considers “qualified vacation expenses”) you receive a $20 Disney gift card. Your account must have been active for at least 120 days in order to qualify for a bonus. Heads Up: Some people complain that they struggled receiving their bonus gift cards before their trip. If you plan to use a travel agent the travel agent can’t actually access your account to pay for you. You will end up calling Disney yourself to pay using your Disney Vacation Account. Get all of the small details on the official Disney Vacation Account site. The big con to using a Disney Vacation Account is that you are not in full control of your money.
The process of planning a budget Disney World vacation can be a lot of fun. Make sure to give yourself enough time to save for your frugal vacation trip, make smart budget decisions, and enjoy dreaming about the fun your family will have on your amazing trip.