According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017 only a little over a third of married couples with kids were living on a single income and we are one of those families. So we are definitely in the minority as far as income goes. The good news for you is if it’s possible for us to go to Walt Disney World then it is absolutely possible for you and your family to go too! (Especially, if you’re like the vast majority of American families and have two incomes!) So to help you make Disney a reality for your family, here’s the first installment of our top 10 things to do to help you afford Walt Disney World!!!
(Want to hear all about our first ever trip to Walt Disney World? Click here!)
1. Get on a Budget and Stick to It
We live by our budget! We know exactly how much our bills are, and what our general monthly expenses usually equate to. Bills are pretty constant typically. It’s things like food and entertainment that can get out of hand super quickly if you aren’t careful. Tell every penny of your money where it’s going every month so you don’t look up at the end of the month (or before that) and figure out you have ZERO dollars left. That’s the worse feeling in the world y’all!!!
Also, it’s sooooo important to have savings plugged into your budget. That way you know money is getting put aside for the Mouse and any other big ticket items you may have.
Remember, the most important thing about having a budget is sticking to it!!! Don’t make the mistake of waiting to the end of the month to reconcile your budget. By then you may already be wayyyy over what you intended to spend. Try to carve out a day at the end or very beginning of your week to see where you are in your spending. That way you’ll know before you start the upcoming week how much you have left to spend. If you don’t already have a budget, check out Mint.com. It’s totally free! Or you can just go the pen and paper route like we do; it’s equally free!
2. Eat at Home
Have you ever paid attention to how much money you and your family spend eating out? Well if you’re any thing like the average American family, you could be spending much more than you’re putting away in savings each month.
Let’s just take lunch for example, if you spend an average of $10 per meal every work day that totals $2,500 per year and that’s just for one person! Don’t forget all the times you’re running late for work and go through a drive-thru for that breakfast croissant and five dollar coffee. Not to mention the evenings you’re too tired to cook dinner so you pick up something for the whole entire family. These numbers are even more troubling when you consider 69% of Americans now have less than $1,000 in a savings account according to a survey done by GoBankingRates.com.
Always keep in mind that Ronald McDonald and Mr. Cheesescake Factory are all in the food game to make money. The average cost of preparing a meal at home is about $4, in comparison to a restaurant meal that is about $13 on average. That’s a 325% difference y’all (moneyunder30.com)!! That’s insane!!!!
Don’t fret though, I realize that there is a social aspect to eating out and my family goes out too. It gives mom and dad a break from cooking all the time and adds in some variety. Just do your savings account a favor and sit down and crunch the numbers for how much money your family can really afford to spend on eating out. And more importantly, how much more money you could be saving by eating in. Plug what you find out into your budget and stick to it! Don’t trade all of your hard earned cash for convenience. (Bonus tip: Check out Pinterest.com. I use them all the time for quick, easy and inexpensive recipe ideas!)
3. Buy Second-Hand
Anyone who knows me knows that I am the reigning Thrift Store Queen (self-crowned)!!! I don’t know about you but the thrill of finding a new or new to me pair of jeans in great condition for $3 just sends me to the moon and back!
One thing I’ve noticed the past couple of years is that people shop a LOT! So much so that they have to get rid of things they already own to make room for all of the new things they’re going to purchase. Most people realize their clothes are still in great condition. So instead of tossing them in the garbage, they donate them to their local thrift store and that’s where I come in!
I swoop in like a bird of prey and scoop up all of those worn once or not at all goodies they drop off. My local thrift store even has partnerships with local department stores for their overstock and clearance items. So more often than not, I’m always able to find items with the original price tags still on them! I’ll be the first one to admit that all thrift stores are NOT created equal. Take out some time and research to find a gem. Trust me it’s sooooo well worth it and will save you a ton of money.
While the thrift store works well for me, kids can be pretty rough on some clothes. So for my two girlies I employ a different money-saving strategy. Kids Consignment Sales!!! If you’re not familiar with consignment, it’s where you bring your items to a store and they sale them in their store for you. They keep a percentage of the sale, but you keep the vast majority.
My favorite sale for my girls is Kids Market and Mom. If you can find one as good as this one you have struck gold my dear friend! They have guidelines for what they accept and inspect everything before accepting it too!
When you hit a gold mine like Kids Market and Mom, your consignment shop will carry more than just clothes and shoes! They also carry furniture, home decor, toys, books, backpacks, things for mom, things for teens and everything you could possibly need for baby like strollers, high chairs, cribs… you name it they’ve got it! Do yourself and your Disney budget a huge favor and google kids consignment sales for your area. You won’t believe the quality or the savings you can find at a good consignment sale!
That does it for this installment of How to Afford Walt Disney World! Come back on Wednesday and check out our next three Disney money saving tips!
Before you go, do you speak thrift? Or have any great tips on how to cut down on spending in your budget? We’d love to hear your thoughts below!
Thanks for stopping by!