Friday, August 3, 2012

Saving for a Disneyland Vacation: On the Homefront

With a 5-day Disneyland vacation on the sunny, sunny horizon, we're finding that our recent spending habits need to be whipped up into shape, Olympics-style.

Disneyland can be costly. It's true. That doesn't deter us from going though. The loads of hundred-dollar bills  amount that it costs us financially is meager compared to the full-throttle experience and warm life-lasting memories of the Happiest Place on Earth. We bond as a family, cut loose, and escape for a sliver of precious time. In other words, it's completely worth it.

To be honest, we don't have tons of expendable income to toss at a trip or attempt one without some financial planning.

Starting today, we are on a cutthroat, military-assignment type of duty to save, save, SAVE. It's starts on the homefront, people.

Prior to cutting costs at home, there are a few other factors to enjoying a frugal getaway at Disneyland:

1. Plan a trip in the off-season.
Fewer crowds = more room to maneuver, shorter lines, more rides in a day, quicker dining, and less stress.

The best times to go include:

January (after LA schools resume)
early to mid-May
September (after Labor Day)
early to mid-November
early December

2. Book a close and affordable hotel that comes with a fridge.
You can find good deals on, but make sure to pick a hotel on the right (east side of the park) or lower right hand corner (lower east side and south side of park). The main entrances are on the east side.

3. Find the ticket plan that works best for your family.
-If you plan on going more than once a year, opt for passes, which are now available at monthly rates.

-Buy park hoppers so you can visit both parks for less.

-Use your AAA membership or military status to receive discounted tickets.

Now onto the homefront...

Below are some cost-cutting strategies we are putting into place to help us save extra money for the Big Trip.

a. Save on energy consumption.
- Turn computer off at night.
-Turn lights off when not in use.
-Adjust brightness display on TV to dimmer setting.
-Unplug appliances not in use.
-Wash clothes in cold water and decrease drying time by adding a dry towel to the load.
-Replace light bulbs with more energy efficient bulbs.

b. Eat mindfully.
-Prepare low-cost, healthy meals.
-Quit dining out!
-Use coupons.
-Freeze meals for later.

c. Save on outtings.
-Drive calmly by avoiding brake-slamming, quick accelerations and reckless driving.
-Use to find affordable gas. Start shopping around for good gas prices at a quarter tank.
-Take only free or low-cost field trips and take food along in a cooler.

d. Be mindful of spending.
-Track spending every day.
-Track energy use every day.
-Buy nothing (except edibles and consumables)
-Use coupons for things I already plan on purchasing.
-Talk about saving with family members. Help Aidyn save his own money.

e. Cut costs and earn money wherever possible.
-Pick up extra work hours.
-Sell books online.
-Recycle plastic and aluminum.
-Take quicker showers.
-Cut hair at home.
-Repurpose unwanted clothes .

Only 80 days to go. I wonder how much I can squirrel away...

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