- So you spend all day having fun rather than constantly saying no and feeling like a Disney villain.
- No one gets to have everything they want, because no one has that sort of money. Kids might as well learn that now rather than face disappointment later on as adults.
- Children like to know what is going on in their lives. Knowing how much money they have to spend gives them control, which is something they may not get a lot of on vacation.
- How much money will they be bringing?
- Will you give them any money when they run out?
- Will you loan them any more money if they run out, assuming they will have to start paying it back upon return?
- Are they responsible for paying for any family activities during the vacation?
- Can their money be divided up into a per day allowance so the $$ isn’t used up on the first day?
- Can they do any chores before the trip to earn extra spending money?
My teens wanted to see Cirque de Soliel, and when I offered to pay for half their ticket, they weighed their options and decided they would rather spend their money adding the DisneyQuest/water park option to our annual passes. Several years ago, my kids chose to receive fewer Christmas presents so we could stay on vacation a few days longer. We laid out the money facts and let them decide, though it warmed my heart they chose family vacation over “stuff.”
I think giving kids a choice or a say in vacation plans can be a great teaching tool.
“We have a budget, and we can’t have it all. Let’s decide what is the best value for our money.”
I keep a small notebook with my three children’s vacation savings written down. We call this “The Column.” My children pretty much keep money on their “Disney Column” all year ‘round. Each day of vacation, we start out at breakfast calling out column amounts. They know each day how much money they have left to spend. Middle child goes by the total amount, while oldest daughter divides her amounts out per day. My husband and I do loan money, up to a certain amount that I know I will get my money back. I know surprise Disney trips look fun and exciting, but they don’t allow for kids doing chores and extra jobs ahead of time to pay for the souvenirs they will want in those gift shops.
We can’t have everything we want. The Donald Trumps of this world have a budget, (funny how I originally used his name when I wrote this article in 2013) and they are holding out on purchasing something, even if their scale is far more grand than ours. Not overspending or sticking to a budget in our every day lives is a life skill. You can blow your budget and make a bunch of purchases with your credit card, but dealing with the bill after you get home will just add to your post-Disney depression.
Sit down with your kids and make a budget, one for them and one for you!
I need reminders about this budget business when I walk into the new Disney PANDORA stores. My Disney Visa card stays is a little nervous….
We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans if their children had budgets, or did they let them spend whatever they wanted on vacation. Don’t get me wrong, there are some parents (I wanted these to adopt me!) that said they let the kids buy whatever they please, but the vast majority said their children did chores and had budgets.
Here are some of their thoughts, because it always helps to hear from parents who have gone through it before.
Amanda, “You have to put them on a budget! When we went, I had a specific amount for souvenirs each day. I think it was like $30 per park. Once that was gone, it was gone. The kids knew ahead of time that they had money, and it was their decision on how to spend it. If they wanted to spend $100 the first day in the Magic Kingdom, then they knew that meant they only had $20 left for Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios combined. They did very well, surprisingly. They bought what they wanted and didn’t whine or beg for extra.”
Erica, “My kids have to do specific things at home to earn dedicated Disney money (they can also add birthday money, allowance money, anything to it), and that is all they get for Disney. They’ve earned about $50 in about eight months; if they need more, they have to save it for the next trip.”
Jodi, “We have a budget for our daughter. She earns money through out the year with her allowance, extra chores and stuff around the house. Then before we go, she decides how much she wants to spend of her money, and then I go and get gift cards. She can then decide to get whatever she wants. She has actually done better than I thought she would. She earned about $200 over the year and only decided to spend $100 of it, so I was pretty impressed.”
Chris, “We have a budget when I am in charge. My kids know they can push my wife around. I stand firm and can say ‘no.'”
Deborah, “My kids always had a certain amount of money, usually given to them by their grandparents. It was not a lot. I divide the amount of money by the number of days we are there. That is how much they have to spend per day. If they want something on the first day that is more than that amount, they have to wait until they have that much money to purchase it. This method really cuts down on impulse buying and stupid purchases. If they wait the 3-4 days to make a large purchase, it is usually a good decision.”
Laura, “My daughter makes a Disney money envelope, and she puts money that she earns by doing chores, her allowance and any money she gets for birthdays/holidays in it. With that money she gets to buy whatever she wants, but when the money is gone, it’s gone. It has really helped her decide if something is really worth the price.”
Kimberly, “Kids definitely need a budget! Each child gets Disney gift cards for birthday/christmas and they can spend until they are gone. They have total control of their own budget, but they definitely have a budget.”
Speaking of cheapskate shopping, you have got to drop by this Orlando store…trust me on this one!
What better place to teach your kids to stick to a budget than on a Disney vacation, home of the Happiest Shopping on Earth!
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you checking out the t-shirts and keychains.
To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.
Disney’s Cheapskate Princess
Now let our vacation planners help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!
You can also e-mail them at email@example.com.
Amanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.
Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast.
We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Princess Travel Experts with Destinations in Florida travel, Elizabeth and Erin. You can also e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.