Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Disney savings jar

From the moment I posted the picture above on Facebook early Christmas afternoon, I was getting query after query regarding what we were doing, how we were doing it, etc., and I figured the most efficient way of explaining our plan was to write about it here.

This past Christmas was tight. Not just for us, but for many people. Times are rough; money seems to be leaving the bank quicker than it arrives for many families, and many of us are more concerned with the business of stretching pennies than we are with the newest, most popular, latest, and greatest "thing" to give our children. Frugality calls for creativity, and this past Christmas, as we finished up our Christmas breakfast, we gave our girls a gift that, as they said, was better than anything they had under the tree. This year, we gave them the promise that, by year's end, we will take them to Disney World. My poor hubby's ears took a beating ... there was a LOT of squealing as the jar with those mouse ears painted on it came out of the bag! For those five little princessy types, the idea of visiting the "most magical place on earth" was almost more than they could handle!

Wait ... Disney? FRUGAL? Am I out of my mind? Well, that's beside the point. I know my rocker is a bit off-kilter. Hear me out. No, we don't have the $4000 (give or take) that it is going to take to get our family of seven a five-day stay at what we have affectionately (and snark-fully) dubbed "the Mouse trap". We just don't have it! We have some MAJOR house repairs that require every penny of our savings, plus a whole lot more. See, we didn't hand the girls seven tickets. We handed them a plan, and the opportunity to be a major part of that plan! The jar is just a plain plastic cookie-jar type thing that I painted the Mickey Mouse head shape onto. It was empty when we gave it to them. We told them how much it is going to cost, how much we can put in from Pete's travel pay (about half) during the next year, and then told them that it will take ALL OF US working together to fill that jar. They didn't seem all that worried. They immediately started brainstorming ways of saving the money. A week and a half after Christmas, there is already over $100 in it.

As for an actual savings "plan"? Well, mostly we are resolving to eat out less. We spend a LOT on restaurant meals that could go into savings. Yes, we make the wiggle room in our budget to do that, but if we are spending between $60-75 a week for food, we could be plunking at least 3/4 of that in the jar every week and eat at HOME! We are also planning a massive, get-the-entire-family-involved yard sale that will hopefully help us do some big-time decluttering while boosting the savings for our trip at the same time!

Our hope and aim is to make this trip DEBT FREE, while showing the girls that making small but powerful changes in our spending habits can benefit us all in BIG ways. :)
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