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Spring Cleaning Your Finances

Everyone loves or loathes Spring cleaning their house but how many of you Spring clean your finances? This is something that will help keep you on track toward your financial goals whether its saving for your family vacation or saving for your first house.

So what goes into Spring cleaning your finances? It’s taking a deep look into your budget, spending, income and where you can clean some stuff up with your finances. It’s looking at whether you need that donut when you buy your coffee (I am guilty of this) or do you need to eat out once a week or can every other week work into your lifestyle?

For most people, your income is a set amount every week or every other week because that’s when they receive their paycheck. For my family, the hubby gets a paycheck every other week for his night job. Then, our income fluctuates because we own businesses that rely on other people either hiring Doug for a service or for myself someone purchasing my products. We have adjusted our budget to accommodate the way our income is paid to us but for most people you know how much you will be getting and when which makes budgeting and analyzing your spending so easy.

Do you fit into the 50/20/30 rule? One of the hardest part of the rule to stay in is the 30% for your lifestyle because it’s easy to add those extras into your spending. I am so guilty of this especially eating out. When I am to tired to cook because I was up all night with the baby or we were out with the dance or something else going on, eating out is the easiest physical solution. Afterwards, I kick myself because financially I shouldn’t have spent that money because it could have gone towards the family Disney trip we are savings towards.

As a new series, I want to break down ways to cut down on the lifestyle spending through the Spring season. Each Sunday, I will focus on a different way to Spring clean your lifestyle spending in a fun way. Let’s Spring clean our finances while having fun!

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Cutting the Cable Wire

Cut the Cable out

For the past year and half my family has lived without cable which to some people seems crazy but for our family it was an unnecessary added bill. When I was looking at ways to cut costs in our budget, the cable bill just killed me because we paid over $130 for internet and cable. We didn’t watch a 1/4 of the channels! Oh and our Internet was at the slowest speed so we went through constant buffering and delays.

We live in a day and age where you can’t live without internet. I need internet for blogging and business and Danyella’s homeschooling is half done through an online program. Plus, we stream Netflix and Hulu to fulfill our desire to watch something on TV. Which before we cut the cable, we were mainly streaming our shows on an app instead of watching live tv.

Paying over $130 for cable we barely watch and Internet that moved at snail speed just was not ok for me and for our budget. So me being me, I set out and did research with LOTS of notes. I looked at how much it costs for different scenarios to keep our internet and streaming services.

Since our area is limited (due to a stupid 15 year or some outrageous number contract with a specific company) to only one cable and internet company, our options were meek but doable. To go with just the internet package from our cable company, they offer 4 plans starting with the craptastic $45 Plan that is recommended for less than 3 devices in the home. Then, there are 2 middle plans for $55 and $70. Last is the Queen of the plans at $90 a month for the ultimate gaming experience. We don’t need the gaming experience so we went with the $55 plan that is good for 5 devices at once which is about right between streaming, laptops and phones going at once.

How am I watching stuff on my tv without cable? I had previously purchased an Amazon Firestick for the living room tv Danyella’s room plus our bedroom had a roku smart tv so we have streaming devices. ($35 each for the sticks and the tv was $120 at Walmart) In the long run, this was an investment well worth the month. Total out-of-pocket so far is $55 a month and $210 lifetime

Now onto our streaming apps! Netflix is a must have in our lives because I have an obsession with watching Orange is the New Black and Danyella watches Fuller House. When I say obsession… the day either of those shows come out, we get up at 3am and binge ALL DAY until we have watched all the episodes at once. Only breaks are for potty and food. Cost of our obsession is $14 a month to watch on 4 screens (sometimes we are all watching something different and take up 3 screens). An added perk that I only recently discovered is you can download movies onto your tablet or phone for free and watch them without using internet for 2 weeks. New out-of-pocket expenses: monthly $69 lifetime $120

Hulu has become our new way to watch live tv because a little over a year without watching my live sports was killing me slowly. I needed to watch my Eagles on Sundays plus there were some tv shows that I wanted to watch live and not see all the spoilers on Facebook thanks to my friends. Hulu recently came out with a live streaming package with DVR and completely revamped their app which I love! We get all the major channels like ABC, CBS and NBC plus food network, kids channels and a bunch more we don’t watch but sometimes I’ll record movies to watch later. This was worth every penny to watch the recent Superbowl (Fly Eagles Fly) and the Winter Olympics. Oh and I needed to watch the new episodes of Grey’s live before Facebook told me what happened. Only downfall of the live streaming channels is that they don’t stream any of the Hallmark channels (sometimes a girl needs a little girly romance movie binge). The new Hulu live streaming service is $40 per month. The Latest totals: Monthly $109 Lifetime $210

With eliminating our cable, upgrading our internet and using streaming apps our new total a month is $109! This saves us $36 a month which is 2 weeks worth of gas for my car or more than half of my grocery shopping budget a week!! With the Hulu live streaming we can always pause our subscription if the $40 isn’t in our budget one month or we want to use that money towards something else. Saving $36 and upgrading to a better internet package makes the changes feel worth it because we aren’t wasting money or getting frustrated with the internet.

How many of you have cut the cable cord in your homes?

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Utilizing Rain Checks for Grocery Shopping

bake bread (1)

Yesterday, for the first time, I went to customer service at my local grocery store and asked for a rain check. I have never done this and didn’t even know it was still a thing some stores do until someone talked about it in my couponing group. Rain checks are still a thing so how and when do I ask or use them?

Typically in my shopping adventures, if the store is out of something on sale then I won’t worry about it. This week was a different story because I went to Shoprite twice for my Creamate French Vanilla creamer and they were out. The creamer was on sale for $1.66 so I wanted to stock up on it because I go through creamer now that I am back to drinking coffee everyday.


With my coffee, I am a creature of habit either French Vanilla or Pumpkin Spice (I could drink it all year long if they would make and sell it) or Peppermint Mocha (only in December before Christmas). If I wanted to drink coffee that tasted like Cookies and Cream or some other gross flavor (sorry if I offended anyone) , then I would have gone home with creamer. I just couldn’t do it.


After I was done checking out, I put on my big girl panties and went to customer service to ask for my rain check. For some reason, doing stuff like this makes me nervous and shy. So I stumbled over my words when I asked for a rain check and the girl needed to know exactly what I wanted it for. I didn’t realize she needed the exact flavor… whoops.

Eventually, I was able to find my big girl words and walked away with my rain check for my french vanilla creamer! A little more success for my shopping trip!

After some research, I found out that my local grocery stores will issue rain checks. As far as I know, Walmart and Target do not issue rain checks for any of their grocery products. I will now be using this knowledge to help in my future shopping trips to save money and you should too!

If you or your family have products that you love and they are out of stock when they are on sale, then I encourage you to ask for a rain check because it can help save you so much money especially if you end up getting a coupon for that product in the future! Double win!

This week’s trip was small because we are moving over the next 2 weeks and I don’t want to stock up on to much and have to move even more stuff. I spent $30.73 and saved $87! My only complaint is that my $2 digital coupon for diapers didn’t come off so I will be going to customer service this week to get it fixed. Diapers are expensive as it is so saving an extra $2 is helpful (it is enough to purchase my creamer with my rain check!). Instead of paying $3 for my diapers, I spent $5…

My free items this week were the detergent bottles, scent booster, stain fighter packs, bananas. Halos  were $2 (I bought a bag of these earlier in the week as well), Raisin Bran Crunch $.50, Kellogs and Frosted Flakes were $3 for both, pasta $1.50, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (not my fav chunky monkey sadly) $1.50, bacon $2, ground beef (3 pounds) for $6 and the water was 3 cases for $6.

I definitely missed stocking up on some stuff but still grabbed great deals. I plan on splitting the ground meat into 1 pound bags to freeze and use in the future for pasta meals. We plan on packing our kitchen over the next couple of days so we will be eating lots of easy stuff like cereal so thankfully the cereal was a great deal. Even though we won’t go through 3 cases of water before we move, I couldn’t pass up this deal because at Walmart you buy a case for over $3 a case for their brand.

Have you used rain checks? How was your shopping trip this week?

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Organize Your Shopping Trip to Save Money



If you are anything like I was, you would mentally have a grocery shopping list but didn’t write anything down. If I had coupons, it would be a couple and not on sale items. I had no plan which ended up costing me three times the amount of money because I impulse shopped.

Impulse shopping is one of the worst things for a person/family living on a budget. You end up buying thing you THINK you need instead of buying what you KNOW you need. For over 15 years this is how I shopped but not anymore!

Going into the store with an organized game plan was a game changer for my spending habits and budget. I am going to show you my steps to Organizing My Shopping Trip to Save the Most Money….

1. Set aside a block of time to organize every week. Gather your coupons, coupon binder, flyers, meal plan and 2 sheets of paper to make your list.

2. Cut and organize your coupons into your binder. Don’t forget to throw out the expired coupons you have in your binder.

3. Time to make your grocery list!

  • With your meal plan and 1 piece of paper, go through the flyer and write down the items you need that are on sale.
  • Add to the list the items you need for your household
  • Now, with your coupon binder out compare your list and flyer to the coupons you have. One thing I have learned with my couponing is that the coupon inserts or coupons from coincide with the weekly flyer so that you can maximize your savings.
  • This is where I get my 2nd sheet of paper out… In order to keep my shopping on track and stay on budget with my list, I reorganize my list to follow my way around the grocery store. Depending on what store I am going to depends on what section I start in. Shoprite (my go to grocery store) starts at the produce than bakery then meat, deli, dairy, frozen and so on. Walmart starts on the opposite side of grocery so once I get through the rest of the store, I start with household then dairy, meat, pantry, frozen etc.
    • Organizing my list by section has been super helpful in staying on track. Don’t get me wrong, I have still impulse shopped when I see a sale I might have missed in the flyer like the popcorn that was on clearance plus I had a coupon for so I got the box for $.70!
    • I prefer starting in the produce and meat sections because those are items that go by weight and if I need to skim my budget then I would rather take a pantry item off my list then a core item.
    • I organize my coupons by section as well so that I can easily pull them out and check the details of what I need to purchase for them.
    • I always have my binder and coupon binder with me in case they are out of something I need then I can get a rain check or chose something else and see if a coupon will work.
  • I always calculate what I am spending as I shop so that I am staying on track because with the weighed products, you can easily get off track. My most recent trip, I had calculated that I was going to spend $46 but when I got down checking out my total was only $38 because some items were a lower price then I had calculated. You can’t beat spending less than what you calculate and walking out with more money in my pocket!

**My weekly trip takeaway: Total Spent $38.56

Big Savings: Razors $0, Chobani $0, Gogurt $0, 2 boxes of cereal $3.50, coffee $4, diapers $4, blueberries $1, hummus $1, eggs $1.70, 2 boxes of waffles $2, sausage $1, 2 packs of wipes $1, Ghiradhelli brownie mix $1.50, vegetable oil $3, popcorn $.70 and alot more savings. Total savings $65!

Photo Feb 03, 6 11 56 PM
Spent $38 Saved $65!
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Turning Your Hobby into Vacation Savings #savingsunday

Photo Dec 03, 9 37 51 AM

Many of us have hobbies that we don’t even realize are hobbies. I an artist that loves to create to which I made my hobby of crocheting and sewing into a part-time business. Some people love to make woodwork items. Some people love to draw or paint. Some people love to write (another hobby that I love and why I started this blog). Some people love numbers and balancing them. There are so many different hobbies that people might not recognize in themselves.

These hobbies can make you a little extra cash for that family vacation that you are saving for. For example with a creative hobby, you can sell some of your creations. With a writing hobby, you can start a blog and make some extra money by advertising or doing sponsored posts for companies. For a numbers lover, you can offer your services to others like balancing their finances or helping others create a household budget. You can’t believe the ways you can make money by helping others.

When selling your creations, you can share those creations on your social media for friends and family to see and purchase. Also, you can use my post from last week and list your creations for sale on different local groups where you can meet up with the person to sell your creation in person. There are handmade websites like Etsy or Artfire to sell your creations but you will need to ship the items so you will have to determine your shipping prices. Last, you can look for local craft and vendor shows that have people come to you to sell your creations. These are all great and easy ways to make some extra money off of your hobby!

Update on our Vacation Savings: We didn’t do much shopping this week but a lot of selling. Shopping savings was only $25 because we really didn’t need to buy anything besides dog food which at petco we saved $15 between a coupon and our petco rewards. Plus, I had a few coupons that I used to get the few things we needed. As for the apps, nothing this week. Next week, Christmas shopping will get underway so this will hopefully change. As for selling, it was a big week on the yard sale groups for me. Most of what I sold was Danyella’s old clothes now that I have more of them organized to list. This brought in an extra $60 for the vacation savings and $60 for Christmas spending. Lastly, I sold more of my handmade creations and brought in an extra $30 for vacation and $30 for Christmas. Total for vacation savings for this week: $130 and overall $389! We are still off track for what we need to hit for goals but we are getting there. I can’t complain considering I am on bed rest with my pregnancy and getting this all worked out!

keep going


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Yard Sale Groups to Save for Your Vacation #savingsunday


Week 3 of our ways to save for Family Vacation Savings is about utilizing the online yard sale groups, sites and apps. These groups and sites are a great way to clean out your house of items you don’t use while making extra cash in the process!

My go to when selling off unused stuff in my house is my local Facebook groups because I can meet people when and where it is convenient for my schedule. Facebook has made it easier to upload through their Marketplace. Since Facebook has created the Marketplace, you can upload an item to sell through there and then have it inserted into groups that you are part of, up to 10 groups. In the past, I would have to upload the item to one group and then copy/paste to each of the other groups. It was time-consuming to say the least!

My only complaint about the Facebook Marketplace is that people do not read the description to see that I will only meet people a specific locations and I will not ship the item. At least 2-3 times a week, people will message me asking me to ship the item to me but I don’t have the time to go to the Post Office at the holidays to ship a $5 item.

My most popular items that sell the fastest are kids clothes, accessories and toys. With the price of buying something new so inflated, especially kids and home items, more and more people are buying them used. On average, I bring in an extra $500 a month by selling off items I no longer need or items that people will give me that I don’t need but can use to make the extra money. Some months are a little slower with bringing a few hundred dollars but in August and November/December I can bring in $1000 because people are looking for back to school items and then items that they can re-gift for someone especially when they are still new and I just let the item sit there.

There are other ways to sell your unwanted stuff online like Craigslist and Ebay. I have used both in the past but honestly Craigslist kinda scares me. Ebay has become a long process and has moved into another world from where it started that is focused on reselling new items for more money.

Then you have the apps, which there are plenty, that you can list items for sale. Similar to the Facebook Marketplace, you list your items and then choose when and where to meet someone for the sale. With these apps, I have had the same dealings with people wanting me to ship a $5 item. My other experience has been people who set up meets and then cancel at the last-minute. Very rarely do I deal with that on Facebook. You can check out the apps I can used: Letgo, OfferUp, 5miles and Listia. There are a ton of apps for different phones but those are the most popular.

How many of you have used yard sale groups, sites and apps to save some money?


Our weekly update: Having Thanksgiving and a ton of doctors appointments this week, the week was kind of a bust with trying to save any money. I did some essentials grocery shopping (milk, bread, etc) and save $15. The apps helped me save an extra $12 (free eggs and free bananas coupons for Walmart from to put into my savings apps accounts. We did a little Black Friday shopping but that goes into my separate Christmas funds to be able to continue to pick up gifts as the weeks get closer to Christmas. I didn’t have any yard sale meet ups so no money for that section either. I did receive a few more handmade sales which half goes into our vacation fund so that brought in an extra $35. Total for this week: $50 and overall savings: $259. Slowly but surely getting there!


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Using Savings Apps to Save for Vacation #savingsunday

Week 2 of our saving for your family vacation series is about utilizing the savings apps to your vacation’s advantage. I have posted about using the Ibotta app to save for gift cards but this post is going to feature 4 different apps to help you save for your family vacation.

Some of these apps are completely new to me so I am still learning how to use them but they have definitely added to my family vacation fund. The 4 apps are Shopkick, SavingStar, Checkout 51 and Ibotta (of course hehe).

Starting with Shopkick, this app is one that I have had for a while but never really opened it on a consistent basis until recently. With Shopkick, you have earn “kicks” or points by walking into specific stores, for scanning specific products at these stores and for making purchases (this is where you earn the most kicks). This is basically free money for your vacation just for walking around a store that you are already shopping at! Shopkick pays out through gift cards. They have many different cards to choose from but what will be most beneficial for our family is redeeming for Walmart gift cards and then using the Walmart gift cards to purchase Disney gift cards which can be used all over Disney World or redeemed to go towards our balance for the trip. You can do the same thing for your own vacation for restaurants or stores you may visit on your vacation. The only thing you cannot use a Walmart gift card to purchase is a the prepaid debit cards. Use code SAVE627743 or download

The next savings app I have started using is SavingStar. This app is handy if you shop at stores that have loyalty cards because you can upload the rebates to card so they will automatically show up in your SavingStar account after you purchase the item and scan your card. For stores like Target and Walmart, you can scan your receipts for the rebates. Once you hit $5 in rebates, you can transfer your savings into a bank account, PayPal account or onto various gift cards.

The third app that I use is Checkout 51. Similar to SavingStar, you can upload rebates to a loyalty card or receipts for other stores. What I like about this app is that not all rebates are brand specific so just buying veggies or meat can save you money. Once you hit $20 then you can request a cash out which means they will send you a check. Be sure to allow enough time to cash out and deposit into your account for your vacation.

Last on the list is my favorite Ibotta! If you read my previous post about Ibotta, I detail how to use them and how great they are. With the holidays approaching they are offering even more stores both online and in person plus bonuses. Do you know how much you can save with Ibotta? So much money in rebates which can be cashed out to your PayPal or venemo account or redeemed for gift cards. This is always my go to app for rebates because I get the biggest payout. Use my referral code, hytctkm, and you can get a $10 welcome bonus. Sign up at

Our weekly update: This week I used ShopRite from Home to use the $10 off code to pay for the service fee and have less headache trying to walk around the store in my current condition. My budget was $175 which with my paper coupons and digital coupons plus some bonus purchase saving bonuses, I brought our bill down to $130! That is $45 for our vacation fund. Plus another $50 in rebates between all my apps (I am waiting to redeem them until it is closer to time I will use them). I had a few FB yard sale group sales so half of the money was $20. Lastly, I had a couple of handmade orders so half of that money totaled $40. Total for the week is $155! Adding that to last week’s savings and we are at $209 so far which is pretty good considering I had a rough week with my pregnancy and school.

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Saving Your Cash for Vacation Part One of Four #savingsunday

Saving Money for

After many Sundays talking about how to plan your budget for your family vacation, I am going to spend the next 4 Sundays talking about how to squeeze out that extra money for your family vacation. Today, we are going to start with how to use cash instead of debit or credit cards to pay for your in-person purchases and collect the change to save for your vacation fund.

Trust me, I know that convenience of using a card to pay for everything at a store BUT having worked retail for many years, I have dealt with the times that card machines are down. Being on the other side of the counter and explaining that we can only accept cash can lead to many upset customers. This has taught me to keep cash on me and not rely on my cards.

Part of revamping my financial budget was learning to pay with cash because it can be so easy to go over my budget limit. Before I go into a store, I have my list in hand (which I am human and don’t always stick to that list) and my cash that has been alloted for that trip. If I can’t afford to pay for it with that cash in hand then I don’t buy it on that trip.

This is where the saving for your vacation tip comes into play! Whenever you pay with the alloted cash you have budgeted, take the change you didn’t spend and place it in your vacation jar. This has been how I have saved so much money because I have learned to use coupons and find sales to use to my advantage so when I allot $40 for a trip to Walmart for basic essentials and come away with a savings of $10 that goes right into our jar.

We have incorporated this savings skill learning process into Danyella’s schooling as well. Now she will equip herself with a calculator and our budget to see how much more we can save and how much more we can put into the vacation jar. Even if you start doing this with small things like your morning coffee. Say your coffee costs you $3.50 (I am a latte person in the morning) and you have a $5 bill to pay for it. For 5 days you will save $7.50 towards your vacation. Even small savings do add up!


Update on our Family Vacation Jar Week 1:

Since I was extremely sick this week after getting the flu and tdap shots, I was not very active in making/saving/budgeting money. In our cash jar, we have saved $44.76 which is from the system above. Plus, in rebates we earned $9.78 from the apps that I use (more on this on my next savings blog post next Sunday). Unfortunately my other 2 plans needed me to be able to function and that didn’t happen so we fell short of our weekly goal but this is a fresh week and fresh start. Goal: $163 Actual Savings: $54.54

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Small Vacation Budget Goals

Supermom Says

Now that you have your vacation destination set and your budget laid out, it is time to set your budget goals. The ultimate goal is to raise the money you need for the trip and spending money but breaking this big goal into small ones are what make each step feel like a great accomplishment. I love the feeling of setting a goal, whether it is a goal for a day, a week or a month, and achieving those goals. Time to put those goals into manageable ones for your family vacation! Do you have your Family Vacation Notebook ready?

For our family vacation to Disney World, we are first saving for the deposit and airfare which is only an approximate because the airfare rate can change. Then, we have to save for the balance of the trip. Lastly, there is the most important savings…. Spending Money!

I prefer to break these larger goals down to months and then down to weeks. This makes the big goals feel so much more achievable when you see them in small amounts. So what are your goals?

Starting with our deposit which is $1300 and due on January 1st. The balance will be $7130 which I don’t find out when that is due until I pay the deposit. That part is a little frustrating because it should be broken down on the payment options page. I am going to figure that the balance will be due in March so I am breaking that down for a 3 month goal. After that we will save for our spending money which everyone knows is alot when it comes to Disney spending.

As much as I wanted to begin my savings for our family vacation in October, life and unexpected bills and car repairs proved otherwise. So we are starting our savings in November. Breaking down our deposit over the next 8 weeks, we need to save $650 per month or $163 a week. That can seem like a lot since that is nearly our rent payment a month but it is achievable with my money-saving system that I have been implementing and strategizing. (I will go over these next Sunday!)

Danyella is already enjoying participating in placing our vacation savings into the savings jar which is starting to get some money in there. Along with the Savings Blog on Sundays, I will be updating how our goals are going every Friday on my Facebook Page: Kaella Boutique so that everyone can see how my strategizing and savings are going. Feel free to like our Facebook Page so you can follow along and share your own vacation savings stories!


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Vacation Savings Jar DIY #savingsunday

savings jar

This week we are getting hands on with our savings by making a savings jar! The kids love this part because we hit Michaels and the Dollar Store for fun stickers and a jar. I like to pick out a jar with the chalkboard stickers because we can write where we are going and a countdown on the sticker.

The kids love to decorate with the stickers and talk about how we can save money for the cool trip. They can come up with some awesome ideas on how they can help us save money. Usually it consists of giving up a favorite food they like to eat so it is one less thing to purchase in the grocery order or giving up toys or other things to sell on the yard sale groups. I love hearing them get into all of this and it gives them satisfaction to be a participant in the vacation planning and saving instead of the adults telling them what we are doing and how we are saving for it.

Our jar is Disney themed but you can find cool beach, camping and other destination stickers and you can reuse the jar by taking the stickers off using Goo-Gone or soap and hot water which saves for the next trip. Even if you are using this for your spending money on the trip, it teaches the kids how to save and have fun doing it.

What are you going to put on your Vacation Savings Jar?


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Setting and Keeping Your Vacation Budget

Setting A Budget

We are on to Step 2 which is the most important step…. Setting your family vacation budget! Now that you have set your where and when, we get to look at how much this whole trip is going to cost. I am using our budget for Disney World to walk you through my thought process for budget setting.

Our plan for our Disney World  trip is set for July 1-July 7, 2018. Being an animal lover, we want to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge so that is our resort of choice. In the past, I have stayed at the Polynesian on the  concierge level which was a great benefit because they have a buffet of food and snacks all day long plus we had a better view from our room. Personally, it was worth the extra money. At Animal Kingdom Lodge, concierge level gives you the view of the Savannah with the animals which would put Danyella on cloud nine. This put us at $5525 for the week-long stay with access to food all day.

I did toy with the option of staying at the Polynesian again because of the access to the monorail which makes traveling between parks a lot easier with a baby.  At the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we will be utilizing the busses to get around. (Thank goodness for strollers and baby carriers!)

The next thing I added to our package was upgrading our Park Tickets to the Park Hopper with the water park option. It added more money to our overall cost but it is worth it because we will be going to different parks through the day so we have time to bring the baby back for naps and breaks. This put us at $5812 to add the Park Hopper option.

Something that was suggested to me from a yearly Disney World traveler, was to get the Memory Maker package because they will take better pictures then we will take. Her pictures proved it! So we added the $169 Memory Maker to the package which put us at $5981.

When I was at Disney, 15 years ago, there was no Dining Add-On Option for our vacation package so I consulted others that have been there and they all say that the Dining Plan was a must especially when you want to do the character meals. I got lots of tips on how to use this plan to get the best benefit out of it. Now add $1359 to our package price to make it $7340.

Onto our travel plans…. With an infant we are flying a direct flight from Philly to Orlando and using the free transport that Disney offers from the airport to the resort. This added $934 to our package. Plus I opted for the $155 travelers insurance just to be on the safe side. This put our Package total at $8429! Holy Cow!!

One of the nice thing about booking your trip through Disney, you can start with a deposit instead of paying for the whole trip up front. The deposit price includes the flights so that they are booked immediately. Our deposit for the trip is $1288 which is due immediately in order to book the trip and the balance is due on January 1st, 2018

For us, this will be our starting off point because we don’t have the $1288 just laying around the house but we will be finding ways to save this money. Yes, this will change our flights and possibly our price but we are not ones to use credit cards to charge things for entertainment purposes. Overall, with spending money our budget for this trip will end up being $10,000! Wowzers but this includes our travel, lodging and food which is the bulk of any trip. The rest will be just what we want to buy or spend money on!

Now it is your turn to get the budget in place for the major expenses: travel, lodging and food. If you destination doesn’t offer a package like Disney then you will need to make the package yourself. There are a ton of apps that can help if you choose to travel by car that will help with gas mileage and prices so you can add this to your budget. Then you can look and compare prices for the lodging to add that to your budget. The last big cost to include is your food. If you are renting a house in your destination, you can bring your own food and save a ton of money! There are so many ways to save on food if you look at what restaurants are in the area of your trip.

I hope this breakdown helps in your budget setting! Next week we will look into the savings jar and breaking your budget down to small goals. disney

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5 Steps to Save for A Family Vacation

5 Steps to Save for a Family Vacation

One thing that I haven’t gotten to do but have wanted to do for so long is take Danyella on a family vacation. We have done fun day trips or trips where we went away for a couple of days but never an actual vacation. At 10 years old, she has been dying to go away and learn more about the world and see other places. Top of both of our list is…. Disney World!

Yes I know so cliché to want to go to Disney World but as an artist and artist in the making, Disney World is filled with so much art and entertainment and just fun that why would a kid of any age want to go. I have been there once and that was 14 years ago when both the older kids were just little ones. It was fun but in that time there has been so many changes to Disney World that it is time to go back. So now it is time to find the money to go down….

We are a credit card free family which means we save our cash for our bills and entertainment. If you are looking for ways to save for your Family Vacation without running to your credit card then this is where these tips will help us save for Disney World and you save for your family Vacation!

  1. Pick your Family Vacation and Dates! This is the most exciting part, besides going on the actual vacation, is picking where and when you want to go on vacation. Get your family involved in the process to see where everyone would like to go and make sure you have your calendar ready to see what dates you need to black out. I know in my family we have the dance recital the same week every June so that is a black out for us. Then there is arranging around when school starts and ends and other life events. Once you pick your destination and dates mark them down on your calender.   Orange Circle Studio 2018 Do It All Magnetic Wall Calendar, Aug. 2017 – Dec. 2018, Mom’s Do It All
  2. Set a Budget! This is the research phase of your trip planning. You will need to find out how much your trip is going to cost and how much you need to budget for the lodgings, transportation, food and spending money. Some places (like Disney) will offer packages that include the hotel, transportation (flights), and food. It is best to get this down on paper so you can see what you need and want to spend your money on. Another thing is to find out if the package or lodging wants a deposit or pay full at the time of your booking. Home Budget Workbook                                                                                                               
  3. Start a Savings Jar! This is something that I started for my girls Las Vegas trip about 6 months before our trip for my spending money. As a waitress, I lived off of my tips so I always had cash on me but I didn’t want to have to go to the bank every time I wanted to deposit the money for the trip. I am a visual person so I created a jar, got fun Las Vegas scrapbook stickers and decorated away. Everyday that I worked, I would take the couple of ones that I had left over and stuffed them into the jar. By the time I left for Las Vegas I had saved over $1000 and watching the jar fill up was making the countdown to the trip just as fun as the trip itself.My Las Vegas Trip Jar
  4. Break Down your Budget to Small Goals! How much do you want to save each month or week? Do you need to save for the deposit first? This is where a great notebook dedicated to your family vacation will help with setting and keeping your goals. Keep an eye on those goals so you know when you need to pay for specific things and where you need to increase your savings.Mead Spiral Notebook, 1 Subject, 70 College Ruled Sheets, Assorted Colors, 6 PACK (73065)                                                                                                     
  5. Find Small ways to Save Money! This is going to be the most important part of your saving for you trip is where you can save the money to go on vacation. I plan on highlighting different ways to find the extra money the rest of Sundays in October but here is just a few to think about… Grocery Shopping savings: Set your budget then when you use your coupons, take the left over money from your shopping and place it in your savings jar! Cut out your Dunkin or Starbucks coffee for a month and place that money in your savings jar! Use the savings apps to purchase gift cards or deposit in your Paypal account so you use it towards your trip!

I hope this encourages you to start your family vacation planning today! I will be highlighting ways to save for your trip every Sunday in October so keep an eye out. What ways have you and your family saved for your family vacation? 

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