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How I’m Saving for Disney on $20 a Day

HOW I'M SAVING FOR DISNEY ON $20-DAYThere comes a time in every parents life where your kids realize that Disney just isn’t movies. (Sigh..) They realize it’s the most magical place on earth.


Usually, that realization comes when someone else in your kids class goes to Disney first and comes back and talks about it for months. 😉

…. and they want to go too…today.





Honestly, I have been waiting to take my kids to Disney since they were born. I loved when my parents took me there and I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to take my family.


As the family Chief Financial Officer, I am left with figuring out how to make their magical kingdom dreams come true.



It’s All About The Kids

Ahh The kids…


It’s hard to believe this,  but they aren’t always going to see us as the cool and hip people that we are today.


Dare I say it?


They may even get tired of us! 😉


This has us thinking that we should really get in some great family trips, while the getting is good.


While I would love to push for financial freedom as quickly as possible. The reality, is that I only have a small window where my kids are old enough to appreciate travelling and young enough to want to spend time with us.

Right now we are in the sweet spot, and we plan on taking full advantage of it!

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(Almost) Time for the Trip of a Lifetime


From talking to others it looks like our kids are the perfect age to go, so we are setting our sights on it next year. Our jobs only allow us to go at certain times of the year so we are looking end of August or September of next year. We originally wanted to go this summer but it’s not enough time. So we are pushing it back a year. This is great news.

Why so Great??

There is a ton of lead time.


Disney is a big trip. For us it will most likely be a “Once in a Lifetime” family trip, so we will want to make sure we hit everything and do as much as possible when we get there.


Talking to a few other people, I should be budgeting $10,000 for the trip


(insert jaw dropping here)


Disney is Expensiiiiiiiive.


Now as a dad, I want to give my kids this magical trip. As the family financial guy dreaming of being financially free, that’s a lot of little dollar soldiers going out the door and never coming back.


These are the times where I lock my Accountant and Rockstar in the same room and make them figure out how we are doing this.


When they finally hashed it out a plan started to form.

Here’s my Super Ultimate 2-Step Guide To Saving For Disney

First Thing I Did – Step 1


Grabbed my iPhone and asked Siri “How Many Days Until September 2017”

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Siri : 500 days




$10,000/500 = $20


That’s $20 a day I need to save. That’s cheap… sorta, kinda…


It’s cheap enough that putting that much away every day won’t be too hard, but it is a lot of money.

The Second (and also Last) Thing I Did.


So I pulled up my banking  app on my iPhone and set a daily transfer of $20 for the next 500 days.


Boom! Done.


That was it.


No spreadsheets.


No budgeting.


No needless debating or scheming how I was going to make this happen.


Just 2 simple actions. How much a day, and make it automatic with my bank to a separate account.

If It Ain’t Automatic, It Ain’t Happening

One thing I’ve learned from managing my own money for 20 years (I can’t believe it’s been that long). Is that if you don’t make saving automatic, it’s not happening.


The other thing, is that once it’s automatically going into a different account you can forget about it.


This is, by far and away, the best thing you can do when you are saving up for something.

Set it and forget it.

[tweetthis]If you dont make saving automatic, its not happening.[/tweetthis]

Here’s the Takeaway


So here’s the take away from this. When we first looked at Disney it was to go this summer, that’s not enough time to start saving.


Since you know I’m against taking on any new debt, Disney isn’t in the cards this year.


Sorry Mickey.

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But when we push it out a year and it’s much more do-able.

What’s $20 a day?

It’s morning coffee and lunch.

It’s taking the bus or ride-sharing

It’s selling something everyday on Craigslist or Kijiji

It’s doable, if you make it a priority.

Now that it’s started, Disney is a reality.


Just don’t tell the kids, it’s going to be a surprise.


What big thing could you start saving up for if you were planning ahead? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Reply

    Good for you, Andrew! I think this Disney trip represents a compromise between your Rockstar and Accountant personas.

    Automation is the key to financial successes in so many instances because it removes the work and emotion from the equation, in my opinion. I sense that you might not be taking this trip if you had to manually transfer your dollar soldiers on a weekly or monthly basis, as they’d possibly end-up in investments instead.

  2. Reply

    You’re a great dad! And that’s a super good way to save. Might have to steal this idea for any upcoming trips!

  3. Reply

    My kids (13 and 15) no longer think I’m hip and cool…too bad. But we are going to Disney for the first time this summer. We are travel hacking to get the trip super cheap, but I absolutely looove your idea of automating the savings and breaking it up into daily chunks. I will definitely be using this technique. Thanks!

  4. Reply

    Awe, thanks Andrew! We used Chase Sapphire points (transferred to SW airlines) for airline tickets and American Express SPG for hotels. We had to work on building those points over a year – planning ahead has been the key. Thanks for asking!

  5. Reply

    It totally helps that you’ve got a lot of time between now and then. Disney is SUPER expensive, but I think it’s great that you’re not letting that stop you from letting your kids experience it! $20/day is totally doable, especially when it’s automatic the way you’ve got it set up. Awesome job!

    • Reply

      Thanks Lisa. I appreciate that! The lead time totally helps. If we were going to do it this year, which we wanted to, it would have meant using a line of credit. Stretch it out a year and it’s much more doable. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

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