How We Budget For Disneyland Using Personal Capital
If you know our family, you know that we LOVE Disneyland and basically all things Disney. Because we live in Utah and go to Disneyland often we are often asked: “How do you afford to go to Disneyland so much?” I will answer that question in more detail throughout this post but to put it simply: We make it a priority and budget accordingly!
What tools do we use to budget?
In our family, I am the main financial nerd(I have a degree in Accounting) and do most of the budget and financial tracking. I seriously love numbers and finance, especially personal finance. My family knows I can spend hours and hours talking about savings, 401ks, IRAs and other nerdy financial things. Although Rachel does not share this same passion, I think it is important that we are all on the same page financially as a family which is why I found and love Personal Capital.
I have been using the tools in Personal Capital for years. I love that the dashboard gives me a 360-degree view of our money. With several incomes, investments and many bank accounts, Personal Capital allows me the ability to see and easily explain our financial status to Rachel. I have tried several different tools over the years and use to use several different websites to manage my finances and budget, but Personal Capital is now my tool of choice because I can do everything in one place. The best part, Personal Capital is FREE to use!
Getting started with Personal Capital
Click Here to create your Personal Capital account and get started today. Once you create your account I highly suggest connecting all of your accounts. Personal Capital makes it super easy and secure to connect all of your accounts. These accounts can include checking, saving, credit cards, any debt such as cars and auto loans and investment/retirement accounts as well as any other assets you have. Once you have all of your accounts linked you will be able to see your net worth which is one of my favorite tools within the Personal Capital dashboard.
Now that everything is connected you will begin to sync up and look at where your money is going. Before we can set budgeting goals it is important to see where our money is going. Under the banking tab, there is a link to budgeting. I usually look at the last year to really get a good idea of my average spending per month. Personal Capital will automatically categorize all of your transactions but you can go in and manually change the categorization on each transaction if desired.
How we set a monthly budget
Looking at all the transactions for the last year I can see all of my expenses. When budgeting, I always like to start with our fixed expenses. Every family will be different but for us this includes:
- Power Bill – We pay the monthly average every month so it is the same throughout the seasons
- Natural Gas Bill – We pay the monthly average every month so it is the same throughout the seasons
- Cell Phone Bill including payments for our iPhones
- Mortgage Payment
- Car Payment
- Streaming Services
- Car Insurance
- Garbage Collection
Now that we have a total for all of our monthly expenses we can look at some of our variable expenses. I like to get an idea of how much I am spending on each of the following somewhat essential categories each month:
- Auto Gasoline
- Baby supplies (Diapers are expensive)
- Misc Supplies (Makeup, cleaning supplies, etc)
I work a full-time job with a fixed salary so I budget off of that fixed income. All of our other investment/business income is extra and is usually just reinvested back into the business or other investments. We, of course, don’t want to budget off our salary, but instead our take-home pay. I max out our 401k and HSA then pay for medical/dental/vision insurance before I receive my paycheck.
Looking at the money coming in every month vs the money going out to these expenses will help us set budgeting goals. Obviously, if we are spending more every month than my take-home pay the first goal should be getting that spending under control so that we can not take on any more debt. Look for categories where you might be spending an unnecessary amount. One area that we are wanting to improve this year is less eating out. Eating out for us costs an average of $20-$30 every time we do. If we ate out one less time per week that could save us $100/week or over $1000 every year.
Setting Budgeting Goals
Do you have financial goals or dreams? Maybe you want to buy a house, a boat or a new car, but for us, our goals usually involve around travel. I work A LOT between my day job and other business ventures. Travel is our escape and time where we focus on being together as a family. Our favorite place to travel is Disneyland. We can usually plan a Disneyland trip for our family for under $1000. For more on how to save money when planning your trip read our Planning Your Disneyland Vacation post.
If our average Disneyland trip is $1000, then if we can hit our goal of eating out just one less time per week, we will save that $1000 we can put towards our Disneyland vacation. It just comes down to setting goals and making priorities. It is YOUR money so at the end of the day YOU can do what YOU want with it. At the end of the day though, money doesn’t grow on trees so you will have to sacrifice spending in some areas to have money saved to use in other areas.
As Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it!” Set your dreams and then take the actions to achieve those dreams.