Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Going on the Disney Diet: Budgeting!

photo credit
Okay, so when I say the "Disney Diet," I don't mean cutting calories or only eating Mickey shaped foods or living on Dole Whips or anything that exciting. I mean that I am looking at my budget for the Disney CP, and well...I am going to have to scrimp a little more than expected. Skip ahead if you want to read the quick list of some of the strategies I'll be using...

I am already a really frugal person by nature, but I had planned to work a lot more this summer before leaving for Florida, so that I had a little more money to rely on when I moved to Disney. Well, some things fell through/happened, and I didn't work as much or save as much as I had hoped. I've still been working and making money, but a good chunk of that is going into my new "Emergency Fund." I just wanted to put some money aside in case my program ends, I don't have a job right away, and I need money for an apartment while I job hunt.  It's an emergency fund which I don't plan on needing, but I am extremely pragmatic, so why not?

This would be a staple on the "Disney Diet," but not mine... photo credit

Okay, so why do I call this a "diet" if it's all about my cashflow? Well, my mom suggested that I budget $30 for groceries a week, which means I can only buy the very essentials and I have to bargain hunt if I really want to eat well. (She was inspired by this article.) If I can't afford it, I can't buy it. This will cut down on my chocolate impulse buys.

Of course this isn't going to be as difficult as I'm making this sound. My mom and dad are coming down with me and they will buy me food for the first week. The only thing I'm not sure about is baking. Do I skip it for 4 months or go ahead and buy those pantry items? Well, I'll figure it out.

Financial Tips For Disney CP
  • Budget everything! I am using mint.com, which makes it really easy to do, but I also LOVE excel spreadsheets. If you want to see a sample CP Budget, I'll post one for you on here. Again I LOVE spreadsheets. (I know. What a dork!)
  • Be honest about your spending. You will be buying Disney gifts for family and yourself. You might be going out to House of Blues...a few times... Go ahead and account for it.
  • Bring money with you. You will not get paid until 2 weeks into the program. You will get hungry before then.
  • Pack lunches for work. Paying for lunch every day will add up quickly, so do yourself a favor and save that money for going out with friends instead.
  • Shop at the Dollar Tree? There is a Dollar Tree walking distance from Vista Way. They have a refrigerated/freezer section, and I read that someone found frozen fruit for $1. Exciting, yes? I plan on checking it out. I don't know how good it is, so I'll have to report back after I've seen it. But I could definitely see myself buying cleaning supplies and some toiletries there.
  • Optional: Get a credit card, but if and ONLY IF: 
    • If you're responsible and will always pay at least the minimum.
    • You're ready to start building your credit
    • You think you might want to book hotel rooms for family and friends with your discount. You need a credit card to book a room.
Current Disney CP/Alumni/Naturally Frugal People! I would love to get your advice on tight Disney budgets. Please share some of your tips!

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