Kim. Kim told me she'd like to see a post about budgeting money because as a college student, she needs help with it. And really anyone can use tips about allocating money, so here goes nothing!
When you are planning a Disney vacation, you really have five main expenses: transportation, lodging, tickets, food, and other things you'd like to buy on your trip (henceforth known as souvenirs). Which of these will cost the most is entirely dependent on your individual trip. Flying in from another country? Expensive airfare. Staying at the Grand Floridian during Christmas? Expensive lodging. And so on and so forth. The time of year will have a lot to do with your expenses, so keep that in mind. A trip the last week in January will be much less expensive than a trip the last week in December.
The first step in allocating money for a trip is to figure out certain things ahead of time. These include when you want to go, where you want to stay, and how many days. Then you can price your transportation, lodging, and tickets. These things can be planned and allocated for in advance, and they are easy to allocate for because you know exactly how much you'll be spending.
Your actual spending money in the parks is different. To allocate for food, you'll have to do a little research. If you have ADRs, you can figure out approximately how much you'll spend by looking at the prices of the different menu items on allears.net. For quick service, you can probably guesstimate similar prices everywhere. Also make sure you leave some money for the occasional snack or drink when the moment strikes you. Even if you're on the Disney Dining Plan, you'll have to allocate some money for tips. And you never know when you might want an extra meal that you don't have the credits for. For souvenirs, it can be tough. The best way to go about this is usually to set a certain amount of spending money, either per day or for the whole trip, and try not to go over this amount with souvenirs. Yes, that means you can't buy every Disney Dooney in the store, unfortunately. But there's always the next trip!
Finally, always allocate a little extra money for both the random little things you might have forgotten about or something that might come up unexpectedly. For example, don't forget you'll need to bring extra money for tipping Mousekeeping and the people that bring your bags from Disney's Magical Express. Also, you never know when there is a fantastic sale that you just have to have, or an emergency where you need to buy something you hadn't packed, like Bandaids or medicine.
Overall, it's better to be a little liberal with the amount of money you are allocating for each area, even if it means cutting down in other areas. You never know when something unexpected happens and you need some money. So Kim, did I properly answer your question?
How do you allocate your money on a Disney trip? Do you leave a little extra to splurge on merchandise or snacks? Do you spend the majority of your budget on one thing? Let me know in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook! And remember, I only need 47 more Twitter followers to give away something straight from Walt Disney World!