Wide Open Wallet

An honest look at family finances

Archive for January 6th, 2009

I started my new job

Remember a few weeks ago I got a babysitting job?  Well today was my first day.  It went really well.  I was kinda nervous because he has a lot of energy and a wild look in his eye, if you know what I’m sayin’.  Who knows what kind of trouble this boy could cause!

He had come over to play once during Christmas break and I tried to be the no-nonsense disciplinarian right from the get go.  You know, lay down the law early so he doesn’t get any ideas.  I figured it is a lot easier to lighten up then to try to lay down rules after they have walked all over you.

Anyways, when he got here both of my kids were still sleeping so he had to be kinda quiet.  I got him some of my daughters books and he read quietly.  Then when my daughter got up he helped her do her morning chores (yeah, I’m mean like that) which was so sweet.  Then he read a story to her while she ate her breakfast.  Awww.

It all went farily smooth and easy so I’m going to take a huge leap and say that I think this is going to work out.

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  • Disneyland… here we come!

    Remember a few months ago I was having a really hard time deciding when to take our Disneyland trip?  Well, we decided on January and that means it’s coming up real soon!  So we are getting down and dirty about planning the details.

    We have about $1,450 in our vacation budget and it breaks down into 4 basic categories, tickets, gas, hotel, and food.

    Tickets: Costco is having a deal where if you buy a season pass through them you get a $50 gift card to use in the park.  So we took advantage of that.  We are planning to go next December so we will be able to get two trips on the year pass, which will save us money in the long run.  And the $50 gift cards are just icing on the cake.

    Normally we would spend $507 for tickets to the park.  Year passes cost us $821 plus we get $150 in gift cards.  Which brings our over all cost down to $671 for a long term savings of $343.  (This is for two adults and one child.  We don’t have to buy my son a ticket yet since he is only two.)

    Gas: Hello gas prices!  When we were planning this trip gas was like $3 something a gallon.  So I’m thrilled with today’s gas prices.  We are expecting to spend about $100 on gas.

    Hotels:  We got pretty close to what we were planning on for hotels.  We were thinking $50 a night and we got them for $55 on Priceline.  (not counting all their dumb fees)

    Here’s the thing… our son is the world’s lightest sleeper.  He needs things just right if he is ever going to fall and stay asleep.  And any parent knows… a tired child can turn your world upside down.  So when we travel it means the whole family has to go to bed when the two year old does.  Honestly, my husband and I have had enough of laying in a dark room and whispering from 7:30 on.  It’s really not fun at all.  On our Grand Canyon trip we vowed to start getting two room suites when we travel.  I’m not expecting to be able to watch TV after bedtime but I would like to be able to maybe sit in a chair with the lights on.

    Ok, that said we can upgrade our room to a two room suite for about $60 a night.  I haven’t called to see if we can get a deal, this is just what I’ve determined from their website.  But $60 a night will put a huge cramp in our budget.   After we pay for tickets, gas, and our current price on hotel rooms we have about $680 left in our vacation fund, including the $150 in gift cards.  If we shell out another $240 for hotel costs that leaves us $440 for food.  Which brings us to…

    Food:  We have to feed 4 people for 5 days.  It actually breaks down to 4 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 4 dinners (52 meals in all…wow).  While $440 should be enough to do it, it is also every last dollar.  And I’m not naive enough to think that A) I’ve thought of every cost B) I’m going to take two kids to Disneyland and not buy them one single thing and C) nothing will go wrong.

    We have been talking about what food we can bring with us to try to keep our eating costs down.  We usually have breakfast in the hotel room.  I bring muffins and we chow down before we start our day.  It’s as much of a time saving thing as it is a money saving thing.  If we upgrade rooms we will have a fridge so we could potentially bring milk for the kids.  That would cut out all breakfast costs.  We usually get lunch at the park, but we were talking about bringing lunches.  This would save us about $125 or more.  I need ideas for tasty, filling, easy to carry lunches.  Peanut butter and jelly can only be eaten so many days in a row, unless you’re 7.

    But let’s say we eat 4 dinners for $40 each and lunch on the drive home for $25, that is $185.  Round that to $200 and we have a $240 slush fund.  I think that is about perfect.  AND it includes getting the upgraded room!

    So here is your mission if you choose to accept it:  Comment with some ideas for good lunches to bring to the park.  Also, do you think I could get a deal on the more expensive room if I wait until we arrive to ask for an upgrade?  Is it worth the risk?

    Pic by: Idcross

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  • Filed under: Budget, kids, life

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