I have compiled several trivia questions and answers about the different Disney Theme Parks around the world. For a printable copy of these questions click here. Before Walt Disney World got its name, what was it referred to as? The Florida Project What date did […]
Everything tastes better in Mickey form, right? Say hello to the yummiest, easiest Mickey pretzel recipe out there. These taste so delicious and they’ll make you feel like you’re at Disneyland sitting on Mainstreet, USA. Ingredients To Make Mickey Shaped Pretzels 1 ½ c lukewarm […]
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.
This blog post is sponsored by Cuties! I will be honest Disneyland has some of the most delicious snacks. They have churros, ice cream, pretzels, turkey legs, corn dogs, popcorn and so much more. However, the fact that most of these Disneyland snacks start at […]
We are Annual Passholders to Disneyland from Utah. Because of this, we are often asked how we plan our trips. The secret really is in the planning ahead. There is nothing better than an impulse trip to Disneyland, but in reality, these trips do take […]
The most common question/request we get is asking for tips for taking tiny babies or toddlers to Disneyland. Hamm’s first trip to Disneyland was in October 2017 when he was a little less than 2 months old. Although he will never remember it, we took a lot of pictures and it is a memory we will never forget. We truly believe that you are never too young or too old to enjoy the magic of Disneyland.
So what all can a baby/toddler do at Disneyland? Are there even any rides they can go on? I think you will be surprised to hear that there is A LOT more they can do than can’t! For a complete list of attractions at Disneyland with no height requirement click here. Below are Beckham’s favorites at each park.
Hamm’s favorites at Disneyland Park
- “it’s a small world”
- Mad Tea Party (The Teacups)
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Winnie the Pooh
- Jungle Cruise
Hamm’s favorites at California Adventure
- Pixar Pal a Round- Non swinging gondolas (Note: The swinging gondolas can be a little too much for little ones)
- Midway Mania (Note: This ride is jerky, so I would recommend waiting till your little one can hold up their own head.)
- Monster’s, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
- The Little Mermaid~Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
- Golden Zephyr (Note: Children must sit up on their own on this ride, no lap sitting)
As you can see there are a lot of fun things that the little ones can do. If you are still a little nervous here are a few quick tips for you.
Take it easy/take breaks and naps
If you have been to Disneyland before kids just be prepared because it is a lot different with a little one. Before Beckham, Rachel and I would be at the parks from rope drop until the parks closed. Now with Beckham, we have to incorporate nap times and the fact that sometimes we can’t do a full park day. I highly recommend bringing a stroller that reclines so they can nap in it. Some of our favorite places to hang at California Adventure while Hamm naps in his stroller are on Pixar Pier looking over the water and also along the trail to Grizzly River Run where it’s much quieter. At Disneyland we love grabbing a bench on Main Street. For a quieter spot we love relaxing over by Winnie the Pooh.
If your little one will not sleep in a stroller, I recommend staying at a nearby hotel so you can take them back for naps easily. One of our favorites is the Howard Johnson which is literally right across the street. For more great deals we always book our Disneyland vacations through GetAwayToday(Affiliate Link). You can use that link or use code “TOYSTORYDAD” for an additional discount. While you baby is napping it’s the perfect time to get some food or take turns riding the big kid rides using the single rider lines. Another great way to take breaks and cool off is to catch a show.
Take advantage of Rider Switch Pass and Single Rider
As fun as the little kid rides are Rachel and I can’t go to Disneyland without getting a few thrill rides in. Rachel and I are lucky that Hamm’s grandma comes to Disneyland with us a lot and she is not a fan of the thrill rides. This allows us to go on rides while she watches the Hamm. Another option I recommend is going with another family with small children so you can take turns watching the kids and riding the rides with your spouse. I know these ideas aren’t an option for everyone which is why I recommend taking advantage of rider switch pass and single rider lines.
The baby care centers are awesome
Disneyland and California Adventure both have amazing baby care centers. These are the perfect place to take care of diaper changes, outfit changes, feeding the baby, or if you just need a peaceful place to relax. The baby care centers are stocked with all of the supplies you could possibly need for your little one: diapers, wipes, food, formula, etc. So if you forget something, have no fear, you can get what you need at the baby care center at a reasonable price. The baby care center at Disneyland park is located at the North east end of main street by the photo print store. At California Adventure Park it is located right next to the Ghiradelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop.
Dad’s change the diapers
I apologize to all the fellow dads out there but having the guys change the diapers saves time. The ladies room in general is more crowded and more likely to have a line at the changing table. The chance there will be a line in the men’s room at the changing station is slim to none.
Bring or buy a bubble blower
Kids LOVE bubbles so having a bubble blower while waiting in line will make you a hero not only to your own kid but to all the other kids in line. The park sells all sorts of bubble blowers, however if you would like to save a significant amount of money you can find a great selection at Walmart, Target, Amazon or even Dollar Tree. Kids also LOVE all the fun light up toys offered at the parks. We try to pick up a few glow sticks and other light up toys at the dollar store to save money.
Bring snacks, lots of snacks
If your child is anything like Beckham, food is life! Yes, you can and SHOULD get some of the yummy Disney treats, but snacks like goldfish, pretzels, and applesauce pouches are A LOT cheaper outside of the park. Snacks save the day a lot when we are waiting in line. Don’t forget to keep yourself and your kiddos hydrated. Any stand that sells fountain drinks will give you a glass of ice water FOR FREE.
I always thought going to the parks with just Rach and I was so much fun, but really there’s nothing better than seeing Beckham enjoy the magic of Disneyland. These tips help us to have a smooth and great Disney day. I’d love to hear your favorite tips in the comments below.
If you are looking for a list of attractions at Disneyland with no height requirement, you are in the right place. If you are looking for tips on taking a baby or toddler or Disney check out this post. Disneyland Baby Friendly Attractions Winnie the […]