When your money goes to Wonderland - how to make and keep a budget (sort of)

Must not buy... must not buy...
This will not be your traditional budget talk.  Why?  Well, first of all I'm not a very big budget person myself. I'll make plans to save money for larger purchases, but from month to month I usually just follow a general philosophy of purchasing things I need at the moment and reminding myself that I can buy things I want later.  So how will this post work?  Well, consider this post a bit of a way to coach yourself through grocery shopping, playing in the parks and mall trips without breaking your bank.

The Steps to Happiness

  1. Identify what is most important to you - whether it be food, clothing, services like concerts or shows, your car, etc.  This does not include basics like groceries.  If it's not important to you, don't get pressured into paying for it later.
  2. Figure out how much money you need to live each month.  This includes groceries, toiletries, gas for your car (if you have one) and any bills you may pay.  You'll need to make sure you have this put aside by the time you need to pay each week/month.
  3. If you also want to give part of each paycheck to savings, work that out with your bank right now.  I'm not a banker and am really stupid when it comes to bank-related stuff so I can't help you there.
  4. Make a plan on how often you might go out to eat, go clubbing, take road trips, see shows, go to the mall,etc.  Most of you probably already have bucket lists - identify how much certain things will cost you and save that money.  Don't let it cut into your living expenses, ever.
  5. If you find yourself coming up short each month, look at your spending again and cut back on spending for things that aren't essential.

The Tips of Happiness

I also have some tips for you:
  1.  It takes money to go home, whether you're driving or flying.  Get that money on hand right away, don't wait until the last minute to save it all up.
  2. When going shopping in the Disney stores, always keep that parenting advice for children in mind: if you feel you want something, leave it behind and only come back to get it later on or the next day if you still think about it.  This will keep you from buying things on impulse that you don't need or don't want.
  3. Don't let the cast member discounts lure you into a false sense of security - our discounts are great, especially around the holiday season, but Disney merch is still incredibly expensive at times and you need to stay aware of that.
  4. No one should ever pressure you into buying something you don't want or taking you someplace you don't want to go if it costs too much money.  We are all poor - even those who make good money as CPs can't afford to spend recklessly and no one should ever put you down for being responsible.
  5. Don't go crazy with cooking for your roommates unless they're willing to return the favor - cooking for many people can get more expensive instead of cooking for one, and you shouldn't spend extra just to feed those who won't compensate you whether it be in cash or their own cooking.  Sounds selfish, but you need to make sure you have enough money for yourself first.
  6. If you go down to the program saying "I'm going to save money to take home"... stick to that plan!  A lot of people will pull the "this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" card on you and they're right, there are a lot of things you can do in central Florida that you probably won't get the chance to do again.  However, if you want or need to save for something actually do it.  Consistently.
  7. Don't drink or gamble away your money.  Duh, right?  Well, depending on the context you're in you might not even notice you're doing it - so be careful!
  8. Save for special events!  Fall CPs are in WDW for events like the Food and Wine Festival, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween party and Christmas/New Year's festivities among others.  Spring doesn't get quite as much but if Disney really does make a habit of having an annual 24-hour day there's that.  Some of these events are hard-ticket, meaning that you have to buy a special ticket and CANNOT use your ID or main gate to get in!  And don't even try and sneak in because that's grounds for termination if your manager sees fit or you cause problems.
  9. Utilize the Trading Post on Facebook (the link is on the bar to the right), Cast Connection and the Disney outlet store in the outdoor mall near the Commons for good deals on merch.  But once again, don't go crazy buying things you don't need.  Go in with a game plan.
  10. Pin trading is fun, but pins are pricy.  My roommates usually bought pins in bulk off of eBay and traded them with each other's work lanyards and guests in order to get the collection they wanted.
Most of all, always check up on your bank account.  If you have a bank that isn't easily found in the WDW area use online banking to read up on your statements and ensure that everything adds up.  You don't want to start spending money you don't have.

So that's it for budgeting - for now!  If you have any questions, want more information or want me to discuss something else I'm always willing to take your suggestions on Twitter and on this blog itself.  Have a great day!

No comments:

Post a Comment