Last week our friends Chris and Sarah from Travel Couple Blogger shared a tweet about their experiences of people questioning their choice to holiday at Walt Disney World without children. Quite frankly, I couldn’t relate more. It’s a question we get all the time too. It got me thinking about other things people say when we tell them our next holiday destination and I think the most asked one is how we afford a Walt Disney World holiday.
“How do you pay for it?”
“You must be doing well for yourselves?”
“We wish we could afford to go to Disney two years in a row.”
Just a few of the comments we’ve experienced since we booked our next trip. And I get it. Although our aim was to do this trip ‘on the cheap’ the total spend is still topping £5,000 for two weeks. It’s an expensive holiday and people are curious about how you can afford it.
We follow a lot of Disney bloggers and vloggers and never really see the topic of money being discussed. We understand, it’s not really anyone’s business how much your holiday costs, or where the money comes from, but I thought it was a good opportunity for us to add something new to the conversation by sharing how we afford a Walt Disney World holiday.
I wanted to start with a little preface about our situation. We are by no means rich. We both earn entirely average salaries, pay fairly expensive rent on a house and don’t have thousands of pounds left over for fun every month. I’m self-employed, and a big job did help us to pay a chunk of the holiday off, but on a month-by-month basis we earn a moderate income.
Despite me getting a one-off job (without which this next holiday wouldn’t have happened) we have HAD to scrimp and save for this holiday. We didn’t have £5,000 laying around in our bank accounts ready to be spent on a trip to Florida.
For the remainder of this post I’m going to share all the things we sacrificed or did to afford a Walt Disney World holiday two years in a row.
#1 No massive car payments
We share a car between us and it’s a six-year old VW Polo that I own. You know what that means? No £300 a month car payments and £300 extra to go in the savings pot every month. Over the course of a year that’s a whopping £3,600 – enough to pay for our room at All Star Sports for two weeks, the Disney Dining Plan and Walt Disney World tickets – with little left over for a spirit jersey or two.
This was a sacrifice. I work on-site with clients four days a week, which means Carl has to drop me off and pick me up before and after he starts work. Our mornings are early, Carl can often be driving an extra hour before he starts his working day and we constantly have to be on each others’ schedule. Not to mention the extra hours I work unpaid because it’s our choice that I get there so early.
Now the holiday is paid for, we’re getting a second car, but we put it off for an extra six months because we knew we couldn’t afford both.
#2 Put a dent in your social life
Since Carl and I met three and a half years ago, we’ve been to the cinema together twice (both to see Jurassic World, funnily enough), we haven’t had a night out since March and I postponed a trip to visit my best friend in London because we needed the extra spending money and I was having a quiet few months with work.
We also probably go out to eat once a month and when we do it’s always somewhere cheap and cheerful like Nando’s. We just don’t really do much stuff because the majority of our money goes in the Florida pot.
I was driving down a busy street in Leeds the other day and noticed the amount of people sitting outside restaurants with wine, food and friends and had a pang for a life we shared before we started saving for Florida holidays where our weekends looked quite a bit like that. But we can’t have both, so we chose to sacrifice our social life.
#3 Experiences over things
As well as meals and nights out, we also don’t spend much money on clothes or ‘things’. Carl has stopped buying PS4 games and I’ve swapped Mac foundation for Boots No.7. We know how easy it is to spend £100 on homeware in Ikea or clothes in Topshop, so we just don’t go shopping anymore.
If we do pick up anything new, it’s usually in Asda or Morrison’s while we’re doing the food shop. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I spent more than £25 on a dress.
The only exception is clothes for our trip, but the money for this was included in our budget.
#4 No other holidays
Aside from a few overnight trips to Alton Towers and Blackpool Pleasure Beach, we haven’t been on any other holidays this year so all our spare cash has gone into this. Not having other saving priorities has really helped us afford a Walt Disney Word Holiday again.
I can’t tell you the mount of times we’ve both said ‘shall we just go for a cheeky trip to Thorpe Park or Flamingo Land or Oakwood’ and had to talk ourselves out of it because we know we need to be sensible for Disney.
#5 Smarter food shopping
Booking this holiday was the thing that finally got us shopping at Aldi on a weekly basis. Before, our food shopping habits pretty much involved picking up what we fancied on a daily basis from Asda. Now we plan our meals properly and stick to it.
We’ve managed to save a lot of money this way. Honestly, it was pretty appalling how much we were spending on food before. I’d say this is still probably still the area we struggle with the most but even sticking to plan 70% of the week has help us massively when it comes to saving.
#6 We don’t have children
Last, but by no means least, we’ve chosen to spend a few years enjoying married life before we start a family. We know that once we have kids it’ll probably take us five years to save for a holiday like this, so we made the choice to wait.
This was entirely our decision, and I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but a lot of people (especially when they reach their 30s like us) get married and start trying for a family right away, because that’s what they want. We didn’t, and as a result can use the £1,400 we would be spending in nursery fees a month to go on holiday.
This was a decision we talked about and agreed on as a couple, because we wanted to spend some more time together just the two of us. Again, not saying this is for everyone but we 100% wouldn’t be able to afford this trip if we’d started a family earlier.
So that’s it, how we afford a Walt Disney World holiday. I know not everyone can do these things, but I thought it would make for an interesting post.
I’d love to hear what you do to save money for your holiday’s – hit me up in the comments!