12 October 2012

31 Days:: Budgeting During the Trip

{Budget Series}
Welcome to today's topic: During the Trip! Today I'll be talking about how to use yesterday's Budget Worksheet during your actual trip to Disney. I'll start by again posting my sample budget from last year's trip but with some budgeting filled in.

So again, there's a few "actual" costs that are filled in in black- these were costs that were done before we ever left, actually before we even finished our final budget. Check out yesterday's post for more details about that.

You'll also notice that there's some numbers in red, green, purple, and blue, as well as some totals filled in in the yellow TOTAL squares at the bottom. Those are all the things I'll be talking about today!!

During our trip, every night (or every other night- some nights we're just too exhausted from a fun filled day!) I gather our receipts and enter them into our budget. This way I know where we stand- if we're staying in budget, if we need to cut back on buying snacks or souvenirs, or if maybe we need to cancel a table service restaurant reservation and grab a cheaper meal elsewhere in order to get back on track with our budget. So here's how I do that...

Red Numbers

  • I tally up our food receipts and fill in how much we spent throughout the day (I round up to whole dollars). Breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals go in their appropriate rows in the Actual column, and any other money we spent on food-related items (milkshakes, popcorn, ice cream bars, coffee, etc) gets added to the "snack" row in the Actual column. 
  • I would also tally up any extra Tickets we bought that day, say for mini golf, La Nouba, etc, and add those into their corresponding rows in the Actual column. 
  • Any transportation that occurs while we're at Disney (ie. parking at Sea World, a shuttle to the airport, anything I didn't pay for in advance before we left for WDW), I fill in the Actual column as those expenses occur. 

Green Numbers

  • Once I've entered in all the food totals for the day, I figure out the difference between the Estimated cost and the Actual costs. If I went over, it's a positive number in the Over/Under column. If I was under, it's a negative number in the Over/Under column. 
  • Again, I'd do the same thing for any extra Tickets we bought that day and fill in the Over/Under column.
  • And again, I'd so the same for any Transportation expenses for the day and fill in the Over/Under column.

Yellow TOTALs
Once I've done the Actual and Over/Under columns for the day (not including the Extras rows.. I'll get to that next), I tally up all the numbers, and enter that into the day's TOTAL square at the bottom. D0 for Day 0, D1 for Day 1, etc. This helps me, at a glance, see if we're on/under/over budget in general. That way I can plan accordingly for the next day's spendings in order to assure we're on or under budget by the end of the trip!

For example, if you notice on D2's TOTAL, I saw we were a little over budget. So I decided to cancel Day 3's reservation for dinner at Captain's Grill (hence the 0 in the Actual column). We decided to just grab a snack instead, since we were full from the previous two meals anyways, which is why we went a little over in the "snacks" for that day- but it's still cheaper than if we'd gone to Captain's Grill! So as you can see, by the end of Day 3, we were under budget again!

Purple Numbers
In the Extras category rows work a little differently, as I use these as running totals throughout the whole trip. The Actual column is the budget. The Estimated column is the current spendings. The Over/Under column is how much money is left in that budget.

So each night, I gather up all the receipts for things we bought that weren't food, transportation, or tickets. I separate them into their corresponding Miscellaneous or Souvenir categories and enter the total into the Actual column rows- if there's already a total there, I add today's purchases to the current number there. For example, at the end of Day 1, we had spent $15 on Miscellaneous items. So at the end of Day 2 (where we spent $20 on Miscellaneous items) I updated the total in the Actual column to be $35. I think you get the gist... again it's a running total ;)

Blue Numbers
Again, the Extras category works a little differently (see the Purple Numbers explanation). So once I've updated the Actual column for the day, I figure out how much we have left in the budget for the Miscellaneous and Souvenir categories. I enter that into the Over/Under column rows. Again, it's a running total, so if there's already a total in that square, I add the current day's total to that previous total. This allows me, at a quick glance, to know whether we need to reign in those souvenir purchases or if we're looking good.

I hope I explained everything well. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email, and I'd be more than happy to help!! Tune in tomorrow for a chat about Dates and Tickets- learn more about crowd levels during your trip and how to navigate Disney's ticketing types and prices!

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