So we want to meet Mickey Mouse, but meeting Mickey and all his friends is not cheap. We were dreaming of an amazing family holiday – but how do we save for it?
First of all – we needed children buy in.
We started the discussion with the girls around where they wanted to go, and they each nominated two or three places in Canada and the US before voting for their favourites.
Now we had the girls “on board”, but it’s important to us that our children learn the value of money. So we started a conversation with the girls about saving money as a family.
The first choice was whether we keep a cleaner, or whether we do the cleaning ourselves – an obvious way to help save money towards our dream trip, but the problem being we are both busy working parents and already time poor. The whole family was going to have to commit to this. So we introduced pocket money, the girls got 50c per year of age and were given age-appropriate jobs. The savings of $60 per week were put into our holiday savings account.
What did the girls do? We’ll Miss T (then 10) emptied the dishwasher every morning, and in the weekend she cleaned her room and vacuumed the entire house, and return we put $5 in her bank account for pocket money, which she saved for spending money on the trip. Miss M (then 6) set the table for breakfast every day, and in the weekend would dust throughout the house (with her very own ladybug duster) and tidy her room. Miss M received pocket money of $3 per week. Hubby and I did the rest ….. without pocket money.
The girls also helped go through the house and find things that could be sold online, sometimes even taking the photos and starting the listing for us.
Because we were planning for this trip as a family it made it easier when the girls wanted things – no we can’t go to the circus sorry, but we can go to circ de sole when we get to Las Vegas; no we can’t go out for lunch, but we can go in a helicopter at Vancouver. The girls got fewer presents at Christmas – but they knew they would get to go to Disneyland instead.
How else did we save the money? Well I sold my car and drove our old car. I did meal plans and shopped around for food to save money on groceries. The girls helped me at the bag your own supermarket. We made do with our old clothes and hand me downs and didn’t buy new clothes. We had sleepovers and movie nights for birthday parties instead of taking lots of kids to a restaurant or venue and spending a small fortune. We took up free family activities – we went Mt Biking and hiking and geocaching and exploring caves instead of expensive family outings.
Finally – we rented out our house on AirBNB while we were away – which ended up being a lot of work but well worth it in terms of contribution to the holiday fund.
The reward? It wasn’t just a trip of a lifetime – it was teaching our girls the value of money. It turns out Miss T had told her classmates she had $300 in her bank for her spending money – but she made it very clear she had earned every dollar of it!
The family at the top of the Redwoods Mt Bike Park in Rotorua looking very proud of ourselves.