Published: November 20, 2008 at 3:29 PMPretty good spreadsheet, Don. My only problem is that I love spontaneity - although I like most things planned out for a theme park vacation, sometimes we just feel like wandering off the path.
Published: November 20, 2008 at 3:47 PMI think that you can preserve spontaneity on a budget -- you just have to pick things that fit within your expense categories. Go with whatever restaurant, activity or hotel you stumble across, just keep it within the price range you anticipated.
Experience helps, too. After time (or with the help of others), you can better ID things that you will want to budget for.
Published: November 20, 2008 at 4:01 PMI love it too! Its a great way to think of how much money you really spend! However, his money for theme park tickets are either absent or lower. However, the interesting thing is you can shift the money around based upon if you stay at a hotel that gives you perks (such as Disney or Universal). For example, if you stay at a Disney hotel, you can take the Magical Express instead of renting a car and save money on theme park parking, which tends to eat up the budget. Still, that is an excellent idea and will be saving it in the future!
Published: November 20, 2008 at 7:23 PMLet's just consider the numbers in the spreadsheet right now as "dummy data," just there to give you a feel for the spreadsheet, not to represent real-world cost, which can vary from week to week.
The Magical Express situation provides a great example of how having spreadsheets for each vacation plan can help you compare total overall cost. Otherwise, you might figure the cost of a rental car as a given for all parks, when you might not need it for an on-site Disney visit.
Published: November 20, 2008 at 7:10 PMExcellent work, Don. Thanks for sharing your method and spreadsheet with the rest of us. The best thing about your method: "coming home with $80 in your wallet." Wow...that never happens on my trips. Kudos!
Published: November 21, 2008 at 6:56 AMThanks guys! Glad it's helping others. Like Robert said, it's just a template with dummy data. My sheets are actually even more detailed when I get done with them but I always start with this template. So feel free to take it and make it your own. Also feel free to post any questions you might have. I am happy to help!
Published: November 21, 2008 at 10:43 AMI haven't had the chance yet to pull up the spreadsheet but I definitely plan to some time this weekend.
We've never created a budget for our trip. Generally we pay for our hotel, tickets and rental car months in advance. We take quite a bit of money with us for food, souvenirs and anything else. The way we've always done it is to pay for all of our big ticket items prior to leaving, then when we go on vacation, we try to take anywhere from $1,500-$2,000 with us. We always bring a lot of money back home with us, so we toss it into our "vacation fund" for the next year.
This is something I definitely want to look at though, perhaps it can help us even more! Thanks for putting this together.