About a year and a half ago we decided to challenge ourselves with Debt-Free Disney.
We slashed our spending and quickly built up our savings. I even started blogging as a way to keep me motivated and accountable.
We got off to an awesome start, saving almost half our goal in just a couple of months.
Then life hit.
From car problems to vet bills to house repairs, our expenses quickly ate up our savings, plus some.
Once we tallied everything up, we had actually added about $10,000 to our debt.
Needless to say, Debt-Free Disney was a huge failure.
Since then, by reevaluating our priorities, cutting expenses and planning for the inevitable, we’ve been able to pay off all our debt and we’re ready to make another go at it.
Announcing: Debt-Free Disney 2.0!
Last time, we had about 4 months to plan our trip. This time I’m giving myself a couple of years!
And for motivation and accountability, I’m blogging about it too.
Early Planning Stages
We’re still super early in the planning stage for this trip, but I want to lay out my plan so I have a general idea of what we need to do.
Also, by blogging about it, you can come along for the journey…virtually anyway.
Step 1: Add It to the Budget
Check! I’ve already created a new budget category in YNAB and set a funding goal.
I have no idea how much the trip will cost (we did Disneyland last year and are planning Disney World this time around).
I’m erring on the side of insanity and setting a savings goal of $6000. I’m hoping we don’t spend even half that, but I want to be prepared so we can enjoy the trip without worrying.
Step 2: Research
Little Go From Broke has severe food allergies so we prefer to stay at a Disney resort to make the dining experience easier and safer (Disney is amazing when dealing with food allergies).
And since we live out west, flying is the most practical option (as much as I loathe flying and will probably have an anxiety attack because of Little GFB’s nut allergy).
While I expect the flight and hotel to be pricey, I know there are ways to lighten those expenses with a little travel hacking.
Travel hacking is basically a strategy to collect reward points and miles by opening credit cards and qualifying for their bonuses.
For example, if we decide to stay at one of the Marriott run hotels, we could open up a rewards credit card that gives a 75,000 point bonus with a minimum spend requirement. If we both opened a card and hit the minimum spends, we’d have over 150,000 points, which could be redeemed for 3 free nights.
Step 3: Figure Out Which Credit Cards to Get
I’m just starting to look into which airline and hotel we want to use so that’s the next step before we can decide how to optimize our credit card strategy.
It’s a little bit more work because most of the good cards can’t be opened if you’ve opened more than 5 accounts in the last 2 years. Which, unfortunately, I have.
Luckily, I should be able to open at least one, maybe two cards to try to capitalize on their offers for this trip.
Also, Mr. Go From Broke’s credit is clean so we have some wiggle room there.
I’m excited to have so much time to plan this trip so we can really try to optimize it. I’m also thrilled to have plenty of time to budget for the unexpected.
We’re still deciding when we want to go (time of year), in addition to the hotel and airline. Once we’ve figured that out we’ll be in a better position to plot out the credit cards we’ll need.
We’ll also have to space out our applications to make sure we can hit the minimum purchase requirements.
Having a couple years to put this plan into action will definitely make the travel hacking easier.
Stay tuned for updates on the progress we’re making along the way.
Also, if you’re curious about travel hacking here are some of the resources I’m using: