How Much It Costs to Go to Disney World – Trip Cost Report

Disney World Trip Costs Follow Me on Pinterest Have you ever wondered how much it costs to go to Disney World? If you guessed expensive you’d be right! A trip to Disney World is definitely not cheap but to us it was definitely worth it. First, I’d like to let you know that I didn’t pay full retail price. I took advantage of a factor that not everyone qualifies for. As a Florida resident Disney World gives me special discounted rates on the hotel and park tickets. Other than that everyone can get the same prices I did on everything else.

Disney World Ticket Costs

I did a lot of research in this category to find the best price and the best match for what we wanted to do. We had two options as far as what type of Disney World tickets to get. The first was a 3 day Magic Your Way ticket which allows you to enter one park per day of your ticket. The second was a Park Hopper pass which allowed you to visit as many parks as you would like each day but it came with an additional cost. Ultimately we decided we were only going to go to one park each day anyway so we just stuck with the Magic Your Way Ticket.

I also scoured the internet to find the best prices possible on tickets. Unfortunately it seems that Disney didn’t seem to have any discounts on the tickets. I didn’t want to buy the tickets from a third party because I wouldn’t be able to tell if they were genuine or not. Instead I found what seems to be the one exception that was able to get me a discount on the tickets.

My Florida resident status saved me some major money and seemed to be the only way to get a discount! Our tickets cost $180 each after tax for a three day Magic Your Way pass.

Total Ticket Cost: $360 for three days of fun in Disney World!

Disney World Hotel Costs

We decided to stay on the Walt Disney World Resort for a couple reasons. First, by staying on the resort we were able to have free shuttle transportation to all of the theme parks each day. We also could park at the theme parks for free if we wanted to drive ourselves. If you aren’t staying on the resort you have to pay $14.00 a day for parking… ouch!

Another reason we stayed on the Walt Disney World Resort was the fact that everything was included in the rate we were quoted and there were no hidden fees, resort fees, WiFi fees or anything else. Although they don’t provide breakfast it was cheap enough to bring our own so it wasn’t a deal breaker for us. We ended up staying for four nights and once again got the Florida resident discount.

Total Hotel Cost: $322.64 for four nights at the Disney All Star Sports Resort

Transportation To/From Disney World

We decided to drive to Disney World. It is about a 6 hour trip which isn’t that bad and it was cheaper than flights if you just consider the gas cost (I know there are other costs as noted in my mileage reimbursement and redbox posts). We also wanted to have the convenience of having my car in case we wanted to leave early or go somewhere else that the resort transportation wouldn’t take us.

We were glad we drove because during our trip Tropical Storm/Hurricane Issac couldn’t decide if it wanted to go to Orlando, my home or somewhere else. Luckily Issac decided to go away from both Orlando and my home and the transportation wasn’t necessary but if we flew we wouldn’t have had that option.

Part of driving included $10.50 in tolls to get there and back. We could have avoided the tolls at the cost of more time. To us it was worth it to get there earlier so we could go to Downtown Disney and on the way back we wanted to get home to be able to get home and relax.

Total Transportation Cost $116.95

Food at Disney World

The night we arrived we ate at Planet Hollywood at Downtown Disney. It is a more expensive restaurant but part of our Disney World Resort package included a $15 coupon to Planet Hollywood which brought the cost down to that of a normal Disney restaurant.

Other than that, we brought food from home for breakfasts and ate lunch and dinner at the Disney Dining establishments in the park or at our resort. I’d say we averaged about $20-$25 a meal and always drank water and the snacks that we packed instead of buying extras. We didn’t get anything extravagant and just ate at the quick counter service establishments. The prices were high but as I mentioned Wednesday, theme parks can price gouge and get away with it.

Total Food Cost $156.03

We had a great time and spent under the amount that we had budgeted for the trip! Overall it was a great success!

Total Trip Cost $955.62

Have you ever been to Disney World? Was this in line with what you would have expected it to cost? Share your Disney World stories!

Photo by @CDHarrison

How Theme Parks and Movie Theaters “Price Gouge” for Food

I’d like to start with a quick update for those who have been asking why I seem to have dropped off the face of Earth with my commenting and what not… I left Friday afternoon for a trip to Disney World and just got back yesterday afternoon! I’ll be writing up a report and have some great post ideas from the trip but need a little bit of time to organize my thoughts.

Have you ever noticed that theme parks and movie theaters charge a LOT more for food and drinks than you would pay in any other setting? As I mentioned above, I just returned from Disney World and their concession prices reminded me of the sky high prices of concessions at movie theaters. Disney World vending machines charge $2.75 to $3.00 for a 20 oz bottle of soda. I can get the same soda from a vending machine in front of a grocery store for roughly half of that cost.

Why Do Theme Parks and Movie Theaters Charge More?

The answer should be fairly obvious but to get there I think we need to evaluate the answer to another question or two first. Do you pay these prices? Do you see others paying these prices? If the answer is yes to either of these questions you have your indirect answer. Movie theaters and theme parks wouldn’t charge these outrageous prices if people would not buy the items at their prices.

In fact, I’d be willing to go a step further and say that they likely optomize their prices so that they can make the most profit possible. I’d venture they test different prices in different locations and see how the product sells. A simple example would be at $1 they sell 100 sodas, at $2 they sell 90 sodas at $3 they sell 75 sodas and at $4 they sell 50 sodas. In this case they makes $100 at the $1 price point, $180 at the $2 price point, $225 at the $3 price point and $200 at the $4 price point.

In the above example the seller doesn’t sell quite as many sodas but they do end up maximizing their revenue. Obviously they would consider the cost as well and instead maximize profit but you get the idea.

So How Do They Pull It Off?

The reason why you pay these prices is the fact that you are a captive audience in these situations. At the movie theater you likely aren’t allowed to bring in outside food or drinks. They have the only option for concessions stand items if you don’t want to break the rules. Most people just accept it and pay the prices because the theaters have done the research to find the perfect price point to make the most money possible by pricing right below your maximum allowable wallet pain threshold.

The biggest factor is people don’t plan ahead when they know they’ll be part of a captive audience. As far as theme parks go, many people arrive at the parks and before realizing how high the prices actually are. By the time they figure out how much things cost in the park they don’t want to waste their precious time (theme park tickets aren’t cheap) traveling outside the park and just pay the prices on the menu board.

Most people don’t know you can do bring in outside food and drinks to some theme parks. Other people are lazy and some people are willing to pay the prices. Whatever the reason is, it works in favor of the theme park. I did see a few people eating food they brought into the park but I’d venture to say it was less than 10%. We personally fell in the last group for lunch and dinner. We wanted something hot and fresh so it was worth it to us. We budgeted for it and could afford it. We didn’t pay for drinks or snacks though. We brought and refilled water bottles and carried small filling snacks with us each day.

We knew we would be a captive audience and planned ahead for what we were willing to pay for. Do you buy concessions at the movies and theme parks? What do you do to save money and where do you budget for some extra spending money?

Combat Lifestyle Inflation: Save Half of Every Raise for Retirement!

I decided I was going to be prepared for retirement after seeing all of the headlines in the news of people not having nearly enough money for retirement. Obviously you have to have enough money saved to cover your income needs while you’re retired. Something a lot of people don’t think of is the fact that the lower your income needs are the less money you have to save for retirement.

Lifestyle inflation, or the increase in consumption that normally comes along with an increase of pay, is a choice and not a requirement. If you aren’t paying attention it can sneak up on you before you know it. Instead I have decided to fight lifestyle inflation in a way that will actually help my retirement in two ways!

I Plan to Save Half of Every Raise for Retirement

The first way this is going to help me be prepared for retirement is pretty obvious. If I save more money now I will have more money at my disposal when I retire. The best part is that I’m not just increasing my savings rate for a short period of time. Instead I plan to permanently increase my savings rate for the foreseeable future every single time I get a raise.

My thought process here is that if I haven’t adjusted to having the money it will be like it never existed. While it is tempting to celebrate I’d rather not spend quite as much and instead prepare for my retirement. I am already saving a healthy percentage of my income but it wouldn’t hurt to sock away a little bit extra every year. If I save enough I may even be able to retire early!

The Less Obvious Advantage: Combating Lifestyle Inflation

Combating lifestyle inflation is a great advantage of saving half of every raise for retirement. Instead of increasing my expenses by the full amount of my raise I’ll only be increasing them by half of my raise at most. In fact, my lifestyle will probably stay close to the same if my raises stay around the rate of inflation or a bit above it.

I don’t really have a need to live a fancier lifestyle than I already live and honestly the spending would probably become routine. I would just expect the little things that once brought me joy. This is a common occurrence when lifestyle inflation kicks in. Once you get above a certain level the additional money and things it buys just doesn’t add as much happiness as you think it will.

The best part of combating lifestyle inflation is that your overall expenses are lower. When it comes to retirement you only need to replace your expenses, not how much money you made every pay period. If you keep your expenses low that means you don’t have to save quite as much to replace a now lower amount of expenses.

If you’ve been diligent in your saving for retirement, applying this principle could allow you to retire earlier than you originally had anticipated prior to applying it. The other option would be to retire at the same time and have more of a buffer in your budget.

So would you consider saving half of every raise for retirement? Which effect do you like better, saving more for retirement or combating lifestyle inflation?

Why Redbox Isn’t As Cheap As You Think

Redbox Isn't As Cheap As You Think Follow Me on Pinterest

Redbox Isn’t As Cheap As You Think

If you’re looking for redbox promo codes, make sure to check out this post where we show you how to use the same promo code multiple times.

Redbox has become a very popular option for renting movies at the low cost of $1.20 a night for DVDs and $1.50 a night for blu-rays (before tax).

In fact, Redbox is pretty much the only way we rent movies now! We only rent movies when we are going to watch them later in the day and we always return them the very next day so we are only charged for one day. Even though we only keep the movie for one day there are additional expenses we really should consider when renting a movie from Redbox.

You Pay More Than Just the Rental Fee to Use Redbox

Most people consider the cost of a transaction as just the money that gets charged to their credit card or the money that comes out of their bank account. That is not the case though. You really need to consider all of the costs to complete the transaction from getting to the Redbox machine to getting the movie back.

Getting To and From Redbox

The biggest cost for us, other than the movie rental, is getting to and from Redbox. The closest Redbox is two miles from our house. They don’t always have the movie we want so sometimes we have to go four miles to the next nearest Redbox. Of course, we don’t just drive one way, you have to drive there and back so that means we drive 4 to 8 miles to rent each Redbox movie. We also have to return the Redbox rental which kicks us up to 8 to 16 miles driven for a one night Redbox movie rental.

Now that I know how far I have to drive to rent a Redbox movie I have to assign a cost to each mile. There are two main ways to do this in my opinion. The first is just fuel costs and the second is a fully loaded mileage rate that includes depreciation, maintenance items, insurance etc.

If I just want to use fuel cost I need to calculate how much money gas costs per mile. I know my car gets 30 miles to the gallon in the city and right now gas costs about $3.50 a gallon where I live. I take $3.50 and divide by 30 miles to get a cost of  11.7 cents per mile. So, for the nearest Redbox I pay $0.94 cents in gas for each one night rental and for the next closest Redbox I pay $1.87 in gas for each one night rental.

If I want to use a fully loaded mileage rate I defer to the IRS mileage reimbursement rate of 55.5 cents per mile. This is pretty close to accurate for most cars and just in case you were wondering you don’t make money off of mileage reimbursement. So for the nearest Redbox I pay $4.44 in vehicle costs and for the next nearest Redbox I pay $8.88 in vehicle costs if I use this method… ouch.

Redbox Doesn’t Seem so Cheap Now…

The total cost for a one night Redbox rental including gas or full vehicle charges varies anywhere from two to eight times the one night rental cost for me. Of course this assumes that you drive to and from the Redbox machine from your home to both pick up and return the rental and don’t run any other errands when you’re out.

There Is a Way to Avoid Gas Costs

You can avoid the gas costs and vehicle charges by simply picking the movie up when you are out running other errands. Depending on your situation it might make sense to hold on to the movie an extra night rather than making a special trip just to return it. These Redbox machines are actually close enough for us that we could ride our bikes there if we wanted to or take a walk. We normally drive though.

Will This Deter Me from Renting Redbox Movies?

Nope, not one bit! We normally only pick up movies when we’re on our way to or from somewhere. There are quite a few Redbox locations directly on my way to and from work and there are many locations on our way to many of the errands we normally run. After this analysis though we might hold on to a movie one more night rather than paying for gas to make a trip solely to return the movie.

Do you rent movies from Redbox? Had you ever thought to consider the gas and vehicle costs or do you only pick up movies when you are already out running errands?

Photo by Valerie Everett

Life Insurance Movement – Why I Don’t Need Life Insurance Right Now

Today is the day of the Life Insurance Movement organized by Jeff Rose at Good Financial Cents. I figured this would be a great opportunity to discuss my situation and why I have the level of life insurance that I have. You must evaluate your own situation and determine what type of life insurance and how much life insurance you need.

Life Insurance – How I Evaluate My Needs

To determine how much insurance I feel I need a take a few factors into consideration. They include my age, my assets, my liabilities, who depends on me and, most importantly, how much money they would need to stay on track for a comfortable life should something horrible happen to me and I die. It isn’t something anyone wants to think about but accidents happen every day.

So What is My Current Situation?

Currently I am in my mid twenties and have a long-time girlfriend. We plan to get married eventually but we do currently live together. As far as assets and liabilities go, if I died today the mortgage and a small portion of my car loan would remain. My assets would be able to cover my liabilities completely if they needed to.

So who depends on me? My girlfriend does depend on me to split some of the household bills with her so she can pay more toward her student loans but if she needed to she could easily get a roommate to replace the same cost savings. She has a decent paying job and can provide for herself. The fact that we live together does afford us to live a nicer lifestyle than we would be able to if we lived apart but she’d be able to survive and live a decent lifestyle without me.

In my current situation, even no exam life insurance is not necessary for me. I would place no undue financial hardship on anyone if i died (other than the fact they would no longer be able to be in my awesome presence). Don’t get me wrong, it’d suck and I hope it never happens because it’d make a lot of people sad but financially everyone would be able to do just fine and move on with their lives.

That Won’t Always Be The Case

Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe in term life insurance when you have a need for it. The second I find out we’re going to have a kid I’m getting term life insurance. At that point I would have more dependents, my wife and my kid(s) that rely on my income and chances are my girlfriend’s current income wouldn’t cover all the necessities to live a comfortable life and provide for our kids the way we would like. I’d make sure the insurance would be in effect until my kid(s) were completely grown and out of college so that our bases would be covered.

After the kid(s) graduate from college I’d be at least in my mid 50s and I should have enough assets invested for my wife to live a normal life if something were to happen to me. After all, we’d be retiring in a few short years and I am definitely going to be financially prepared to retire!

The Key About Life Insurance and Why It Is Important to My Family

To me the key about life insurance is that it is there for a purpose. Why it is important to my family is that it is there to make sure that my family can continue living a decent life without relying on me financially. I don’t want to make someone rich as a result of my insurance payout. I’d expect the money to be used to finish raising the kids, send them to college and fill in any gap left behind when my income disappears with me.

So do you have life insurance? If so, what is your reasoning? If not, why not? You really need to think through this because it is a very important decision.