The problem: Disney vacations are expensive and kids need to save up for a long time to earn a ticket. Keep reading because: this clever trick will help your kids save allowance for a Disney trip!
Can we save enough Dimes for Disney?
Have you ever tried saving dimes for Disney? How many dimes would it take to send your family to Disneyland or Disney World? Before Dad left for deployment, he told the kids that we would all go to Disneyland when he returns. This promise made a huge impression. They have never been to Disney before, so it’s something really exciting to look forward to. The thought of Disney has kept all the kids optimistic about the deployment, and brought a kind of tangible reward to their suffering whenever they miss Dad during deployment.
To make the vacation even more tangible, I am showing the kids how to save money to make it possible. Instead of giving them their allowance weekly (which I often forgot to do), they are now earning dimes for Disney whenever they do chores or show good behavior. This has been a really great practice for the family. Not only does it help everyone count down the deployment, but it also encourages good behavior AND helps them feel more gratitude because they are doing work to earn the big trip.
“Saving allowance money for a trip encourages good behavior AND helps them feel more gratitude because they are doing work to earn the trip.” ~The Seasoned Spouse
Other things that keep them motivated– Disney reminders around the house. Use this affiliate link to get a Mickey waffle maker or any other little motivating prizes you need when the dime jar reaches certain milestones.
Here’s how it works:
- Start with a 1-Liter clear bottle. We used one that held Smart Water. You could use a 2-Liter, but it is so large and the dimes are so small that it can be really discouraging and hard to see progress, so I recommend a 1-Liter. Remove the label and decorate it however you want.
- Each week when I go to the grocery store, I get cash back and buy $10 worth of dimes in rolls. This way, I always have dimes at the house to use as a reward, and it is easy for me to track how much they have earned. Because it comes from the grocery budget, we don’t notice the extra expense. (We spent at least $10 per week more on groceries before deployment when there was an extra person in the house, so we are still saving money during deployment.)
- Use the dimes as a reward for good behavior or chores. I like this reward system for a few reasons. First, it is immediate and easy. I don’t have to keep track of anything or remember who earned what. Second, it is very flexible. I let them put in one dime each time they do a regular chore. But if they help someone, they earn double dimes. And if I see something unusually good that I really want to encourage, I tell them to put in a whole dollar! This really makes an impression and reinforces good choices. Finally, they are becoming very familiar with counting by tens and adding money.
- As we make progress, I track it on the side of the bottle. They have been earning about $10 a week, For a deployment that is close to 30 weeks long, they could have $300 saved by the time Dad comes back! That will make a good dent into the family’s Disney budget! (Yes, the parents actually have a real savings account, too. This is just a visual tool for the kids!)
- Military families can get discounted Disney tickets from the ITT office on base. Each year, Disney offers a special deal to active duty military and their families. Contact your ITT office to learn the rates this year.
- How much is a 1-Liter of dimes worth? The internet does not have many examples of people who actually filled a bottle. Estimates on a 2-Liter bottle range from $500-$700, but I think the $700 estimation is based on a mathematical computation of the size of a dime and the cubic space available in a bottle. This assumes that the dimes are packed solid, without any air space. So I am guessing around $300 for our 1-Liter. The first $20 took exactly 1 inch, but there was a curved bubble on the bottom of the bottle. The next $20 took 3/4 inch. The sides of our bottle are straight for 9 inches, then curve inward for 2 inches at the top. We reached $100 at exactly 3.5 inches, and $180 at 6 inches.
- Once it is filled, you will have to get dime roll papers and have a dime rolling party. You do not want to use Coinstar, because they will take 10% of your savings, and the kids have earned every single dime! Then you will really see how your dimes for Disney tickets has paid off!
- Even if you use the dimes for Disney tickets, make sure the kids get to experience the rewards of their work. Give them some of the money to spend as they wish on souvenirs or snacks.
I am so excited to be saving for our family vacation! Slowly and surely, we are getting there, and making real progress. I can’t wait for my husband to be home, but I will try and make the most of it by saving and being responsible with our money, so we can enjoy it together when he returns. Do you have a favorite way to save for family vacations?