As I sit here and write this, I am twenty-four hours away from making my 7-year-old’s dreams come true. All of the asking, hoping, and praying is about to pay off for her as my wife and I share the news that, in a few short hours, she will be having breakfast with the Princesses at Cinderella’s Castle! We’re going to Disney World! For the past two years, my oldest daughter has literally been begging my wife and I to take her and her 3 younger siblings to Disney World. And she asks every single day! Each and every time she asks, I assure her by saying, “We will go someday sweetheart . . . I promise.” And I say it with conviction, fully intending on making good on that promise! However, the conversation in my head is much different than the actual conversation with my 7-year-old. Inside, the story goes like this . . . ”We will go someday, sweetheart . . . but Daddy has limited vacation time, bills to pay, clothes to buy you, cars to maintain, broken things to fix,” and on and on . . . . I mean, what parent wouldn’t want to take their kids to the most magical place on earth?! What parent doesn’t get a little misty-eyed when they watch those “surprise, you’re going to Disney World” videos on TV or YouTube? As I consider our trip of a lifetime, the budgeter in me overtakes the kid inside and I quickly realize that, in order to be faithful stewards of the money that God has entrusted us with, we are going to have to be financially creative on this trip! Here are two tried and true principles that, if followed, can mean the difference between wisely stewarding God’s money and coming home with peace-of-mind or coming home with a mountain of debt . . . and regret. 1. Avoid “vacation-mode” spending! One of the easiest traps to fall in when planning a trip of any size is to suddenly think of (and buy) things that you “have to have” for the trip. For example, do you really need that pair of designer sunglasses that promise to block out ALL of the sun’s rays and “only” cost four times as much as the pair that you’ve been wearing for months? And why, suddenly, do the clothes that you’ve been so content to wear for the past year seem to need replacing at the last minute in order for you to survive on this trip? And everyone knows that, in order to walk countless miles around the different theme parks, you must have a brand-new pair of top quality shoes, right?! These few examples might seem extreme, but I’ve done it myself when the fever of what I call “ vacation-mode ” hits! It’s as if the budget goes out the window, caution gets thrown to the wind, and anything goes because we are about to embark on a journey to get away from it all. Actually, there’s nothing wrong with that feeling IF our financial resolve and discipline that we’ve worked so hard to maintain aren’t tossed out with it! Many people fall into this “mode” and quickly face a reality check when they find themselves hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in debt when they open up their credit card statement that next month. 2. Stock the fridge, not the credit card! Another major pitfall that many people fall into while on vacation is the convenience of “plastic meals.” By this, of course, I mean the mode in which the meals are paid for! Many hotels and resorts offer a room (or suite) that has a kitchen with a refrigerator. Often times, the cost of the suite may actually be offset by what you may have paid to eat out most of your meals had you not had the option to store food in the room. By getting a room with a refrigerator, you can save hundreds of dollars by simply taking a quick trip to the grocery store and stocking up on the essentials to provide you and your family with enough food to eat breakfast and lunch each day in your room. Now, it would be foolish to assume you would eat every meal in the room, but at least strive to have breakfast and lunch there each day. Of course, I realize that eating a bowl of cereal in the morning as opposed to indulging in a huge spread of eggs, bacon and sausage may not be the first choice you would make but remember, it was your astute budgeting and planning skills that landed you this vacation in the first place! Don’t stop now! Besides, you will literally be amazed by the savings and the rewarding feeling that it gives you will be far better than any breakfast buffet can offer! Ultimately, the most important key for successful vacationing on a budget hinges upon having a plan and knowing what our future decisions (or impulses) will cost us. Jesus said, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28). Likewise, which of us, desiring to remain faithful stewards of the money that God has entrusted us with, does not first sit down and count the cost of our trip and carefully plan how each decision will affect our overall financial situation, including our budget?! By committing to use what we have already (i.e. clothes, etc…) and maintaining the financial practicality that has allowed us to take this vacation in the first place, we can truly avoid opening that next month’s statement with clenched teeth and squinted, fearful eyes. By knowing that we stayed true to our values and our budget, we can honestly come home relaxed and refreshed, producing exactly the end result that vacations are meant for! Related Articles: 5 Tips For Saving Money During Vacations! How to Avoid Vacation Spending Anxiety 5 Simple Ways to Save for Vacation 10 tips for a better budget How To Have A Debt-Free Vacation 5 Tips For Going Out To Eat On A Budget Saving Money by Fixing Versus Replacing Adam Simon is a devoted Christian, husband, and father of four. At age 19, his life was dramatically changed by God, forever transforming his life to one of unwavering passion and service to Christ. Today, through his writing, speaking, and love of God, Adam shares his personal message of faith and family with people everywhere. You can reach out to Adam directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and through Facebook & Twitter . As a thank you for subscribing to our newsletter you can download our quick eBook ” 25 Ways To Save Money in 2011 ” for FREE! The articles on this site are for entertainment purposes and should not be taken as financial advice. Please contact a financial professional for specific advice regarding your situation. 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Vacationing on a Budget: 2 Money Saving Tips