As many of you know, we just returned from our Mediterranean Disney Cruise, which we had planned and saved for the past two years. We spent 5 days in Barcelona and 12 days on the Disney Magic, visiting the French Rivera, Rome, Greece and Turkey. The trip lived up to our ship’s name and was truly magical.
In total we visited eight countries and had a wonderful time exploring each stop. One of the highlights for the girls was climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Being able to see and touch things they had only seen on TV/Movies or in magazines was an amazing experience for them and fun for Mom and Dad to witness too.
The Disney cruise itself was fabulous in every way. We are big Disney fans so we had high expectations and they delivered a memorable experience. After long days on land excursions, we would head back to the Magic for great shows, food, a lovely spa and kids clubs. It was such a perfect balance of history and pure Disney fun. I am sure the girls will never forget their first trip to Europe!
When we were planning this vacation, money lessons were not at the forefront of my mind—having a great time and making life-long memories with my family was my top priority. But money lessons were taught and best of all, I wasn’t even the teacher. They were.
During our first night in Barcelona, we went for an evening walk to enjoy Goudi’s amazing architecture when we spotted a street vendor flipping a twirling light high up in the air. It, of course, caught our attention, and we spent a few minutes watching this dazzling display. My husband, Chris, and I could see the girls discussing these amazing little lights, which the vendor was selling for 5 Euros.
Chris asked Lauren if they would like one. She simply responded, “I really like it, but know it will not make my heart happy for long and would be a waste of money.” And with that, both girls turned and continued walking down the street (as Mommy did her happy dance behind them!).
During the trip, we made some wonderful new friends. One family generously invited us to their cabin to enjoy popcorn and a movie. Their cabin was gorgeous, easily three times the size of ours with a wrap-around porch. Taylor wanted to know why our cabin wasn’t as big. Before I could even say a word, Lauren jumped in and answered for me. She said, “I am so happy that they have such a beautiful cabin and were willing to share it with us. We made a decision when we booked the cruise based on what we wanted to spend on this trip, and I love our cabin!”
Once again, I just smiled. Lauren is only nine years old, but she gets it, and I love how she’s helping her little sister develop an abundance mindset too. Lauren is genuinely happy for the family with the amazing cabin, rather than envious and that makes her Mom very proud of her. There will always be people who have things that we desire. The secret in life is to make sure we are making careful decisions with our money to ensure we use it in a way that makes us happy. And when others do the same, we need to celebrate their decisions and good fortune!
This trip served as an overall great reminder about the importance of talking to kids about money. As I have shared before kids observe their parents and often mimic the language they use. Stop and think about what your kids observe you say and do. And most importantly, are you talking to your kids about how you choose to spend your family money and why? This cruise meant so much to all of us that we were willing to save for nearly two years. When friends went on vacations that made us want to grab our passports and head to LAX, we slowed down and reminded the girls (and maybe ourselves too) that saving for our big trip would be worth the wait.
When we were booking our cruise, we selected our cabin because it suited our needs. Rather than spend extra money for a larger cabin, we chose to use that money to instead go on private land excursions because that meant more to us. And we didn’t keep it a secret from the girls. We told them and when appropriate, we let them help us make decisions on how we spent our money.
My girls are 7 and 9 years old. I started talking to them about money when they were toddlers and probably couldn’t even fully comprehend what I was teaching them. And yet, those lessons stuck. In part because I consistently talk to them about money and how we use it as a family. And every time they choose to not spend money because the item won’t make them happy long enough to justify the cost or they feel joy for someone else’s good fortune rather than a need to keep up with the Joneses, it makes my heart swell with pride.
We loved our Disney Cruise adventure so much that we’re eyeing another adventure with Disney. This time to China in 2015. It’s another big goal but one we’re happy to work towards together as a family.
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