Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Day at the amusement park

Like any other expense, a day of sun, fun and rides needs to be in the budget. Determine ahead of time how much money you have for such an outing. Such funds should already be within one of your budget ledgers. You also need to determine the split between cash and non-cash use. If the trip involves a significant driving distance there may be a gasoline expense. Such a use of gas should be made a part of the trip instead of the general gasoline budget. You may use a credit card for your gas, park admission and major meal (such as breakfast or dinner). For general spending at the park, cash is often used.

A good way to isolate the gasoline cost for the trip is to fill up the tank just prior to the trip as an expense to your normal gas budget. Right after the trip, fill up the tank again as an expense against the budget used for amusement park cost.

If you are providing cash for the group members such as your children, then you probably want to use the concept of a physical bougette for your total cash expenditures. See my prior posting: Expense Classifications for an explanation of a Physical Bougette. In this way, you won’t have to worry about trying to keep track of each individual expense for your budget ledger documentation. For credit card purchases, you will have the receipts to use in documenting them later in the budget ledger. I recommend using some type of envelope in which to stuff your receipts and expense notes. This will make it easier to update your budget binder after the trip. To determine your cash availability you should do the following:

1. Add up all pre-known expenses that you plan to use a credit card with such as park admissions.
2. Add up estimated credit card use such as for gasoline, breakfast, dinner, etc.
3. Subtract the totals of the above items from your total available amusement park budget.

If your remaining dollars from the above procedure is less than or near zero, then you should probably defer your trip until you have more funds available! Your past experiences with your “crew” should dictate how much cash you will need. The use of the physical bougette also makes it easier to let each child (if they are old enough) manage his or her own cash. Let each person know that when their cash is gone, there is no more! However, don’t let them have cash for items that you will deem absolutely necessary such as for dinner. In those cases, keep the related cash yourself to make sure that everybody eats at least one proper meal.

When you get back home, take the time to update your budget ledgers as soon as practical. All deductions should be from the budget category that contains your amusement park dollars. Credit card purchases would each have an individual line item. Your use of a physical bougette for cash expenses will allow you to enter only one line item for all such cash used. For leftover cash (if any), receive it back as normal for retrieving dollars from any physical bougette, as income, deposited into the Cash Account, then allocated back into the budget category that you use for amusement parks. You can spend the actual cash dollars for any budget category that comes up as long as the appropriate allocation of the dollar amount was made back into the proper budget category.


Blogger Judy Seaberry said...

Hi Robert,
We chatted after the last Motown Writer's meeting, you have a nice blog here about budgeting at the amusemment park. Alas my children are grown or I could go to the park and test your theory.
But Robert what is a bougette?
Have a great day.

11:50 AM  

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