by Lorenzino Estrada, Arizona State University

Earlier this year I learned an important lesson about money: it goes fast.

While it may seem like an obvious lesson that I learned much later than most, it’s a lesson that I was very grateful to learn. I learned this lesson as I was planning a vacation for my girlfriend and I after our sophomore year at Arizona State University.

I had never planned a vacation before, my parents had always planned our family vacations every other summer and I anxiously awaited until the day we left.

I am a big fan of travel, every now and then I go to Expedia and Hotels.com and just look around the site at random locations and see how much it would cost for a roundtrip with hotel.

This time around, I was planning a trip to Walt Disney World for two. It was a pretty daunting task. It seems counterintuitive to plan a trip almost across the country with the financial bandwidth of a college student, but we were all in being the big Disney fans we are.

So I started my research six months in advance of our hopeful mid-May trip. I went from website to website looking for the best round trip and hotel bundle. Expedia, Hotels.com, Trivago, Kayak. After weeks of research and crossing my fingers for member deals to make the price just right, I booked the hotel along with roundtrip flights for both of us.

The hardest part was done, now we just had to buy the four-day tickets to Walt Disney World. We bought the tickets as we neared our trip and began to prepare.

We spent a lot of money just to get to Orlando, now it was the money that we spent at the parks and other miscellaneous things that began to pile up. We Ubered to the park every day we were there, of course we spent money on turkey legs, Mickey ice cream bars and dole whips. Then came in the ample amount of souvenirs we “needed.”

In total, our trip cost around $2500. By the time we returned home, I looked at my bank account and my mouth dropped when I saw how much money the trip ended up costing.

Going into planning the trip, I understood that a trip to Walt Disney World would cost a lot of money, but I don’t regret any purchases I made. It was my girlfriend’s first time going to Walt Disney World and it was worth every penny to see how much fun she had throughout the entire trip.

Planning our first vacation definitely changed my outlook on how money works and how quick it goes, especially being a student living off student worker money.

The next time I start to think about planning another vacation, I will begin to save money for the trip much further in advance so I will not have to dip into my savings account and be caught off guard. Money goes by quick, and it should be saved, especially for leisure.

Lorenzo Estrada is a student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.