School’s out for summer, and you know what that means: expenses seem to multiply! From higher utility costs and increased grocery bills you may find lately it seems that your budget is busted! And this doesn’t include summer camp or daycare fees for the kids. Plus, it’s difficult to save money during the summer months due to vacations. But don’t fret, I am here to help! Here are a few tips on how you and your family can have fun this summer without breaking the bank and still put money aside for savings.
- Plan ahead. I know it is too late for this summer, but you can get a jump on next summer by simply planning ahead. If you know that you will spend more during the summer, set aside some money each month. It is much better to do that than to rack up debt and pay for it later (with interest)
- Find free entertainment. Check around your city or neighboring cities for free carnivals, festivals or family- friendly musical entertainment. Invite some friends with kids to make the afternoon even more fun.
- Take day trips. Check out lakes or beaches within a couple of hours driving distance. Leave early and stay all day to maximize the fun without adding the hotel stay
- Seek out free trips. Mark your calendar for free days at the museum, nature center or the zoo to battle summer boredom
- Create a camp. Don’t have enough money for camp? That’s OK, create your own! Create a theme for each day. Let the older kids in the neighborhood be the counselors to the younger kids in the neighborhood.
- Visit your local library. Head to the library each week for a steady supply of free reading materials and educational media. Some libraries also offer family movie nights during the summer.
- Plan a staycation. Pick a weekend and pop some popcorn and watch movies. Here’s a bonus: while you are at the library checkout some movies. That saves on the cost of renting them.
- Go camping – in your backyard. Pitch a tent in the back yard, build a campfire, make smores, tell ghost stories, roast marshmallows and have fun
- Be smart when booking hotels. When you do want to get out of town for a few days be sure to – book a hotel with a kitchenette as eating out for every meal tends to become quite pricey. With a kitchenette, you can prepare meals in the room and save tons of money.
- Reserve rental cars midweek. If you need to rent a car to get away, reserve your rental for midweek pickup and you will often get a better price. Rates can spike by as much as 10% during the weekend rush. Also consider prepaying. If you pay in full when you make a booking, you can slice as much as 35% off the total cost.
Here’s a bonus for you: Use summer downtime to teach your kids about money. Teach kids resourceful lessons about money by encouraging entrepreneurism and lemonade stands. Have them make their own piggy banks. Open up a savings account for each child. Set goals for earning and saving,- and offer fun rewards for meeting them.
HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!