Summer! The kids wait all school year for summer vacation. Parents, well…most are a bit less enthusiastic. Nevertheless, you need to find stuff to do so that the kids are not bored and you don’t go crazy. Your summer budget expenses can knock your financial goals to the ground if you are not careful.
Even if you don’t have kids, summer is synonymous with vacations, travel and more social time with friends. In order to stay on track with your New Year’s financial resolutions, you need a summer budget protection strategy.
Here are 9 summer budget protection tips to get you started.
- Budgeting is Key to Everything. Hopefully, you already established a category for summer activities when you were preparing your annual budget at the beginning of the year. And, if you managed to put money toward summer fun, this is even better. If not, now is a good time to prepare a summer budget based on what you can afford without going into debt.
- Summer Camp. Summer camp is one of those time-honored summer activities that kids have been enjoying for decades. But, it can be expensive. If you are running on a tight budget, consider day camp rather than the traditional overnight camp. If the kids were really looking forward to camping out and you have a backyard, set up a camp at home. Pitch a tent, get sleeping bags, camping food and pretend the house doesn’t exist!
- Library Programs. Summertime is a great time for everyone to catch up on their reading. Libraries offer an excellent way to protect your summer budget. They have a number of literacy programs for all ages that are free or almost free.
- Food Activities. Take advantage of summer vacation to get in the kitchen or backyard. Cooking up meals together can be great fun. You can begin by taking the kids to the local farmer’s market to learn about different food items. This is also a good time to teach about saving money on groceries. Take everything home, and dive into making yummy treats for the entire family. Don’t forget about dessert, like home-made popsicles or ice cream.
- Season Passes. If your kids love going to water parks or amusement parks, the best way to protect your summer budget is to invest in a season pass. You can buy a season pass for the entire family. If you go only twice you will recoup the cost. A portion of your summer budget preparation process should include a calendar of events. This will help you determine if you will have the time to make enough trips to these venues to make the purchase of a season pass worthwhile.
- Swimming. The good news is that there are lots of swimming venues available that will protect your summer budget. SwimmersGuide.com is a great online resource that will help you locate a public swimming venue anywhere in the world. Lakes and rivers are super alternatives, depending upon safety issues and the ages of your children. In fact, tubing down a lazy river can be something the kids may want to do every day. Other than investing in tubes and refreshments, you will not have to spend very much of your summer budget.
- Free and Low-Cost Activities. If you start scanning your community newspapers, magazines and bulletin boards, you will find a ton of free or low-cost stuff to do with the kids. Social media is another great resource, as well as Google. For instance, bowling—head over to KidsBowlFree.com to sign up your kids for two free games of bowling every day. Many city parks have fun water spouts and fountains that provide hours of fun for the kids. Zoos and children’s museums also have fun and educational programs throughout the summer. Most are free.
- Arts & Crafts. Creating is a fun activity for the entire family. It’s a great way to produce memories that will last for years. DIY is one of the best resources for summer arts & crafts projects. Another great idea is to have everyone write their own book. Illustory is a writing kit that helps you through the entire process of writing a book, from original idea through writing and illustrations.