Parents can’t wait until the days of no more alarms or harping on kids about homework, but then there’s all the free time summer creates. Without schedules and structure, it can feel overwhelming and if you aren’t careful, you may forget about budgeting and spend money just to keep your kids occupied.
Rather than throwing all caution to the wind this summer, plan a staycation. This way you’ll have fun planned for your family without the expenses of a vacation and the rest of the summer won’t feel as unstructured.
Before you plan a staycation, though, learn the top budgeting techniques to make it affordable.
Create a Budget
Before making your summertime plans, look at your budget. If you set aside money each month for the summer, you’re in a good position. If you didn’t, don’t worry. Just create your budget for the next couple of months so you know exactly how much money you have to spend and plan your activities accordingly.
Look for Free Activities
First, exhaust all free activities in your area. Since COVID-19, many attractions offer free virtual events or low-cost visits to the attractions since they still aren’t operating at full capacity. Do your research and see what’s available. If you aren’t sure, check with your local library, they are often a great resource.
Don’t forget to take advantage of national parks, local playgrounds, and local bodies of water. Even if you have to rent a boat or kayak, you can bring a lunch and make a day of your time on the water.
Look for Deals and Specials
This year especially, venues want to bring in more people as things open up more. They’ll typically offer deals and specials to bring people in, especially during slower times. If you’re trying to social distance and minimize crowds, look for places that offer reservations so you know the crowd level is controlled. Plus, if you go during slower times (usually early morning or early evening), you may get better deals.
Plan Summer Fun with Friends and Neighbors
If you have friends or neighbors who stick to a budget too, consider planning your summer activities and staycations together. When you have a group, you can often get group rates. You can also alternate the planning/hosting among the group so the responsibilities don’t fall on one person. If you take turns hosting theme days, everyone saves money since they only have to spend when it’s their turn to host.
Watch your Spending, but Have Fun
It’s a delicate balance to watch your spending and have fun at the same time. Budgeting is the key to success this summer. You’ll feel more in control and will be able to relax and spend time with your kids rather than worrying about money.
If you go over budget and get in over your head, Creditaid is here to help you with your debt management and/or debt consolidation. We work with families all the time, helping them get out of the debt they’ve created and taught them how to budget moving forward.