The summer months provide longer days and more time for families to spend together. With all the extra time to fill, families can find themselves straining their budgets in an effort to squeeze maximum fun out of the season.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little preparation, you can have a fun and relaxing summer without overspending.
1. Set a Summer Budget
Whether you’re hitting the road or staying close to home, plan a summer budget in advance. If you’re planning to travel, determine how much you can spend before you plan the trip, then find the trip that fits your budget.
If you’re staying home, plan a weekly budget. For example, if you allow $100 a week for summer fun, you can probably cover one family night at the multiplex, but not two.
2. Watch Out for Tourist Traps
Taking the family to a theme park or popular location may seem like a great idea, but be careful. As soon as you walk through the front gates, the prices for everything from cold drinks to souvenirs will go through the roof. Plan ahead and bring your own lunches and drinks and set a strict limit on spending for souvenirs. Whatever limit you set, make sure everyone knows what to expect before you get overwhelmed by the excitement of the day.
3. Eat In
During the summer months, we’re often tempted to go out for dinner, but the cost of eating out can add up quickly. Instead, use the summer as an opportunity to cook at home. You can even get the rest of the family involved. Take the kids to your local farm stand and let them pick their own produce, then let them help prepare it that evening. You’ll save money and reinforce healthy habits at the same time
4. Move Your Feet
Speaking of healthy habits, take advantage of nice weather to save on gasoline. Instead of driving, encourage your family to walk or bike. Not only will you save money, you’ll all be getting more exercise and decreasing your carbon footprint.
5. Take Advantage of Free Events
Over the summer, many local attractions such as museums and concert venues drum up attendance by offering discounted prices or free days. With a little research, you may discover some great ways to have fun while staying within your budget.
6. Cut the Cord on Cable
Summer is a great time to unplug as well as unwind. Most of your favorite shows are in re-runs, and you can stream plenty of movies and new shows without paying for cable. Best of all, cutting the cord on the cable company can save you over $500 a year.
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