Summertime Activities Don’t Have to Melt Your Budget

Summer is here and the kids are out of school. Unfortunately, when you're stressed over finances, this normally cheerful and relaxing time of year can be super stressful. If you're like many in my community, some of these might be playing through your head right now:

  • It's yet another year when we can't afford to go on vacation
  • My kids are driving me nuts but activities are too expensive
  • We've been so good and need to have some fun but the bank account says "no"

If this is you, you're going to love what I have to share. Just because you are in debt, doesn't mean you can't have fun. It just means that you may have to spend a little time doing some research and it may mean that you have to make some compromises. 
Here are some ideas that can heat up your summer fun factor without breaking the bank:
1. Check out sites like Groupon or Living Social for deals. There are all kinds of activities available on these sites. Whether you are looking for a local activity to keep the kids busy or a frugal getaway, this is a great place to start.
2. Check out your local community center or library. These local centers and libraries always have events going on and most of them are FREE! Get your kids involved in a summer reading program and not only do you give them something to do but it keeps their brain engaged too!
3. How about camp? I know - camps can be uber expensive but it might be a great way to get grandparents or other relatives involved. They may be willing to pay a portion or all of camp fees to help out. Sometimes, all you need to do is ask!
4. Let them volunteer. Kids being busy doesn't mean that you have to be paying for it. Check out volunteer opportunities for day camps or vacation bible schools in your area. Your child will be busy and will benefit from the volunteer and leadership experience.
5. Give them some down time. Kids do not have to have something to do every waking minute of the day. It's ok to have them at home without a busy schedule. Use that time to have them work on some projects around the house like organizing your movies or going through the pantry to make sure nothing is expired. This gives them something to do and you get to mark something off that to-do list that never seems to get done.
No matter what you choose, know that you don't have to spend a fortune to have a ton of fun. It just takes a little planning in advance. Figure out what your budget can bear and then work within that framework. Get the whole family involved and get creative. You may be surprised what you all come up with!