Summer fun on a budget

The lazy days of summer are right around the corner. For kids this means warm weather, sunny days, and most importantly no school. But between swim lessons, summer camp, family vacations, all-day child care and endless barbecues, summer costs can quickly add up for Mom and Dad.

Unless you budget and plan ahead, the high cost of summer fun for your family can cause a real heat wave on your wallet. Together, as a family you need to sit down, budget and plan a summer break that will keep your kids busy and not cause you to go broke. Here are some tips and ideas for some summer fun on a budget:

Research – Stay away camp may be every kids dream. Who wouldn’t love a week or two away from Mom and Dad? But the cost of sleep-away camps can run into the thousands. Do your research to find similar programs closer to home. Program guides and community websites can be a great resource for local camp programs.

Get everyone involved – When it comes to planning summer fun for your kids, budget really isn’t a bad word. Sit down as a family and plan your summer fun together. Go through program guides, campsite locations and even special events or concerts they want to attend. Give your kids a spending budget and let them chose the activities that fit into that budget.

Take some time off – Even Mom and Dad deserve a little summer vacation time. If you have younger children and are able to take some time off work you can cut down on some of your childcare expenses.

Have a Staycation – Just because you are taking time off work, doesn’t mean spending a fortune on a family vacation. Why not spend the time around you home? Or take the opportunity to discover a new activity in your community. Perhaps a new park with a splash pad and outdoor concerts, or a forest trail you’ve never hiked.

Look Online – The internet is swamped with discounts and deals for the whole family. WagJag and Groupon are just two sites that offer discounts on camps, concerts and other activities in your community. Whether it’s a sporting activity, tourist attraction or creative class, there is a good chance you can find a deal online.

School will be out in just a few short weeks. Take the time now to plan your summer spending budget. If you sit down as a family and plan ahead, there is less of a chance you will overspend.

For more great tips on budgeting for summer fun, check out Consolidated Credit’s free publication, Vacation Budgeting. It’s full of great ways to plan a vacation that will leave you with great memories, not excessive debt.

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