For most families, planning budget-friendly summer activities that everyone will enjoy can be a challenge. Rather than jumping ahead to spend your money on expensive activities, use it as an opportunity to make summer planning a learning experience for your kids. Include them in planning your family’s summer activities, you can help them develop important budgeting skills and financial management.
Start with a summer budget
The first step to planning a great summer without breaking the bank is to decide how much money you have available to spend. Examine your monthly budget and determine how much you can set aside for camps, summer excursions, or family summer vacations.
If you have some regular monthly expenses that don't occur during the summer—such as after-school care and school lunches—apply those savings to your summer spending plan. Also, consider how much you may be able to save on a weekly basis until summer. When you have a ballpark figure in mind, you're ready to start planning.
Brainstorm low cost and fun summer activities
Together with your kids, develop a list of fun summer activities, especially focusing on those that are lower in cost or free. Keep an open mind and consider movies in the park and other community activities, camps sponsored by your local parks and recreation department, and free or discounted days at zoos or theme parks. Hikes, bike rides, picnics, playground days, pool days, also make for fun and inexpensive options.
When you enlist the help of your kids, don't be surprised if you find yourself making or reviewing TikTok videos, or engaging in some outdoor challenges. Whatever you brainstorm together, the key is creating memories that may not cost much, but result in experiences and memories enjoyed together.
Prioritize and make choices together
When it does come time to spend your hard-earned summer saving, explain to your kids that you want to have a memorable summer with them, but there is a limit to how much you can spend. Talk your kids through any definite plans, answer their questions and invite their feedback where it makes sense - this may differ depending on their ages.
For example, if you plan to make some of the spending decisions yourself, give them a few options from which they can select the remaining activities within a set figure you've predetermined. You could also divide activities into groups of low-cost, free, and moderately priced to allow your child or children to select one from each group.
If your kids are older, you may even task them with researching activities or even help plan an upcoming vacation. With the decided budget you could have your teen provide options, then review the shortlist together to finalize.
If they already have their own kids' debit cards, saving and spending within a budget won't be unfamiliar to them. For the most part, they will be able to manage their day-to-day summer spending while you monitor from your parent app.
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