With your children’s school winding down, the summer is quickly approaching. For many parents, the thought of summer can give rise to great anxiety. What will the kids do during the day? Who will care for them? What summer camps and activities should I sign them up for? Are they going to lose everything they learned over the year? And finally, what is it all going to cost?
In reality, children need to be entertained, intellectually stimulated, and cared for. Unfortunately, childcare and summer camps are more expensive than they have ever been, and many parents feel financially squeezed as a result. Budgeting for the summer is a must to make the most their time.
- Take a realistic look at your finances to determine what you can comfortably afford to spend this summer. Look at where you can lower your discretionary spending to increase your summer budget. This amount shouldn’t financially ruin you. Once you have your budget in mind, stick to it.
- Prioritize the activities and camps that you are interested in. Do you want your child to go to a sports camp? Their school’s camp? Space camp? Science camp? Music camp? Wilderness camp? Lego camp? Do your research on your options and pricing, then let your child select the option(s) that fall within your budget.
- If you work, then you will find that there are often gaps of days or weeks with no camps where you will need to find alternative options for your child’s care. If you can find friends or family to help you during this time, you will save a tremendous amount of money that can go toward other summer expenses.
- Take advantage of free or low cost community resources, such as the library, local parks, or state parks. Further, regularly check free family calendars online that advertise with a wide variety of local activities and events.
- If you are inclined to travel with your children, look early and look often for deals on vacation packages. You may consider letting a good deal lead you toward your destination. If flying or a cruise fall outside your budget, then consider a road trip or camping trip.
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