Summer doesn’t have to bust your budget. You can still make amazing family memories even when you’re working with a tight budget. My family enjoyed many amazing summers even when we were deep in trying to dig our way out of debt. These are some of the ways that we were able to enjoy summer while on a budget!
1. Kids Bowl Free
This has been one of our favorite summertime activities because it’s the perfect activity to do when the temps are over a hundred. Or it’s been pouring for a week and you just need to get out of the house. But bowling can be so expensive so every summer I sign my kids up for kidsbowlfree.com. It’s a website that will send you coupons every month to your local bowling alley. You will have to pay for shoe rental but admission is FREE for the kiddos! I usually pack a picnic lunch in the cooler and we have a “car lunch” date after we bowl! Head here to sign your kids up!
2. Make a List!
Right before the end of the school year, every year, I make a list of all the possible summertime activities and their estimated costs. This list helps me to plan our summer budget. It also helps to prevent the summer blues because I can easily pick off the list of activities of things to do in accordance with our budget (if you don’t know how to make a budget I have a quick tutorial on Instagram here).
Example of what I include in our list:
- Bowling: Est. cost $12 for shoe rentals and tax.
- Water balloon fight: Est. cost $5 (Dollar Tree)
- Lake Swim days: Est. cost $5 to park
- Movie: Est. cost $7 (go on $1 movie days – added more to include tax).
Google things to do near you and do a little bit of research to determine the estimated costs associated with each activity. You can also post for recommendations in local social media groups. Just make a list and get to planning!
3. Schedule the Fun
After I’ve made our list of potential activities I “plug and play” in our family’s Google calendar the activities. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to do be doing every activity, nor does it mean that we’re going to be doing them on the specific day I added them to the calendar. I do this because I’ve discovered it helps to keep time from slipping away. And since I update our budget every week, I can see what activity I had originally planned for the upcoming week and can then make changes as need be.
4. Pack Your Lunch!
For real, just do it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a park playdate at 9 am, pack the lunch. This keeps the “hangry” from happening as you’re leaving whatever fun activity you did. Invest in a decent cooler (doesn’t need to be a Yeti – just one that can keep your food cold inside a hot car) and keep your lunch in your car. If you don’t end up eating it while you’re out and about when you get home, throw a blanket in the yard and have a picnic lunch at home! Also, have your kids pack their own lunches. You’ll be surprised at how much more willing they are to eat their packed lunch when they’re the ones that made it.
5. Don’t forget about you!
I know it’s tough being a mom some days. That’s why I don’t want you to forget about YOU! I don’t believe that self-care has to be overly expensive. It just has to produce good fruit in your life. I have a friend who asks herself regularly if the things she’s doing (or not doing) are bearing good fruit in her life and then she ruthlessly cuts the stuff that isn’t. One of the things that have blessed my life is working out regularly.
My workout crew (I didn’t feel right about sharing their faces on this public platform.)
Last summer, I was at a local park with my kids and accidentally interrupted a group of moms working out. They invited me to work out with them. And y’all, I’ve been working out regularly with them ever since. This group has helped me with my mental health more than I can put into words. The isolation after the Pandemic was so hard on me and this group gave me the community I craved. This group is nationwide, so head here to see if one of these groups meets near you – they’re FREE.
But just because working out is my self-care of choice doesn’t mean that it has to be yours. Find something that works for you and is within your budget. It will help make summer more fun for everyone!
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