Summer has a way of making us feel carefree; we happily spend more money on treats, family outings, or activities for the kids, only to check our balance in September and realize that we might have taken too much out of the savings account. While it’s true that you can’t put a price on the memories you make with your family, you do still need to have enough put away to make more memories in the future. If you’d like to have your cake and eat it too, here are a few tips so you can have the best summer ever on the lowest budget possible.
It’s tempting to opt for a staycation each summer because this is when flights are usually their most expensive, and you don’t often know if there’s enough in the budget to book in advance. Fortunately, you can still take the family somewhere exotic with a few money-saving hacks. Flights tend to be more expensive from Friday to Sunday because most people want to make the most of the weekend in a foreign country. Since you have the whole summer holiday to choose from, try to book a flight that leaves in the middle of the week to save a few dollars. You can also save if you aim to travel the week before the kids go back to school, as this is when prices might start to drop. Websites such as Skyscanner can help you compare flight prices across a whole month so you’ll know the cheapest days to fly, saving you a potential packet. Going all-inclusive can save you more money, especially if you take full advantage of the breakfast buffets and the hotel swimming pool. Spanish destinations such as Majorca and Tenerife, or Algarve in Portugal, are always a hit with families, so these are good places to start looking for an all-inclusive vacation.
The great outdoors can be just as engaging as a games console, and it’s usually free. Although some campsites will charge you to pitch your tent, there’s no cost for sleeping in the back garden with your younger kids, or out in the woods with more mature children. Brush up on some simple survival skills and teach them how to survive in the wild, introduce them to the simple thrill of climbing trees, see who can spot the most species of birds, and in the evening you can show them how to make perfect s’mores over the campfire. Not only does this experience get everyone out of their comfort zone and encourage the kids to work together to put up the tent and start a fire, but it will help them appreciate the things they take for granted at home; hot showers and indoor plumbing seems like a luxury after a weekend in the woods. Most importantly, however, spending time outdoors will teach children how to respect nature and the environment.
Rent out your house
You don’t need to have a second home or spare room to make money from a lodger. If you’re planning on spending a few weeks away, and you live in a popular area, you could make some extra money by renting out your house to other holidaymakers. You can sign up to be a host on Airbnb, put out feelers with friends, or by making a website advertising your house to people looking for a nice accommodation for their vacation.
Packing for vacations
Hard as it may be to admit, your little ones aren’t as little as they were last year, and all their clothes from the previous summer no longer fit. Before you start packing for your vacation, you need to make sure you have enough summer clothes that fit them comfortably, not to mention all the other summer essentials you need to buy like sunscreen, allergy medication, and travel-sized toiletries. To make sure you still have enough left for vacation spending money, you can go to the stores armed with discounts from Coupon Sherpa and make substantial savings on clothes and other items. It might require you to do a little legwork and shopping at several different stores, but it’s worth it just to save a few dollars.
If you’ve been trying to find a way to motivate yourself to do more exercise, there is no bigger encouragement than your children; not just because you want to be healthy, but because they will drive you crazy when they start climbing the walls with boredom and the only solution is to get everyone out of the house. If you have fairly young children, take them to the park and play with them; run around to catch them on the slide, push them on the swings, or try getting involved in their game of tag. With slightly older kids, you could get everyone on their bikes and ride down the coast, whip out the water pistols and have an all-out war, or check your local area and see if any events will get them walking. If you show your children the value of getting out of the house and having a good time, they may never catch on that you’re doing this for the exercise.
Rainy day fun
Despite all your best efforts to get the kids away from the electronic devices and out into the fresh air, sometimes the weather will conspire against you. Fortunately, you can still find ways to keep the kids busy without the lure of technology. One way to keep the kids occupied is by teaching them how to cook. Your options are endless; you can have them help you make the family’s favorite dinner, you can choose a new recipe to try together, or you can teach them how to make a really easy dish so they can begin building their cooking skills. If you have them help you with dinner, be sure to compliment them on their contribution and watch their little faces light up with pride.