Summer is here! Kids are happy and parents are worried about money. Keeping kids busy and paying for camp or activities are concerns for many families. Children love to be occupied and that means dollarsspent. Each city and state will, of course, offer different things to do, but making a plan is universal. First, make a budget plan for the Summer. Know exactly what you will have to spend. If your kids are like most kids, then you can plan on having to buy seasonal clothes. Hand-me-downs are always great. The next stop would be the sales at top discount department stores. You can find t-shirts and shorts for as little as $6.00-$8.00, perhaps even less. Do not rule out the dollar stores. They have t-shirts, hats, flip flops, sunglasses, and socks and you really can not beat a one dollar price tag.
While you are at the dollar store checking out the t-shirts and socks, cruise the toy and Summer activity aisles. They have pool noodles, Frisbees, beach balls, badminton equipment, kites, rubber balls, toddler baseball sets, boomerangs, and a dozen other Summer themed toys and games from which to choose. The dollar store has sunscreen*, SPF lip care, and car window shades. You can find crafts and photo album items for indoor activities on very hot days. Invest in a magazine or two with ideas for how to keep your kids occupied on a budget. It will be worth the $6.00-$10.00 you spend. Kids and the beach go together like strawberries and whipped cream. Beach parking does cost money, but it can keep them busy the entire day. Just be sure to bring shelter and plenty of food and drink. Set up near the lifeguard stand, especially if you have more than one child.
If you can afford passes to water parks or the zoo or museums, make the investment. They can often come with a parking pass and this will reduce the amount you have spend each time you need to park. Some theme parks will offer special rates to state residents. Museums have free days, as well. A trip to an old fashioned soda fountain after dinner is a great night out, but a minimal cost. Put up a white sheet and project a movie for some back yard fun. Buy some Summer food like corn and hot dogs on sale, and invite the kids’ friends over for dinner and a game night. At a discount department stores you can find croquet sets and bocce sets. Lawn games are great family pastimes. On average there are two and a half or three months of Summer. Sitting down and making a calendar may seem daunting, and of course, things come up, but having a solid plan is a great start to a fantastic family Summer!
*Be sure to always check the expiration date on the sunscreen you buy. Get the highest SPF you can find and do not keep it for more than six months. Keep it out of direct sunlight and remember, it has to be reapplied according to the directions on the container in order to be effective.