Summer vacation doesn’t have to break your budget, but it will take some planning. This is also a great time of year to show your children how to set financial goals and plan ahead to save for what they want to do. Get outside early in the day to help you reduce AC use and stay comfortable as the day heads up.
Create an Outdoor Living Space
If possible, find a spot in your yard where you can set a table and chairs. If you don’t have a patio or live in an apartment, put your time and effort into setting up a picnic backpack that you can take out for brunch. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich can be a handy lunch, but packed up and taken to a park it becomes a special family event. Get your little ones onboard by making up “ice cubes” made of lemonade or their favorite juice so your beverages stay cold on the way to the park. Older children can help make the sandwiches, wash fruit or put chips into sandwich bags for your picnic.
Break Up With Your Television
When everyone is home, you may find that the television is on all the time. To reduce noise and avoid constant exposure to advertising all summer long, consider turning the television around, removing it completely or just pulling the power cord. When your family decides to watch a show together, make it an event. Having television-free time each day is a good way to start. If your children are used to always having a television on, it may cause some upset to make this change. However, the peace of mind and the quiet could be quite a blessing by autumn.
Consider a Newer Car
If your car is older or is starting to cost a lot in terms of maintenance lately, visit your local Nissan Dealership in Baton Rouge for a test drive. You can find a vehicle that gets better gas mileage so it saves you money in the long run. In addition, a newer car will have much more features that will make your traveling experience that much better. If you need a van or an SUV for your family, you may be pleasantly surprised to find out just how fuel efficient many new vehicles are. You may also find that you can keep one larger car for the family and a small hybrid vehicle for the other adult in the household.
Create a Vision Board and Goal Jar
If you’re planning a trip to the State Fair or a nearby amusement park, put up a photo of your goal on the refrigerator. On top of the refrigerator, put your goal jar. When you’re out running errands, make sure you always carry a drink and snacks for everyone in your clan; older children can also get in the habit of carrying their own water bottle. You may even want to consider a 12 volt car cooler to keep everything fresh.
When children clamor for ice cream or a fast-food stop, remind them of the goal jar. Encourage children to use up the snacks in the car and drink from their water bottle. When you get home, let them see you put cash in the goal jar. This early financial planning is a simple way to show children how to spend mindfully, how to set financial goals and how to create a budget that works for their needs and wants.
Have a Yard Sale
In addition to tracking your savings for your summer adventure in your goal jar, consider having a yard sale to get rid of items you no longer need, clothes that your little ones have outgrown, and seasonal gear you won’t use again. Encourage older children to set up a lemonade stand for the day of your garage sale. Put large furniture items close to the curb and use lots of balloons to draw the eye of potential shoppers. Have a definite cut-off time and make sure you get a receipt for any items you choose to donate.
Budgeting doesn’t have to be about putting your family into a “money jail” mindset. Setting goals as a family, both for your available cash and your available time, is a wonderful way to make sure that everyone’s well-being is considered. You can also encourage collaboration and reduce bickering with these shared goals.