With summer break in full swing for children, parents are kept busy not only with their regular schedules but with all of the extra activities their kids participate in during the summer. While these fun activities are great to keep kids busy and active while they are not in classes, the costs of these programs can start to put a strain on any parent. From swimming lessons to softball to 4-H and FFA programs, children (and, therefore, their parents) need to purchase equipment and supplies required for each different activity. All of these programs are great for children – teaching them teamwork and social skills that may not be possible in the school setting, so finding a budget-friendly way to take part in all of these activities is a must for most parents. Here’s a few tips to save a dollar or two on your kid’s summer plans.
- Buy used. Children grow quickly and change their minds. The expensive glove you bought for their first year of softball will last maybe a season. Don’t waste your hard earned cash on something that may be only used ten times. Search through garage sales, ask your friends who’ve had kids in the sports before, or visit a nearby used sports equipment store.
- Carpool. Carpooling can save you both time and money. Find a parent with children in the same activities and offer to take turns dropping off and picking up kids from the scheduled practices.
- Don’t overdo it. At the beginning of the summer, plan a meeting with your family and decide how many different activities that your budget (and sanity!) can handle. With multiple children, if you let them be in every program possible, you’ll be running around non-stop, handing out cash, and not enjoying the summer.
- Pack your own snacks. Concession stands and fast food stops can rapidly drain your budget. For games, pack snacks. For all day tournaments, pack whole meals. This is not only a budget-friendly option, but usually the healthier option for you and your kids.
- Start saving in advance. Planning for these activities year round will make them less of a burden come time to pay for program fees and equipment purchases. Consider starting a savings account solely for this purpose.
These summer activities and programs can add up, but if you do your research and spend a little bit of extra time, following these tips can end up helping you and your children enjoy the great weather and freedom summer brings while not ruining the family budget.
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