The cost of family expenses quickly rises during the summer. According to a summer spending survey, monthly expenses for Canadian families rise from $1,296 a month to $2,735 a month. Why such an incline in family finances?
During the summer, families must prepare a daycare or summer camp budget that they wouldn’t normally pay for during the school year. Parents are also always looking for ways to keep children entertained. Different activities and events cost money, which adds up.
You’ll also need to consider the cost of food since children won’t have the option to eat meals at school. All of these expenses plus many others add up quickly. How can you begin saving money during the summer?
There are plenty of ways to still enjoy the summer with family without landing in debt. Continue reading our guide below for a few summer-saving tips you don’t want to miss!
1. Pack Lunches When Out and About
Children are expensive to feed, especially when they’re out of school for the summer and you’re feeding multiple children three meals a day every day plus snacks. For families with more than one child, food expenses can quickly become overwhelming. To help reduce your food bill, try packing lunches when going out and about.
Eating out is more costly and time-consuming. When you pack your meals, you can eat them no matter where you are, and save money doing so. Think of foods that help your money go a long way, such as peanut butter, bread, cheeses, lunch meat, dried fruit, nuts, and rice cakes.
2. Reduce Your Energy Bill
The summer heat is a culprit of high energy bills. You can’t control the temperatures outside, but you can control how it affects your spending. To reduce your energy bill, there are a few things you can do.
While at home, open the blinds and curtains to let daylight in rather than using electricity. Shut them when leaving to save on air conditioning costs. Raise the thermostat temperature when gone and try to spend more time outdoors.
You can cook outside to help keep the house cool as well.
3. Create a Budget and Track Your Spending
The only way to take full control of your personal finances is to create a spending budget for your family. To determine what your budget is, you can start by finding the difference between your income and expenses. Don’t forget to include the expense of gas, groceries, and other monthly necessities.
The number you’re left with is your budget. You then might want to commit to placing a portion of this number into savings, leaving you with a specific amount you’re willing to spend on entertainment, fun, and things you want each month.
Tracking your spending is beneficial as well because this gives you information on what you spend the most money on and how to eliminate bad spending habits.
4. Ask Daycares About Part-Time Rates
When the children are out of school for the summer, you’re faced with a much larger daycare expense than normal. Although you have lots of fun things planned for the family during these months, there will still be days when you must attend work or tend to other responsibilities and the children must spend their day at summer camp or daycare.
Ask these camps and daycares about part-time rates. If your child needs to attend but not full days, there might be a discounted rate. Be sure to ask about any other discounts, scholarships, or financial programs to help save some money.
5. Discover Free Family Activities
You want to plan a day at the family’s favorite theme park, and there’s nothing wrong with doing so. However, to save money during the summer, you should also start looking into inexpensive or free family activities around your neighborhood. Different museums tend to offer free days or host free events for families.
Visit your local library and ask about any free events they might host during the summer for children as well. You can also consider visiting national parks. There might be a small fee to enter the park, but once you’re inside, you have a whole day of free fun ahead of you!
Be sure to pack lunch, healthy snacks, and lots of water for everyone.
6. Host Regular Garage Sales
If there’s one thing all parents can agree on, then it’s that children grow out of things faster than imaginable. With that being said, your children most likely have many toys, clothing items, shoes, and other belongings that they no longer need, want, or fit into. A great way to save money this summer is to host regular garage sales.
Have your children clean out their rooms and remove any toys they no longer want. You can then go through their shoes and clothes. Be sure to add some of your own personal items as well and make money by selling them at the garage sale.
Anything that doesn’t get sold can be donated to charity. You’ll be left with a cleaner house and more money in your pocket.
7. Bike and Walk Rather Than Drive
Piling up everyone into the car is easy enough. It only takes a few moments to get everyone inside, and you can reach your destination quickly and effortlessly. Although driving to certain places is essential, you don’t need to always take the car.
Consider taking the bikes or walking to get around instead. When traveling somewhere close, you’ll save gas and get in some good exercise by biking or walking. Choosing these transportation methods also provides you with opportunities to spend more time outdoors while helping the children burn off some energy.
8. Start Couponing and Frugal Shopping
Extreme couponing might not be right for everyone. This couponing takes a lot of time, patience, and dedication. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t shop frugally.
There are a few simple ways to use coupons while shopping without having to keep up with a large binder filled with thousands of coupons. If there are specific stores you shop at on a regular basis, then ask about their apps and ways to save both online and in the stores. Most stores will have an app that’ll automatically send you discounts and coupons or automatically redeem them when you check out.
Here are a few more helpful tips for frugal shopping:
- Plan your meals in advance
- Leave your cards at home and shop with cash
- Purchase in-season produce
When you take the time to plan your grocery shopping in advance and determine how much you want to spend before arriving, it’ll help you stay in control of your spending.
9. Purchase Reusable Items and Home Goods
Even without being on a budget, purchasing reusable items and home goods comes with so many rewards. There’s nothing like finding a great deal when thrift or consignment shopping. Research a few great thrift and consignment stores near you and then start checking them out in person.
You never know what interesting items you might find while there. If you have a knack for repurposing furniture, then you might find a new hobby doing so for your own home or selling pieces to others.
You should also start investing in reusable items such as insulated water bottles, dishcloths, reusable snack bags, and cloth diapers. All of these items are one-time purchases that’ll save you money in the long run.
10. Plan a Staycation in Your Home or City
Traveling during the summer is a must for many families. Summer is the one time of the year when the children have little to no commitments and the family can spend some much-needed bonding time with one another. Planning extensive vacations comes with a price, though.
If flying, then each child will need their own plane ticket. You’ll also need to be prepared to spend money on meals each day and activities while at your destination. An excellent way to still enjoy family vacations without the large price tag is to plan staycations in your own home or city.
Plan movie theater nights in the house or host backyard BBQs with fun backyard activities for the children. You can also look for affordable places to stay nearby that don’t require traveling via airplane or train.
Let’s Prevent Family Finances From Plummeting This Summer
The last place you want to find yourself this summer is in debt. You also don’t want to stop your family from having an amazing summer vacation. How can you ensure neither of these things happens?
Use all of the helpful information about family finances listed in this guide above to start saving this summer with a family budget. You can still have fun and create beautiful summer memories together without emptying your pockets.
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