Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How Do You...Budget Summer Fun?

How do you budget summer fun?

When we put our pencils down in May, our summer days open up before us with time for new opportunities and experiences.   Summer is when we fit in all the things we didn't have time for the rest of the year. However, there are two factors I  consider before making commitments: 

  • How will this activity affect the flow of our day or week?
  • Is this activity affordable at this time?
Both factors involve budgeting, budgeting our time and budgeting our money

When planning, I aim to plug in only one major outing per week. This is for sanity's sake. (Trips the library, grocery shopping, and weekend plans don't count.)  Some weeks are busy and overbooking is unavoidable. I already know that during one week in July, my kids are attending a class one day, then spending the night with a friend so they can go to the water park the following day. Then they come home in time meet friends at a movie on the third day.  Most weeks, though, it is beneficial for us to sandwich busy days with at-home days.  Otherwise it is impossible for me to keep up with the housework and laundry, plus our meals suffer.  I keep a detailed calendar and try not to commit to anything with checking the date first.

Planning only one outing per week helps keep costs down.  Each payday, Brian asks me whether I need extra money for the coming week and we set that aside.  My favorite activities are free, though!  We live within fifteen minutes of two libraries and within twenty-five minutes of two more. I scour all of their schedules at the beginning of the summer to see what classes or programs they are offering throughout the summer.  Last summer, we saw a fantastic juggling show, watched a drama production, and spent a morning doing preschool crafts...all for free!  This year, we plan to go to an animal presentation, a hands-on forensics demonstration, and a science-themed play.

I also love the $1 movies at our local theater.  For $6, I can take the kids to a movie on the big screen and be home in time for lunch.  

Some of our most special summer memories have been made at home.  At-home activities are usually cheap and they rarely get in the way of our meals or chores. My friend, Allyson, and I have started a new Pinterest board of simple crafts and activities for summer...or anytime! 

How do
you budget extra activities in the summer? 

My How Do You...? series is back for only a few more weeks.  Is there anything you want to know?  Leave a comment here or on my Facebook page or send me an e-mail.  I'd love to hear from you.

In the meantime, you can browse the archived index of past topics.


  1. We also budget our time and money for summer fun. Most of the activities we do are free, although we do have plans to go to at least one $1 movie this summer. (We're also planning on some of the free events at the library.)

    Other than grocery shopping and weekend plans when Tim's off we try not to make more than one outing either. It's too hard for me to get everything done around the house when we're darting here and there all week. Maybe when the kids are older we'll be able to do more, but for now we enjoy our time at home (for the most part). :)

  2. This is the first summer that I feel like we can actually get out and do some fun things! For the last two years I helped organize our VBS-alternatives for church and that pretty much swallowed up all of our time. This year we had VBS {run by someone else}, so now I feel like we've got lots of time, and I'm really looking forward to it!

    I'm hoping to do some activities at our local libraries and parks - Reptiles and Amphibians to kick things off on Friday. I hope my kids like it, because I'm pumped! Lol. I love that these places offer things for free or very inexpensively. As you add more kids, things add up fast!

    I will probably limit things to once {maybe twice} a week because I don't want to wear us all out. Between school and naps during the school year, I don't feel like we are able to get and do things as much as I would like, so I'm hoping to take advantage of the summer!


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