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Budgeting for Summer Fun With the Kids in Your Life

Kids having fun swimming in the pool

Whether you have your own children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, or other kiddos in your life, summer can be an expensive season. Day care, camps, travel, summer classes and entertainment are just a few of the costs that need to be planned for. Here are a few of the tips from the experts (cue parents!) to alleviate some of the financial stress and maintain the fun vibes of summertime.

  1. Research shows that kids learn the most about money matters from watching their parents. Including them in your budgeting process takes the mystery out of how much it costs to enjoy the summer. As you know, it doesn’t just magically get funded! A good exercise is to ask your kids to write down how much they think it costs to go on vacation or go to camp. Then spend some time walking through a budget that includes all expenses.
  2. Start by asking them to list categories for the budget. This might include clothes for camp, gas costs for traveling, air fare, eating out, or movie tickets and other entertainment. Don’t forget the little items that add up like sunscreen, sunglasses, and snacks.
  3. Once you have identified the categories, it’s time to involve your young adults in the research to get the best deals and discounts. Is that cheaper airfare worth it if the schedule requires you to stay at a hotel an extra night? Can you negotiate a deal if you invite friends and share the costs? Invite them to help make decisions about what might be more and less important to spend money on. Are you willing to forgo a night of eating out for tickets to an amusement park? A prize for the best money-saving ideas can be a great incentive!
  4. Once the budget is completed, consider an allowance. Kids are always more thoughtful about spending their money than your money. An added plus is that it also cuts down on the nagging! Your response to requests could be “I don’t want to spend MY money on that, but is this how you’d like to spend YOUR money?” Done!

We hope this gives you some ideas about how to move from the “money doesn’t grow on trees” adage to a thoughtful discussion that provides context for how your summer fun money is budgeted. For our interactive budget tool, click here!

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