Parents, need tips on how to afford to create a fun summer for the family, plus sneaking in a few vacations? I’m sharing tips on how to afford a fun summer + travel too in this sponsored post collaboration with Protective.
How To Afford A Fun Summer + Travel
Summer break is here! I’m just as excited as the boys about their break. We have quite a few things planned this summer, including a few road trips, coming up with a summer bucket list, doing some fun things in the local area, day trips around Michigan, and more!
One thing I am NOT looking forward to during summer break is kids constantly in and out of the refrigerator.
Parents, I don’t know about you, but it bugs me when the kids just stand in front of the fridge, wide open, complaining there’s nothing to eat.
Or, you hear the fridge open and close a few minutes apart all day long.
Let’s face it; it’s going to happen. And if you have boys, oh, good luck with that one! I have two teens and a tween. They are in the eat-everything-phase. They are always hungry. They always need another snack or two.
I get asked quite often how to afford to feed boys. I also get asked about how to save money for a family vacation. Today I am sharing a few tips on how to do both at the same time!
First, things first, you need to have a plan. In order to travel, grocery shop, etc., you need to have a plan. What are your vacation goals? How much do you budget each week/month on groceries? All these things need to be planned out. I use apps like Evernote to keep track of my lists, goals, and monthly budget.
How to save on food
Use coupons, rebate apps, and reward programs. To save on food, it is crucial to shop only when things are on sale, plus use coupons, rebate apps, and reward programs. On my frugal blog, I share a plethora of tips on how to coupon, different rebate apps to use to make some cash, plus share a weekly meal plan. I only shop the sale items. I use coupons, store rewards, plus rebate apps to help me get the best bang for my buck. Saving money on my food bill not only helps me stretch how much food I can purchase for $100 bucks, but that’s savings I can stick into my vacation account. Win-win. Related: Beginner’s Guide to Couponing
Here are a few more tips on feeding boys this summer:
- Embrace the power of water. Enough said.
- Skip the individual items. Granted, kids love those little individual packets of crackers, cheese, and cookies. The problem with these is that you are paying a silly price for them. I try to buy our snacks in bulk.
- Buy three-day increments on fruit and veggies. Fresh fruits and veggies are the most commonly wasted items in the majority of pantries. They are the most likely to go bad, so they often get thrown away. If you utilize a good rotation system and buy in three-day increments, you can save big time on these foods. Boys need plenty of fresh fruit and veggies, so keeping them fresh will also give them the maximum nutrition for your dollar. Don’t buy more than your family eats and you will save a ton over the course of a summer. *Tip: I like to leave fresh out in a bowl. I notice my boys will eat more fruit when it’s right there in front of them.
- Meal plan. If you watch the circulars, you can catch the best meals for your money and coupon stash. Read up and then plan your weekly meals around the sales. This means you will be eating well while saving money at the same time.
How to save on travel
Travel on a budget. Vacationing during the summer months (especially July) can be expensive. Everyone else is traveling during the summer, hence peak season and higher rates. We try to do a bulk of our traveling during the winter, spring, and fall. During the summer months, we try to plan our vacations in June or August. Also, vacationing during the week versus over a weekend is another way to save a few bucks. However, it all boils down to planning and having a budget for your vacation.
If you’re not sure how to budget or need money management tips, check out several resourceful articles on Protective’s website. You can learn how to budget your money, get a financial checklist, smart ways to use your credit cards and more. Understanding and learning how to budget is crucial when it comes to planning a vacation and coming up with summer activities.
Other ways we save on travel during the summer:
- Be flexible. This is my number one tip when it comes to saving money on travel. When you’re flexible about when and where you go, you will save money! Being able to travel during the week, taking a red-eye flight, or flying to a new unpopular destination could be an excellent way to save money!
- Flights can be super expensive during the summer. We try to drive as much as possible. When we have to take a flight, I set up airfare alerts several months ahead of time to know when rates drop within our price range.
- We also try to find destinations close to home (for us, the Midwest).
- We take shorter vacations. Instead of a week away, we may only go for 2-3 nights.
- We use travel deal sites to help us find ways to save on hotels, attractions, etc.
- We fly budget airlines as much as possible.
- During your vacation (and this is WHY you must plan), fill one of your vacation days with free/cheap things to do. Every vacation spot will have things for families to do that are free or cheap. When we travel, I spend time researching things to do in that area. I will also check out local restaurants to see if they are running any specials or offer free kid’s night.
- If you know you are planning to visit a particular destination, go to their convention bureau site to find deals on hotels, attractions, and free events during the time of your vacation. Also signing up for the newsletter, hotel’s email alerts, etc., are ways you will be able to snag deals and special offers.
- Some last-minute planning will pay off. There will be times where airlines, hotels, resorts, and vacation destinations will have a last-minute special. They want to fill every seat, every hotel room, so if they are not booked to capacity, this could be to your advantage.
- Piggybacking off of planning a last-minute vacation, ask for the “walk-up” rates. If you did not make hotel reservations in advance, you might luck out on finding hotels not filled and asking for the manager’s special or the “walk-up” rate.
- Take your own food. When we go on road trips, I will load our SUV up with snacks, drinks, and light lunches. This will help us avoid the gas station snacks, which usually cost 2-3 times more than what you will pay at the grocery store. \
How to save on summer activities
Summer fun doesn’t have to be expensive. As I mentioned before, I have quite a few things planned for summer. Some of those items are not cheap. For example, all of the boys want to go to a basketball camp. This is going to cost us at least $500-$600 to send all three boys. Here are a few ways I am going to pay for it:
- Side hustle. I’m always looking for ways to make some extra money. Doing surveys, secret shopper, work at home jobs, garage sale, selling on eBay, etc. are all ways to generate some extra cash.
- Look for things to cut and ways to save money. This includes saving money by cutting expenses (cable, lower cell phone plans), using coupons and buying items only on sale (this includes clothes, shoes, everything), using reward programs to save on gas, and cutting back on our entertainment expenses.
- Find free things to do in your city. No matter where you live, you can find free things to do. For example, instead of sending my boys to the expensive basketball camp, several churches offer free camps during the summer (and some with a basketball focus).
Sit down with your kids and come up with a list of things they may want to do over the summer. Think of FREE things you can do together as a family. Here are a few suggestions:
- Go for a nature walk
- Go for a picnic
- Make slime (Zayd’n has requested we do this over the summer)
- Learn a new language
- Go to the library and pick out new books
- Have a sleepover with friends
- Watch a movie marathon at home
- Go to the local amusement park
- Skate for free at the local skating rink
- Visit the elderly at a nursing home
- Become a dog walker or pet sitter
- Visit a local museum
- Sell lemonade in a lemonade stand
- Camp out in a tent in your backyard
- Make S’Mores over an open fire
- Go Stargazing and use an app to help you recognize constellations
- Go Bowling for FREE
Having fun this summer doesn’t have to break the bank. Budgeting for your vacation and summer expenses is the first thing you need to do. Doing this will allow you to plan where and what activities your family can accomplish this summer. It is possible to travel and have money for summer activities. Protective wants to make sure you are well equipped by providing FREE resources to help you save on your upcoming vacation and summer fun. Following these tips will help you have a fantastic summer! Regardless of what you do over the summer, the fact that you are spending time with your family is priceless!
What are some things you have planned for the family this summer? What tips do you have to share on ways you saving money, or being able to afford summer travel and activities? Drop me a line below and let a sistah know!
Hooray for summer!