Today I will talk more about the first important step in keeping summer in a budget:
1. Plan your Activities
Remember that having a plan for your summer activities will help you keep within your budget. If you plan the activities ahead of time (making sure to include a lot of frugal activities from my list I shared), you will be able to pick only the activities that cost what you have in your budget to spend.
I mentioned a little about our summer plan in the last post. Each day of the week, we have a different theme. When the kids finish their chores and assignments, then we get to do the activities that go with the theme for the day, which we pick ahead of time.
I've found that along with saving money, planning our activities ahead of time gives the kids a great incentive to get their chores done. While everyone loves a lazy summer day once and a while, let's be honest and admit that it does get pretty old to sit around the house in your pajamas all day accomplishing nothing. Kids are no different. They want to accomplish. They want to do good. They want to contribute. We can help them by giving them the responsibility of chores and the incentive that when they finish them, they get to do the activity AND they get to have the rest of the day as "free time!"
Before I present our summer plan, let me just take a moment to say that I believe in having a lot of "free time" for kids. Especially in the summer! Planning a scheduled fun activity during the day is one thing. Having a packed schedule with no "free time" is quite another. The first one allows structure, flexibility, creativity, and imagination. The second is just overwhelming and exhausting and defeats the purpose of a summer in the first place! So avoid the tendency of filling up your calendar with "stuff to do". Even good stuff to do! Pick an activity each day and then let the kids have "free time" to just be kids the rest of the time.
That being said, here's our family's summer plan!
As you can see, I have themes for each weekday at the top. Under the chores I list each child and their chore for the day. Then under "Activities" I list the activity that we have planned that goes along with the theme and any other family or other things going on for that day (baseball games, piano lessons, etc). In the top left corner I have a place where we list the chores that the kids can do to earn money and the dollar amount per chore. The money chores have to be done after the regular chores, and no, the regular chores at our house aren't paid. They are just chores because we all do chores to help out. I hope this makes sense. Let me know if you have any questions or I'd love to hear ideas that you use to plan your summer!