Family budget for the summer

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I used to run a daycare in the summer when I came home from college in my parents’ basement. I took 4-5 children under the age of three for eight hours a day, five days a week at a cost of $50 per week for each child. Wow! What a bargain! These days you can’t find a babysitter in my area for less than $10/hour and that’s average for 1-2 kids. In fact, there is absolutely nothing cheap about raising kids these days. With 7 children at home, the word “budget” takes on a whole new meaning for us. Especially with 3 needy teenagers! Believe me, they don’t get cheaper as they get older, they cost more and more as they progress through each stage of life. Once they’ve made it through diapers and formula (a huge expense in itself) and are able to talk, it’s game over. You will hear “I want” or “I need” everyday for many years to come!

During the summer, when they’re home, I’m sure every one of my bills goes up. Electricity, groceries, activities, babysitters and the list goes on. How can you keep your expenses down while managing a happy home full of kids during those long summer months? Depending on the age of your crew, there are several things you can do to keep a budget in place.

If you have young teens at home who are too old for summer day camps but too young for full-time summer employment, help them find simple part-time jobs close to home. When summer approaches here, I start getting calls from friends who need “mommy’s help”. My daughters are great with kids and moms appreciate the extra hands! They can earn the extra money needed to support their summer activities, including dinners and movies with friends or weekly shopping at the local mall, and my wallet can take a well-deserved break.

If your children are of school age, check your local recreation department’s summer camp listings. They are usually quite inexpensive and can keep kids busy for at least half a day. For free activities, consider outings to the library, parks or, in our case, the beach. My kids love running through the sprinkler in the garden chasing each other with boxes of cheap shaving cream. We’ve also been known to raid the local Family Dollar store for inexpensive arts and crafts. They spend hours at the kitchen table during our daily summer storms creating masterpieces to display to their dad when he comes home. All in all, there are plenty of options for keeping your kids entertained over the summer without breaking the bank.

There is nothing wrong with making your children aware of waste. This will eventually help them become financially responsible adults. During the summer, shop in bulk and schedule specific snack times between meals to eliminate the grazing that can eat into your grocery bill. I also taught my kids to turn off the lights when they leave the room and we make it a game before we leave the house seeing who can turn off the most lights.

If you have a plan in place and follow it, you can keep summer costs to a minimum while managing a house full of happy children.

For more great tips and tricks aimed at helping you as a mom, check out my site at http://www.moremomtime.com to sign up for my free 5 day series, “Happy Mom Equals Happy Kids”.



Source by Katherine Cox

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