5 Tips for Saving Money this Summer without Giving up Family Fun

The school year is winding down --leaving many of us wondering just where the last nine months disappeared so quickly!  The fun-filled days of summer are almost here, and families are planning summer camps, summer vacations and loads of fun-filled summer activities--and trying to budget in all of that family fun!  If you are coming to terms with the onset of summer break and would love to keep your household budget in line without skimping on summer memories--we have some tips for saving money this summer without giving up family fun!

Choose Summer Camps Wisely for the Kids.  Okay.  There are summer camps for every single activity known to families--and they are available in every state and many foreign countries.  As you sit down to make those final summer camp selections-- sit down, discuss the options and cut the camp registrations down to a manageable level.  Does your son need to go to a different soccer camp every week?  Is there a local day camp option that covers the same activities as a pricier sleep away camp? We choose one academic camp and one sport-related camp (per sport) for each child every summer.   Some families use summer camps as childcare during the summer months--and that is great if the cost of the camp is comparable to the cost of the same week in childcare.  Choose camps wisely to avoid letting them eat up your entire summer budget in just a couple of quick weeks!

Take Mini Stay-cations Instead of Long, Expensive Vacations.    My girls love taking trips.  While a jet-setting adventure to Hawaii for a week is great--we have found that they would rather take 4-5 smaller trips or local, weekend stay-cations over the summer than invest the entire budget into one week's adventure.

Use some Money Saving Apps.   I love Groupon and Living Social.  We have visited many local restaurants and booked travel destinations, trips, and fun activities for often half the regular price.   When we travel, we check Groupon for local restaurants and activity deals that let us dine out and experience more activities for much less on every trip.  Take advantage of apps like IBotta (my favorite), ReceiptHog or eBates to earn cash back on everyday purchases.  Those little savings add up and can be cashed in to fund summer family fun.

Seek Advice for Cutting Current Debt.  Life happens sometimes--and debt has a way of building up over time.  Spring is the perfect time to freshen everything up and take a look at debt reduction options available to you.  Maybe you were hit with unexpected medical debts, or you found yourself paying for some poor credit decisions from your past.   Consult a professional like Nationwide Debt Reduction Services to learn about reducing your current debt and monthly expenses.

Take a Look at Your Utility Bills.  Can you save on your utility bills?  We evaluate our utility bills every 3-4 months.  Do we still want/need the landline phone?  Can we cut cable bills by switching to a service like Hulu or Netflix?  Is there a more affordable service provider available?  Take a look at your monthly, utility expenses.  Call the companies and see if you qualify for better rates or plans better suited to your family's usage habits.  If you are already using Netflix, you could be getting more out of Netflix through a VPN--saving money and getting access to more titles!

Look for Low Cost, Family Fun Ideas.  Almost every local visitor's bureau or local activity site has an option to search for low cost or free activities near you.  Take advantage of those.  Visit the local parks and outdoor spaces, enjoy free family concerts or family fun days, get creative with family outings, backyard fun or family game nights.  Look for free admission days at local museums or family fun centers.  It requires a little "leg work" (or a little smartphone searching) to find free and low-cost activities--but, you will be surprised by the number of options available within an easy drive.  While it may require a little more planning to take advantage of local promotional offers and free admission events--these add a lot of bang to your summer fun budget!

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