Thursday, July 23, 2015

Surviving Summer

Summer break can be hard keeping a balance. There is the pressure to make every moment of life a memory and count. This is unrealistic and most people will admit it to themselves but there is still that idea that we all feel the need to try to live up to. Now I've never been a super mom who even half way actually tries to live up to this ideal. But in the past I have done things that have in one way or another contributed to our debt. Even when I thought I was making safe and savvy choices, I was still probably adding to our debt. I'm not saying the choices I was making were directly contributing to our debt, but without trying to keep to a budget or even having a budget it was contributing.
What were some of the good/bad choices I was making:
We would go to the free/$1 summer movies at our local theater- but sometimes I'd fall in the pitfall of buying popcorn or candy. We plan on going to the park and having a picnic- but the downfall for me I would run out of time and we'd stop a fast food. We'd get discount coupons to go to the zoo, but in the end the cost of gas to Tucson and then all the passes even at a discount cost us a lot. We have also gone to stay with my parents to do swimming lessons up in the Phoenix Valley where swimming lessons through the city half the price per child's lesson. However, staying up at my parents we tended to eat out a lot and do activities that we can't do at home, but end up costing us a lot more- ie museums.
story time at our local library

  • Wherever you are going- bring cash for only how much you plan on spending. If that means you have to call ahead and ask some questions, plan ahead.
  • Planning ahead! & Be prepared. I met a mom at a museum once that she always packs a lunch and snacks for the day. Even when the plan is to be home in time for lunch. If we are planning to go out for the day, I have started making lunch for all of us while making lunch in the morning for my husband. Also I have just started planning ahead to be out for lunch.
  • Find out what summer activities and programs your library and city offer. 
  • Budget it in. Its not that all those things that cost money are bad, but figure it out and plan it in the budget. If you have places you love to go and would enjoy going once a week or more and they offer a family pass, figure out the cost, you might need to budget it out for the whole year and then when the year is over you can buy your family pass. For example: we looked into the zoo for a family pass. With our family's size and the family pass price we'd have to go 2 1/2 times (so 3 times) in a year and the pass is paid for. We then have to decide if that is worth it to us- right now it is not.  But maybe someday in the future (when we are out of debt).
  • Check out deal sites and ask at the grocery store. Deal sites like Living Social and GroupMe can be a great place to pick up deals to local museums and attractions. (I do this every time we are going on vacation, I watch to see what local things we can get deals). Also ask at the grocery store information counters. They sometimes have discount tickets to local attractions- check all year round some tickets are seasonal. Another place to ask is at the library youth desk.

I wasn't the only mom who was taking advantage of the cooler temperatures and the park shade
This summer with an entertainment budget of $0, we have spend lots of time at the park (we have been going at least twice a week and staying for an hour or two, each time I invite all our friends to join us), at story time, and at the free movies.

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