Summer activities on a budget

Be creative to have fun in the sun!

With summer rapidly approaching, keep in mind that summer fun doesn’t have to “break the bank”. In 2012, American Express conducted a summer travel survey, and the average amount respondents expected to spend per person was $1,180. A little pre-planning will allow your family and you to have fun in the sun, while living within your means.

Know what your budget is before making summer vacation plans. Do you have a monthly spending plan or budget? If not, then visit MI Money Health for a downloadable PDF template or spreadsheet. This will help you identify if your spending + expenses + saving = your net income. If this isn’t the case, increase your income, decrease your spending/expenses or try a combination of both.  

Tip: Have an emergency fund and plan for future, non-monthly expenses to help keep spending plans on track. 

Create a list of fun family activities that will fit within your budget. Be creative and think outside the box. Try using a decision satellite map to assist with your summer financial decisions.

Ideas of fun activities:

  • Attend a free library event for adults or children
  • Visit a local park or beach
  • Stop by a local fair or concert
  • Go to a summer camp
  • Swim at local venues
  • Participate in indoor/outdoor athletics
  • Plan a stay-cation (a vacation spent at home or a nearby location)

Some quick tips to consider when planning for summer activities:

Be thrifty when pursuing summer needs and wants. Consider the following for finding treasures or maximizing your summer income:

  1. Garage sales (buy or sell)
  2. Thrift stores
  3. Consignment shops (buy or sell)
  4. Used book, CD or DVD retailers (buy or sell)
  5. Discount stores (haircuts, sports equipment, etc.)
  6. Organize a family clothes swap
  7. Use coupons
  8. Compare products online when making summer purchases

Keep in mind that cooking at home can save money. Visit the USDA for heathy meal ideas and for a weekly or monthly Cost of Food at Home Guide that is based on family size. 

For additional money management resources, visit Michigan State University Extension. MSU Extension offers financial literacy and homeownership workshops throughout the year to help you become financially healthy. For more information of classes in your area, please visit either the MSU Extension events page or MI Money Health website. Additionally, you can take the Financial Health Survey at MI Money Health to see if you’re financially healthy and discover more ways you can improve your financial health. 

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