For much of the nation, summer is in full swing. For others, in just a few short days the bell will ring and children will be jumping for joy. Since summer vacation offers a lot of free time, many parents feel pressured to keep their kids occupied with camps, amusement parks and other pricey activities. Instead, here are some ways to make sure you continue to reduce debt while still having a blast by getting the kids involved in the household finances.
Create A Summer Budget
There’s a lot of fun to be had in the summer months: town carnivals, blockbuster movies, and the daily ice cream man roaming your streets when dinner has just been placed on the table. How will you decide what to do?
- Start by showing your children your Household Budgeting Worksheet or whatever other method you use to budget. Explain to them what the “entertainment” piece of the budget is and how it will be worked into this summer’s budget. How will you cut back in other ways to make sure there is enough money for summer fun?
- Sit down with your kids and talk to them about creating a “summer fun budget”. Allocate a certain amount per week, write that number on a white board or piece of paper and stick it to the fridge. Every time an activity that costs money is brought up, discuss with your children whether there is enough in the allocated budget. Explain to them that any money not spent can be carried over to the next week. So if they’ve been dreaming about a Slip ‘N Slide, they might have to sacrifice a few ice cream trips to save up for it later in the month.
- Create a bucket list. Have your kids prioritize the things that are the most important to them that they would like to do, see and or buy this summer. Help them create a rough estimate of what each will cost. Discuss what holds the most value in dollar amounts and desire. This will help them grasp the importance and satisfaction of spending money on experiences and not material things.
Discuss An Allowance
Take your allowance system to the next level. Have the children divvy up their allowance into three buckets: spend, save and share. This will get them to put their heads together if they would like to make a big purchase. Be sure to cover beforehand what are chores and what are daily tasks that will not be deserving of any money. For example, making your bed could be a daily task, but folding the laundry or mopping the floor could be a chore. Here are some ideas to earn an allowance:
- Given the abundant time spent at home without school, allocate bigger projects for the kids to tackle this summer. Do the plants need watering? Do the cars need to be washed?
- Does the playroom need to be re-organized? Are there items that need to be donated? Have the kids go through what they no longer use and help them better categorize their belongings.
- While you’re in there, are there toys, electronics or other things they no longer use that are valuable enough to sell? Research the value of reselling old gaming consoles and video games and have them decide.
It’s very easy to get carried away with all the exciting happenings in the warmer months. By creating a “fun” budget and getting your kids involved, you’ll eliminate credit debt by never spending money you don’t have.
To speak to a credit counselor today about budgeting and managing your finances, call 800-769-3571.