Summertime requires its own budget.
Between camps and vacations, and the endless snacking in between (seriously, what is it about summer that makes kids think they are starving to death?!), pennies need to be pinched a little tighter to make things work.
This summer, our family knocked out all our fun in the first three weeks. We did family vacation, camps, and grandparent visits one after the other, coming out the other side exhausted and full of memories.
Now, the rest of the summer looms before us, a wide open expanse of time just waiting to be filled. Only, we’ve already crushed the budget, so now what?
Now we get creative.
When my children were smaller, I found that filling their summer days was easier. They were content with toys and trips to the park and could spend hours running through a sprinkler.
Now that they’re older, we’re having to be a little more proactive in how we guide their empty days. Enter, the Summertime Agenda of Awesome.
“Check the board!” I say with a smile. And they trudge to it, usually mumbling under their breath because teens and tweens are super fun that way…
Our number one task for this summer is to practice boredom.
You don’t have anything to do? Figure it out. I am not the party planner, nor am I the chauffeur. We have shelves full of books to read, mounds of paper on which to write or draw, and a whole house that is in constant need of cleaning. Enjoy, kids! I’ll be in the corner reading my book if you need me.
Our kids are at the age where they can pretty self-sufficiently care for themselves. My job is simply to place things in front of them and see what they do.
Keeping plenty of supplies on hand for cooking and baking occupies the older two. This also gives them ample time to learn how to clean a kitchen properly.
Two birds, one stone.
We’ve also implemented an allowance strategy that puts money in their pockets, maintains a cleaner house, and teaches them how to save and when to spend.
At the end of every week, if they have made their beds every day, kept their rooms clean, deep cleaned their bathrooms at least once and managed their electronic time without me having to nag them, they each get a certain amount of money. There is a catch with this little allowance, though.
If they want to go out to lunch rather than eat the food already stocked in our house, that’s fine. But they have to use their own money to pay for their lunch. If they want ice cream on a hot summer evening, no problem – they can treat themselves.
If they want to go to the mall – great! They just have to remember that any new clothes or shoes or trinkets must be purchased with their own cash.
The point, we’ve told them, is that we are done spending money on them. But if they play their cards right, and do the things they need to do, they should have a little play money of their own to spend or save as they see fit.
Since we’ve implemented this little cash system, an interesting phenomenon has occurred: Suddenly, going out to eat isn’t as appealing as it once was. When forced to choose between saving their money for something special, or getting another sandwich from Chickfila, they are wisely choosing to save their cash.
It is like a summertime miracle!
So here we are, well into summer, and our kids are beginning to wonder if they just might die of boredom. Maybe they will. It’s hard to say for sure. But, if they play their cards right, they won’t die with empty pockets.
I’d consider that a summertime win.
How are you surviving summer on a budget?
That’s the way you do it! Kids need to understand the value of money early on so they don’t grow into adults who don’t know how to manage money and end up in financial ruin.
I totally agree. They can’t learn unless they practice!
Kim Croisant says
I love your poster!!! We definitely need to practice boredom at my house. I’m so tired of hearing “I’m bored”…and we just got home from vacation!!!
Ha! Post vacation boredom is a real thing. Gotta detox from all that fun. 🙂
valmg @ Mom Knows It All says
We have the same budget year round for the most part. There’s always things to do in, around and outside of the house, no boredom here.
Lucky you! Actually, I like it when my kids get bored. Boredom is where creativity really begins to take off. I WANT them to be bored, much to their chagrin. 😉
Karen Morse says
I think you’re doing an amazing job showing them the value of money and what it’s like to earn it when they work hard. It’s a mind set they can use when they’re on their own and working. I love it!
Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly says
No kiddos here, as for surviving summer on a budget we just experienced a devastating fire because some idiot was throwing fireworks off the roof, the firefighters demolished our apartment so I will definitely need to replace things in every single room, there goes my budget and any shot at a vacation. I kept proscratinating on my Spring Cleaning, now I pretty much have to throw everything out, it will be a very minimalist summer at casa de butterfly!
Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that! Best wishes as you move forward in this challenging time!
Theresa M says
I love your strategy and have the same one in place in our house. It’s funny how unappealing Starbucks is when I tell my daughter I’d be happy to drive her over, but she’s going to be paying for her own drink. Or, lunch at McDonalds. Sure, you can buy your own nuggets. We haven’t been to either all summer lol
Annemarie LeBlanc says
I used to do that with my kids too, when they were young. Allowances were earned, not freely given to them as spending cash. It did help them to be wise with their money. My youngest son is so frugal you can’t squeeze a dollar out of him until you answer his set of questions.
Very good parenting advice. Kids should be taught responsibility early on in life. Some would not agree with giving incentives for completing chores, but I think this is a good way to teach them that money is earned through hard work.