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Summer Moms on a Budget

May 17, 2024

Your Guide to a Low-Cost, Budget-Friendly Summer

by Kimberley Roberson

It’s May- we are ready for the end of school, the end of …. ALL  Obligation, the beginning of memory- making fun. But after all the school events, sports tournaments, spring fling events and teacher gifts- we are left with a limited budget.


So how do we make memories, keep the kids occupied, and have a little enjoyment for ourselves without breaking the bank? How do I do all that without going in debt?

Summer camps, Summer parks, classes, and vacations are Expensive!

Here are some ideas how to stay within the budget, while still maintaining the budget.

As the school year wraps up and the days stretch longer, the anticipation of summer brings the promise of fun, adventure, and quality time with the kids. However, for many moms operating within the confines of a tight budget, the approaching summer can also stir up stress about how to keep the little ones entertained without overspending. Fear not! It’s entirely possible to craft a memorable summer filled with joy and excitement, all while adhering to your financial boundaries. Here’s how:


Go to a Local Park:

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to enjoy the summer is to explore the great outdoors. Nature offers endless opportunities for free or low-cost activities. Plan a day trip to a local state park, where you can hike, have a picnic, and maybe even take a dip in a natural body of water. Beach days, bike rides, and nature scavenger hunts are fantastic ways to engage with the environment and require minimal spending. If you are Local: Kiroli park and Lincoln Park are amazing. Swimming, bike trails and RV parks can be found at Lincoln Park. Kiroli Park offers beautiful trails, dog park play areas, playgrounds for the kids and beautiful scenery.


 Get Creative with Home-based Activities:

You don’t need to venture far to find fun. Transform your backyard or living room into an entertainment zone. Set up a homemade water park with sprinklers and a slip ‘n slide made from a tarp. Host a DIY craft day with supplies you already have on hand. Even a backyard camping experience can create lasting memories—complete with a tent, stories under the stars, and homemade s’mores.


 Utilize Community Resources:

Many communities offer free or low-cost programs for kids during the summer. Libraries often host summer reading challenges, craft days, and educational workshops. Our Ouachita Libraries are crucial for Summertime fun!  Check with local museums, zoos, and community centers for discounted days or free events. These resources are invaluable for anyone looking to add variety to their summer plans without inflating their spending.


 Swap Playdates with Friends:

Collaborate with other parents to organize playdates or activity swap. Each parent can choose a day to host, possibly sharing a unique skill or planning a special activity. This approach spreads out the cost and planning effort, making for an enjoyable and manageable summer for everyone involved.


 Prioritize Experiences Over Things:

Ultimately, the key to a fulfilling summer on a budget is to focus on experiences rather than things. Children will remember the time spent together and the adventures had, not the amount of money spent. Whether it’s learning something new together, exploring a previously undiscovered local gem, or simply enjoying the laughter that comes with a spontaneous dance party in the living room, these moments are priceless.


Navigating summer with kids on a budget requires creativity, flexibility, and a willingness to get creative. Take  advantage of the resources available, both within your community and your imagination.  The best memories often come from the simplest pleasures. Here’s to a summer filled with joy, adventure, and Living well financially.


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