by Michelle Jones
Do any of these complaints sound familiar? “We’re planning to take a great vacation this summer, but we’ll be broke when we get back,” “My kids are home for the summer, the grocery bill alone is going to cost me a fortune!” or maybe “Now that we’ve got the new house, we can’t afford to furnish it!” If any of these quandaries apply to you, these frugal summer tips may help!
* * *
Saving on The Vacation
Shorten the Trip: Week long vacations are great, but honestly, you have little time to pack and no time to recover when you get back. Why not save some money and take a long weekend instead? Some hotels will offer a discount for a weeklong stay, but you’re likely to still save money with a 3 or 4 night trip. Check it out, compare prices, but whatever you do, don’t spend all your money on a summer vacation!
Prioritize Activities and Meals: Most vacation spots come with a free pool, take advantage of it! Prioritize your outings and activities, and choose the family’s top three favorites. The rest of the amusement parks and fun (but costly) things to do can wait until next summer. Hmmm, just think of that, spend half the trip money now, half next summer, then you’ll have two mini-vacations instead of one. And I guarantee you’ll still have a wonderful time!
Stay with Friends and Family: This is the all-time vacation saver, just don’t go to the same friends and family every year or they might direct you to the nearest hotel next time!
Feeding The Kids
Plan Your Menus, Ration the Snacks: Every year when the kids come home from school for the summer, they must think the refrigerator is some kind of ‘all you can eat’ buffet bar, supplied freely by you! Get organized and plan out their meals and snacks, the kids will be content (well, at least they won’t starve to death), and you just might have a few dollars left come September. Which is good since you’ll need it for new school supplies.
Water, Water, Water: I promise you they won’t die, and water is GOOD for you! (You just might not want to mention that to them, as I’ve found it can have very adverse affects.) After water comes those cheap little Kool-Aid® packets, or better yet, homemade ice tea. You can also stock up on juice sales at the discount stores. Just remember to include 2 servings of milk per day for good nutrition.
Furnishing the House
YARD SALE: Just because you bought a new house, doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands more on new furniture. If you really want to have some fun this summer, hit the yard sales and you’re bound to find all kinds of like-new goodies for your home, at a fraction of the *new* cost.
Save Money by Reading the Paper: I’ve been looking for a dining room table that seats 8, for about 2 years. I’ve read the store ads, classifieds, and shopped all over town, still searching for something cheap, something sturdy, and something pretty. What I really want is a beautiful dark cherry claw foot table, but the price tags just send shivers up my spine. Why would, how could, anyone pay thousands of dollars just for a table?
The good news is, my persistence prevailed and God honored my effort to save money. I finally found a beautiful table for 8 in the classifieds a few weeks ago that’s just perfect for us, for the low, low price of $200. I consider it a blessing, many would consider it frugal shopping. Maybe it’s a little of both.
* * *
Return to Frugal Parenting
Frugal Living Index
Copyright © 2002 by Michelle Jones. All rights reserved.