As the weather starts to heat up, everyone is itching to get out and have some fun. For kids, they start thinking about summer fun, even before the school year ends. (Can you blame them?) When it's time to start planning ideas for spring flinging and summer fun, it helps if those activities don't send you (and the family finances) flailing.
Feed your emergency fund
There's never a bad time to add a little extra to the family slush fund to help pad the times of the year when you need a little extra. From the holidays until the school year ends is a good time to watch your savings grow.
By having a stocked emergency fund as a parent, you're taking preventative measures against taking on more debt. Of course, you never know when car trouble or an unexpected doctor's visit can sink your financial ship without warning.
Having a safety net of at least $1,000 in a liquid savings account can help you deflect any unwelcome expense that comes your way.
Check out these ideas on how to add some extra dollars and cents.
Go on a staycation
Life on a budget doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a family getaway. Larger cities offer a plethora of free and low-cost, family-friendly attractions, including parks, museums, and landmarks. Add to the savings by bringing along a cooler stocked with breakfast items and sandwich fixings.
Local staycations can allow you to save on fuel and hotel costs. If you still need to add a getaway vibe, camp in the backyard or another room of the house.
Purge and sell
While it’s easy to cart those bins of old toys, clothes, and sports gear to the consignment shop, you can put more cash in your pocket if you do it yourself. Download an app such as offerup.com, and with a few clicks you’ll be on your way to selling off the surplus.
Growing yummy veggies in your own backyard patch is always a win-win. First of all, it’s a cheap way to fill your food stores in the fall. Plus, if you involve the kids with the planting, watering, and harvesting, they’ll be more eager to try those homegrown vegetables. To save money on getting started, scout out other gardeners and set up a seed exchange.
Do some DIY home maintenance
Before you fork over a couple of hundred dollars for a house call, try the DIY route. With a little research and a YouTube video, you may find it's surprisingly easy to maintain your own home or buy and replace faulty or broken parts yourself.
Ask hardware store employees, comb through repairclinic.com, and pore over the many videos and blogs that walk you through the steps. Many auto parts stores also loan out specific tools to make at-home mechanic projects within your grasp.
Save on activities
To get a break on sports and arts activities, take advantage of the early sign-up discount and ask about other opportunities to save. Some organizations have scholarships and discounts for parent volunteers. Finally, if you happen to have relatives who give gifts to your children for holidays and birthdays, ask if they would like to help cover these costs instead. The enrichment will do more for your kids than yet another toy to outgrow.
As always, while you're enjoying your warm-weather fun, be sure to use your debit card so you can earn those cash rewards.