Summer is here and you’re looking for things to do with your family that won’t break the bank. Taking the time to get away from work, school and everyday obligations, is hard enough, but then thinking of the money it is going to cost to get away makes it even harder.
Camping is a great way to get away from everything as well as allowing you to really enjoy your time together and not be distracted by everyday life, including your wallet. Planning and preparation are key to making it a money-saving success.
Camping on a Budget
Create a Checklist
Lists are your best friend! Create a camping checklist before you start packing to make sure that you don’t forget anything and have to pay exorbitant prices from the campground to get it.
Purchase Pre-Owned or Slightly Used Gear
Check out local garage/yard sales, websites such as Craigslist, or even find local “online garage sale” groups on Facebook.
Use Household Items
There is no need to purchase eating utensils, plates, pots, pans, when you already have those things in your kitchen cabinets.
Create a Camping Tote
Have a tote that is used year to year especially for camping trips. Instead of purchasing temporary items to cover everything you will need, purchase items that will last and can be used year to year.
Prep your Food
Prepare your menu plan just as you normally would, and prepare anything you need to in advance. Instant Oatmeal packets, muffins and granola are great protein packed breakfast ideas that cost very little.
Pick a camping location that has things to do. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to camp in a resort, but camp close to water or a state park so you have built in entertainment that won’t cost additional money.
A couple other tips to remember. Keep your wood pile covered with a tarp to keep it from getting wet or damp from a pop-up storm. Also, try to set up camp in the shade as much as possible to avoid the heat and and having to replenish the ice in your cooler as frequently.
Family is important to most people. We do what we do to take care of our family and give them the things that they need. Being frugal can help give our families some of the physical needs and also helps us to meet their needs for time together.
We Prioritize Family Time
A frugal family takes the time to save a dollar, but doesn’t always chase a dollar. Sure, we clip coupons, work on gardens and crafts, but we can do all those things with a family around. We work hard at our jobs, but at the end of the day we don’t feel compelled to stay there to make a little extra money. Going home becomes our habit rather than money hunting.
We Do Frugal Things As A Family
The thrifty family likes to do things from scratch. We cook and bake from scratch. We make gifts rather than buy them. We even fix our own cars. Then we make sure that we teach our children how to do the things that we can. That means the two year old is in the kitchen helping pour ingredients in a bowl and mix. Teenagers learn to do their own laundry and darn socks and sew on buttons. This all comes from watching mom and dad do these things. In fact, throwing things out rather than fixing them becomes a foreign concept to them. Parents have taught them to fix things and make them last longer rather than waste money to buy another item.
Money Spent On Family
As a frugal family we worry less about the basic needs of our family. All our bills are up to date and our house payment or rent is paid. We buy things outright and nothing can be repossessed. When we do have money to spend often we spend the money on a family outing or trip. We camp together, go to amusement parks together, or just have movie nights with pizza and popcorn.
This coming week is a time when women all over the United States will be stressing out and scrubbing every square inch in their home. They will be planning their Thanksgiving menu, buying everything, and then coming home and stressing over what they forgot. This is why it’s important to take a day to just be calm before the storm that Thanksgiving can be. What do you do on this day of calm? You make sure you don’t overspend by thinking your way out of your panic state.
You seemed to have forgotten the rolls on your last shopping trip. You plan to have rolls, biscuits, and various types of sweet bread. Take a deep breath and admit to yourself that it will be okay that you forgot the rolls. While someone may notice, there are plenty of yummy bread staples around to make your roll absence not a huge loss. You and your family will still have a great Thanksgiving without the rolls.
You Need Help
Ask your family for help. You do not have six arms and you do need sleep. Trying to do it all by yourself is only going to cause you frustration and waste ingredients when things don’t come together as planned. The best way for everything to come together is for everyone to take on some small part of your Thanksgiving planning. Trying to do it all by yourself will just cause stress and holiday drama.
Let People Bring Something
People offer to bring stuff to your festivities, but you keep saying no. You’re the hostess and you will do it all by yourself. Well, stop it. Let people bring something with them. It helps some people feel needed or feel good that a certain recipe is requested. It helps you keep costs down as well as work load.
Now take a deep breath… and exhale. You will survive Thanksgiving!
Family can be a great source of comfort and strength. In a strong family it also becomes a social structure and support system. The more you bond together the more likely you are to save on money, drama, and enjoy the time that you share.
Most likely when you live near family your children have cousins in the area about their age. If this is so, play groups built out of family are ideal. Most parents feel comfortable with their kids being around aunts and uncles. There is bound to be more forgiveness for that child having a bad day. There is even a more likely chance of you saving money on activities because there is less pressure or embarrassment felt when telling your family that a trip to the local water park isn’t in your budget right now.
I’m not saying take advantage of aunts and uncles to look after your kids. We all know how frustrating that could be. However, setting up turn based babysitting for date night is a good way to save money on a date night and still get a break. Just make sure that when your time comes around to babysit you take your turn. Not only is it the respectful and honorable thing to do, it will give you quality time with your nieces and nephews.
Half the fun of the holidays is being able to spend it with the people whom you care about. It can also relieve a great deal of stress when each family pitches in with the preparations. Christmas dinner could be potluck. Children can be rounded up to help make the clean up go faster. Other family members can make sure that certain traditions are shared with the younger generations. Holidays become bigger and at the same time easier with a little team work.
What perks do you enjoy by living near family?
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I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. Babies cost money. It’s a fact of life that is really unavoidable. There are medical expenses, vitamins, and new clothing. That’s just for mom during the pregnancy. On top of that many people have moved away from family and friends while looking for work or going to school. Those that would help are unable to due to financial difficulties of their own. The cost of a baby could be all on the new parents. So what do you get to prepare for a baby while on a tight budget?
Don’t go all out on clothes. A cute little outfit or two is in order, but the facts are that babies grow out of clothes faster than paychecks arrive. Instead, try to find baby sleeper sacks. They cover the entire baby, are made to fit for at least six months and come in a wide variety of colors. I prefer the sets of two from Gerber because they also make diaper changing easy. These little beauties also come with built in hand mittens that just flip over baby’s hands. No need to spend extra. Consider buying at least four. This will keep baby clothed and warm without over loading your laundry. All you need after that are hats and socks.
These aren’t our mothers’ cloth diapers with the safety pins and complicated folding. These come with snaps or velcro, can be adjusted to fit our growing children and have inserts that can be removed, washed, and reused again. If that seams too much for a busy schedule there are flushable inserts available as well. The cloth diapers themselves cost about $34. The inserts cost about $30 for the reusable kind and $6 for about 100 of the flushable kind (pricing from Amazon). It may seem like a high price to begin with, but factor in that monthly disposable diapers cost between$40 to $60 dollars, and it’s a huge savings. Also, check out DiaperSwappers to learn more about cloth diapering and to buy products.
A Travel Crib
A travel crib is amazingly versatile. It can move with you, travel to see family, be a good changing table, and act as a playpen later on. Even if a regular crib is out of your price range consider getting a travel crib. If you haven’t yet moved into a home where baby has their own room, or baby will be staying in your room the first few months, these are a great idea. They don’t take up much space to begin with, and fold up when needed.
Looking for a few good ways to teach children how to spend and save wisely? Children can be taught gradually without too much trouble and make it a part of their lives.
It’s hard to teach a toddler that they can’t always have what they want when they want it, but it is possible. We started by taking our child down the candy or toy section of a store without buying anything. We wouldn’t do it just to teach them delayed gratification. We just didn’t avoid those parts of the store if they were the shortest distance to where we were going.
Having a schedule also helps a child between the ages of one and four to wait for something they want. It doesn’t matter if it’s a snack or story time. When there is a set time for a certain activity children learn to wait for what they want while still knowing that it will happen. This will cross over into their financial life when they are older. They will learn they may have an item later but it doesn’t have to be now.
Elementary School Age Kids
At this age children are old enough to learn that money doesn’t fall from trees. Prepare a set list of activities that they can do to earn money. Do you want them to study? Are there chores that need to be done? Let your children learn that earning money comes before spending money. It may also teach them that what they want is not always worth the work or money.
There are two important parts to this process. First a parent must be clear about the standard of job expected. Don’t tell your child they must get good grades. Tell them they must get at least a B in their classes to earn their pay. Second, if the child does the job, be prepared to follow through on your part of the bargain. This instills in children that work pays off, rather than adults don’t keep their end of the bargain.
Teens and Preteens
The bank of mom has closed. Yes as parents we will feed them, make sure they get medical attention and provide a free bed. Because we love them there will give Christmas and Birthday presents and we will celebrate their accomplishments. We will even pay for all the field trips they go on for band. When it comes to that over priced pair of jeans, however, it’s time to go out and cut the neighbor’s grass. Or go babysitting. No more family generated work. It’s time to make an effort outside the home. We’ll see if those jeans are really worth twenty hours of babysitting.
This is also a good time to start preparing these soon to be adult children for financial independence by letting them see your financial situation. Explain how to set up utilities. Let them learn what a standard electric bill costs. Teach them about late fees, credit and interest. This will prepare them for getting started on their own financially.
I want to be able to teach my children about their heritage but I can’t afford a trip around the world (being multi-ethnic that’s what it would take). I instead use what I have to teach my kids about our family.
I have tried to keep a journal, but my daily life is just that. Normal daily life. Every day I found myself writing about doing the laundry, dishes, and cleaning the house. Every now and then I would remember to write something cute about my kids. Writing was problematic because in the morning there is nothing to write about and in the evening I’m so tired I can’t think of the things I wanted to write about.
So instead I have started writing an advice book for each of my children. I give advice about the things I think are important such from my daughter’s maturing moments to what qualities are good in a woman for my son. Best of all, my husband actually volunteered to join me in this project, so my kids get a lasting record of advice from both mom and dad.
Family history is more than just building a family tree. It consists of pictures, stories, ethnic culture, food, recipes, and much more. Log family heirlooms with the number of generations they have been in the family and who started passing it down. For some it will be jewelry. For others it may be a wedding dress. For us it is the blankets that have been made over the generations of our family. We call them love blankets and tell the kids that’s what makes them extra warm.
Make It Your Own
If writing isn’t something you enjoy consider turning family pictures into a child’s picture book or making a video. Give family recipe cooking lessons. The amount of things that can be passed down is only limited by our creativity.