With summer upon us I thought it would be timely to write about ways we can have some summer fun that won’t break the bank. When budgets are stretched to the max, the key is to be flexible and creative. The best memories aren’t always the final destination but many times it’s the journey that got us there.
To tell you the truth, you don’t have to be on a tight budget for this to make sense. I think anyone who is looking for some great deals definitely should give it a try. From paintball to movies, to fine restaurants and frozen yogurt, Groupon is a great website that features discounted gift certificates for any number of goods and services, including vacations. My only caveat is to use these as a treat and not a reason for you to overspend.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Ok, maybe not all three. I remember when I was little my parents would throw my sister and me into the back of their pickup truck with a camper shell and we would drive a couple hundred miles to visit relatives. I strongly discourage this manner of travel because I think I am still scarred from those experiences. A better idea that may be just as adventurous but a lot more comfortable is to travel by train. With the price of gas skyrocketing, trains can be a much more affordable means of transportation compared to a car or airplane.
OK, I know that really isn’t a word but it is a great way to reduce the cost of a vacation by planning it with a group of people. When you can spread the cost out between a few families, a home, villa, or condo at your favorite beach or vacation getaway can be a win-win situation for everyone. Having a kitchen and a washer and dryer can not only save on food cost, but you won’t have to pack as much since you can wash clothes there. As an added benefit kids behave much better when there are other adults around!
Your Favorite Search Engine
If you need some ideas, go to your favorite search engine on the internet and type in “fun things to do in ____________.” You fill in the blank. For example, whenever there is a long weekend, I do a search for “fun things to do in Charlotte, North Carolina” or if I have more time I just type in the State I want to visit. You can find some great historical places, parks, museums, festivals, and many other fun places to visit.
Unlike the sharecation where you vacation with other families, a staycation is one where you create adventures at home. You don’t have to pay big bucks watching professional baseball or soccer at an overpriced stadium but you can take your little ones or maybe not so little ones to the local baseball or soccer ball field and it most likely won’t cost you a dime but you can still get experience the excitement of a live game. Another idea is the adventure of camping, but you can do it in the safety of your backyard where if you get tired of roughing it outside, you are just a few steps from the comfort of your home.
As I said at the beginning, the key is to be flexible and creative. Priceless memories don’t always have to be expensive. What matters most is the time that is spent together and not what you spent.
Steve Repak, CFP®, is an Army veteran, transformational speaker and consultant. Steve was selected the 1995 Fort Bliss, Texas Non Commissioned Officer of the Year and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Management Communications from Amridge University. He now works for himself as a successful Certified Financial Planner™ in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he lives with his wife and three children. For more information, visit www.steverepak.com.
The Life of a Single Mom (TLSM) is a 501c3 nonprofit that exists to serve single parents and those who work with single parents. We are fully accredited through a variety of organizations that include high levels of financial accountability and awards for our premiere financial stewardship, including GuideStar, Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability, Great Nonprofits, Chamber of Commerce, LANO, and others.