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Cheap Momma: Saving Money on Summer Fun

Updated on July 20, 2007

Summer can be fraught with expenses. Vacations, childcare, and activities can all take a bite out of the family budget. Many painless changes can be made that can save a lot of money over time. It's all a matter of taking a look at the things you spend money on and evaluating whether or not it's an area where you can cut back.

Inexpensive Summer Fun

  • Library hop! Most have programs during the summer and there is probably more than one in your community.
  • Have "camp" at home.Spend a week going to different parks or trying new outdoor activities. Plan it out so it seems like an adventure.
  • Host a film festival.Invite the neighbors over for a Harry Potter viewing marathon.Get movie snacks and make popcorn.


If you're taking a trip this summer there are a lot of opportunities to save. You may save some money by taking a couple of long weekend trips instead of one long extravaganza. Weekend trips are easier on your schedule and you'll still be able to take advantage of hotel deals with a three or four night stay.

Hit the road. Why not cut costs by driving to your destination. You'll save money on the tickets and get more bonding time with the family. Think about the hassle of flying these days. And consider that you may not spend much more time driving than you would when you factor in driving to the airport and making all those connecting flights. Gas is high, but still less expensive than most airline tickets.

Don't try to cram everything in. Kids really love hanging out at the hotel pool. For them that's a big part of the vacation so milk it for what it's worth. If they're satisfied with what comes free with your room, why throw down $100 for another day at the amusement park?

Summer Snacking

Kids can't help but be chowhounds during the summer. They are burning so much energy playing all day! Stick to fruit and homemade cookies for snacks and you'll save a ton of money. Plus, kids will be healthier.

Forego the packets upon packets of juice and get your kids to drink water instead. Wal-Mart has a knock-off of Crystal Light, which is a good, sugar-free way to jazz up the clear stuff.

When it's time to wash up do your kids just love to play with the foam soap? Mine were going through it like mad and those aren't cheap. Now when the pump container is empty, I fill it up about 1/3 full with liquid soap (big jug for a few dollars) and fill with water. Works just a well and I've been using the same original pump containers for over a year.

Plan Activities Wisely

There are so many things to do during the summer and we all want to give our kids every advantage we had or didn't have. But there is only so much time in a day and so many weeks of summer. Take a good look at the calendar. Block off any vacation and family visits you're planning. How much time is really left? Let kids choose a few choice activities and then fill in with the inexpensive stuff. Not only will it save your budget, kids will also feel more relaxed with less on their to-do lists!


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