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How to Budget Fun
When the weather warms up, the whole family starts to look forward to summer. And while there’s a lot to look forward to – camp, vacations, and time at the beach – it can also be expensive.
Here are some ways to budget for all the things on your family’s summer wish list, without derailing your savings goals.
Make a Summer Budget
No matter how big your family is, you probably start to make summer plans long before Memorial Day. As you do, estimate the cost of those plans, whether it’s a summer house, a series of weekends away, or camp. Then add it all up, and see if it fits with your household income, and your savings goals, before you start putting down deposits.
Lemonade Stands and Garage Sales
Not every fun summer activity has to cost you money. In fact, some can even make money. If your children are too young to mow lawns or take on a summer job, there are still fun ways to teach them about the value of hard work. A garage sale, front-yard bake sale, or a lemonade stand are great ways to spend time with the kids, and make money at the same time.
If you’re going away, the best time to book your travel is as soon as possible. Prices tend to go up once the summer has begun, and many of the preferred travel and lodging options will sell out. Booking early can also help in other ways, beyond having more choices and finding better prices. Studies have shown that people are happier with purchases they make up front, look forward to experiencing, and then experience later.
Keep a Travel Journal
Even if you’re not going very far, a travel journal can help you remember the highlights of a trip, cement your memories, and remind you of what you might like to try the next time you’re there. But it also helps with more practical matters, like the name of that great restaurant, which experiences were worth spending extra on, and what you’ve spent. That can help you save money, and help you plan your next trip.
Summer Camp: Tax Breaks and Price Breaks
Depending on the type of camp, and how many children you have, summer camp can be costly. The good news is that you may be able to pay for it from your pretax income if your child or children are under 13, using a flexible spending account (FSA).[MB1] Also, you may be able to use tax credits for eligible dependent care expenses to pay for some of camp. Lastly, before you pay, call the camp office and see if they offer discounts. If you’re sending more than one child, they may cut you a break to get your business.
Get a Picnic Basket
One of the great things about warmer weather is doing fun things on a whim – like a simple picnic. A well-equipped picnic basket can help you pack up and get out quickly. And a picnic in the park, or just on the lawn, is an inexpensive way to enjoy a summer afternoon.
No matter what you’re saving for, you want your money to grow effortlessly. That’s why the Barclays online high-yield savings account is designed to help your savings grow, while offering straightforward and convenient access to your money. And whenever you have a question, our representatives are ready to talk to you.