Summer is always an expensive time of year, especially if you work full-time and need to pay for camp for your kids. If you are home it can still be expensive as you try to occupy your kids all summer!
Here are the tips I have discovered over the years for making summer as inexpensive as possible.
Ahead of time:
∞ Prepare for summer the year before. Buy towels, hats, etc. at the end of the summer season so you have them for the coming year. When all the kids are in camp, we needed a lot of swimsuits and towels to avoid doing laundry every day! It helps to shop ahead.
∞ Get some of your essentials at the dollar store. Sunglasses and water bottles are best to get at the dollar store because my boys lose them often. I don’t have to feel bad when this happens if I have only paid a $1! See my post on “Are “dollar stores” really a good deal?”
∞ Watch throughout the spring and summer for sales on swimwear. One year I got rash guards and swim trunks for a great price at the end of the season for my boys for the coming year. Good online stores to check include The Children’s Place, Land’s End, and L.L. Bean.
∞ Stock up on sunscreen before summer is here. When all four of my boys go to camp, we go through a ton of sunscreen. Even just a few weeks of cub scout camp and we go through several bottles! On top of that my boys broke out from many brands, even Aveeno, which you would expect not to be a problem. They have eczema, which can make their skin break out more than usual. Luckily I found the The Honest Company. I love their products! Their sunscreen is a great consistency, has no bad or perfume smell, and my boys don’t get a rash or scream in pain from it.
You can try a free sample pack (you pay only shipping). Then you can sign up to receive a bundle every month. The Essentials bundle includes five of their products. (They also have a Diaper & Wipes bundle, Organic Formula bundle, and a Health & Wellness bundle, with other choices of products.) I can’t afford to order a bundle every month, but get them a few times a year. You can choose how often you want them delivered. Every time I order, I get several types of sunscreen, so I am ready for summer!
∞ Be on the watch for great deals on memberships to local attractions. These deals usually don’t occur during the summer. For the St. Louis Science Center’s 50th anniversary of their planetarium, they had a sale on memberships – $50 off! It has been our best purchase ever! See my post “Become a member!”
Early summer or (late spring):
∞ Plan ahead for where you would like to go. The first week of summer we often don’t make official plans. But, doing that every week makes the days long and me stressed! Putting together my Summer Bucket List and Summer Fun Bingo really helps because now I have done the research ahead of time and can either choose activities for the whole week or the night before. See my posts Camp Mommy 2014 – Summer Fun Bingo and Summer Bucket List (aka Camp Mommy).
∞ Take advantage of the many free or cheap excursions in town. These include:
- local parks
- library events
- free or cheap movies (see my post “Summer 2013 Dollar (or Free) Movies”)
- local fairs (especially around the 4th of July)
- free bowling (see my post Free bowling and skating – Summer 2017).
- for more ideas, see my page Family Fun Outside the Home
∞ Watch for sales on Crocs and sandals! Five Below often has fake crocs for a great price!
∞ Pack food wherever you go. Even if you won’t be there for long, pack at least a snack and water. This helps with cranky kids and avoiding high cost emergency food purchases.
∞ Take advantage of your local library. I spend a lot of time looking at the Summer Reading events at our county library each week. We go to many events throughout the summer and check out books and movies each week while we are there. It is so nice to have the time to do this and with the summer reading programs, we all earn prizes for reading! See my post Summer Reading Programs 2017 for details on this year’s programs.
∞ Look out for ice cream coupons. We have found ice cream coupons in our coupon mailer that comes in our mailbox every week. Check local calendars, too. Here in St. Louis, we have a calendar called the Town Planner. It is mailed to families every year and has coupons tailored for your area. They also have coupons on their website. Another source for ice cream coupons is your local Valpak. These come in the mail in some areas and they also have a website, too. You might not always find coupons for the location you want, but sometimes the drive can be worth the savings! You might also earn ice cream coupons from your Summer Reading programs.
∞ Forget about your thermostat timer. Keep your thermostat set as if you are not home and then adjust as you feel it is too hot in the house! For related tips, see my post Saving money and energy on Shabbos.
∞ Use your birthday freebies. If your birthday falls in the summer, or if your kids’ do, be sure to sign up for those birthday freebies! See my posts:
- “Kosher Birthday Freebies A-C”
- “Kosher Birthday Freebies D-H”
- “Kosher Birthday Freebies J-P”
- “Kosher Birthday Freebies R-S”
- “Kosher Birthday Freebies T-Z”
Enjoy your summer and share your summer tips in the Comments section!