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7 Ways to Save Big, Spend Little This Summer

Summer is here and the kids are out of school, leaving parents to find solutions to that age-old kid complaint — “I’m bored.” Keeping everyone occupied and happy can often cause a drain on the budget. But, it doesn’t have to. These seven tips for budget-friendly summer activities will help you save big, spend less and keep the kiddos engaged this summer.

Discover Free and Discounted Activities at Local Businesses

Local parenting magazines, blogs and Facebook groups are a great way to find free and cheap things to do with your kiddos this summer. Many home improvement and craft stores offer free or cheap workshops for kids. Libraries provide great reading programs, and you may find music and reading hours at your local toy store.

Consider an Annual/Summer Pass for Local Attractions You Visit Often

Depending on how often you plan to visit local attractions, such as the zoo, amusement park or pool, a membership could save you money over the course of the summer. For example, The Kansas City Zoo offers a basic family membership, including two adults and their dependents, for $119 annually. If your family of four goes to the zoo more than twice in one year, you’ll easily make up this fee.

Pack a Picnic for Healthy, Cheap Eats

Whether you are headed to the park, the zoo or the neighborhood pool, whenever possible, bring your own lunch and snacks. Doing so will cut down on food costs and help you stick to healthy options.

Swap the Hotel for a Campsite

Grab your tent, marshmallows and hotdogs and get ready for an overnight trip your family won’t soon forget. Camping can be an incredibly cost-effective way to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy some good old-fashioned family time. If roughing it isn’t your idea of a good time, check out your local campgrounds for “glamping” or cabin options. Be aware that cabins often book up way in advance.

Explore the Great Outdoors

Parks, trails, your own backyard … summer screams for time outside. The best part? It doesn’t cost a dime. Keep your little ones busy on the park slides and swings. Go for a hike and identify different trees and wildflowers. Or, set up a sprinkler, blow bubbles and play catch in the backyard.

Get Crafty

When the sun gets too hot, head inside for crafts. Pinterest and blogs have a wide array of ideas for creating high-fun, low-cost crafts your kids will enjoy. Google “toddler crafts” or “crafts for kids” and you’ll find a variety of ideas to entertain your little one on hot or rainy summer days.

Frequent Fairs and Festivals

Food trucks, Ferris wheels, concerts and games, fairs and festivals have a little something for everyone. During the summer it seems like a fair or festival happens most weekends. So, if you’re looking for an economical weekend activity, pack up the family, gather your friends and head to the fairgrounds for a fun time this summer.
The dog days of summer may get long, but they don’t have to strain your budget. Free and cheap activities abound as long as you know where to look and get a little creative. Use these ideas as a jumping off point and make a splash with your family this summer.
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