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Budgeting for summer fun: A guide for families

Individuals 05.10.2023 4 MIN

Summer brings warmer weather and more fun in the sun, but it can also come with a higher price tag. Every summer, working parents may find themselves scrambling to find activities where children can have enriching experiences and be supervised when school is out. In the summer, the average family with two working parents may pay more for childcare than ever before.1 Planning in advance to fund your summer budget may help you have that extra money for camp or vacation, without having to resort to credit cards or dipping into your emergency fund.


Make a budget for summer

One planning tool that may work for families is to make a specific budget for summer. Calculate your expected costs for babysitting, camp, a family vacation or even a staycation. Divide that summer budget by twelve. Add that summer budget amount to your regular monthly expenses.2

Now you have a monthly budget that has designated dollars put aside for summer costs—dollars that may even earn a return before summer starts if you put them in a high yield savings account, for example. Those extra dollars may help cover an extra treat, like tickets to a sporting event or park passes.


Get creative

Think about activities that may be low cost, or even free, to fill long summer days without breaking your summer budget. Here are a few ideas that involve an investment of time over money.

  • Plant a garden from seeds. For a few dollars you can buy soil, seeds and pots and become a gardening family!
  • Find fun in your own backyard. A bubble machine, hula hoops and a badminton set may be a small investment with big returns. 
  • Plan trips to parks, aquariums, and museums. A family pass may be a good investment and if you go often enough may cost very little per visit. Many offer free admission days or may not charge for children. Through your company, you may also be able to access discounts on tickets, so definitely check on that!
  • Visit the library. Between story hours, arts and crafts workshops, or even a chance to learn chess, you may have a great resource right in your town for programs that either charge a small fee or are free.
  • Eat out. Outside that is. Plan cookouts on the grill and pack picnics for outdoor events.


Plan your vacation early

Planning ahead may pay off in the long run when it comes to your vacation. When people researched ways to cut costs—from deals on transportation or free things to do at their destination—and then set a vacation budget, they tended to spend less than when they spontaneously hit the road.3

Make a plan today to put money aside for this summer, and perhaps even start your summer fun fund for 2024. The further out you start your plan, the more likely you are to have the funds needed to meet your goals, without turning to more costly ways to pay like credit cards, which may rack up interest rates. Your Goldman Sachs Ayco coach can help you set short-term goals like a summer budget, as well as long-term goals like saving for retirement. Connect with a coach today!


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