Sunday, June 07, 2009

Question Of The Week

A summer budget. Almost everyone I know is on one. Losing a job or having a current one change....seem like good reasons to be careful with spending. And, if none of those issues have affected you, take a look at your 401K or stock portfolio. THAT will push you in the right direction. (And also likely give you nightmares!)

I actually like living on a budget at times. It forces me to find less expensive options for entertaining the kids. It encourages creativity. It gets us outside doing things I think should be parts of kids' lives, anyway. Picnics....nature walks....scavenger hunts....trips to the neighborhood pool. Free and fun!

We're big believers in memberships because they save us money. We received our zoo membership ($70 for the family) weeks ago and after 3 trips there already, it's paid for. The rest of the summer is bonus! Worlds of Fun ($100 per person) - the same. State Park passes (usually around $50 for the year) are great if you live in an area with many close by. We used ours in Colorado often, even just for a short late evening walk to see the deer. And, museums (about $80 for the family)....we have none right now....but I think these are the wisest investments for kids. Being indoors, they're comfortable year round. Plus, kids are learning while playing - one of my favorite tricks. All of this to say......if you're a family on the go, a membership or pass to a favorite destination will serve you well over the summer.

I'm working on making fun picnic food for the kids to keep this part interesting. McDonald's is easy - and we do that sometimes, too - but packing food at home is both cheaper and healthier. Fruit kabobs, pita pouch sandwiches, homemade snack mix....just to name a few.....need some more ideas!

***What are you doing to make summer more affordable? Travel, food, everyday suggestions....we could all use some inspiration, I'm sure. Share some of your ideas!


Julie {Angry Julie Monday} said...

We are doing athletics and swim lessons through the city we live in. It's a lot cheaper than going through private companies.

And we have Disneyland passes, of course..

Coco said...

Picnics at the park are a huge hit at our house. We do several a week.
And of course our neighborhood pool every night.

Sand box, new pool in the back yard, and a tiny garden for the kids. These are also a VERY inexpensive way to keep the kids outside.

Dee Stephens said...

I'm a big fan of picnics as well! On Sunday after church we would grab fried chicken and our tennis rackets and head to the park for lunch and some fun.

as for the soup recipe and diet..
check this out. Seriously, it does work. My Mom eats it all the time. You can lose up to 10pounds but of course it's water weight. It's a good kick-off detox!

Allyson and Dave said...

Season passes are a great investment. Expecially when you live in a theme park infested place like Orlando!!! One thing I love to is to have people over to the house for a dinner party. For less than the price of a fancy dinner out for two I can have 6-8 people over for one fabulous meal made by me. And no one else has to spend a penny. Or have a wii game night and just order pizzas. It is so much cheaper than going out.

Carrie said...

OK, so there is nothing better than homemade chicken nuggets for a picnic! I get chicken tenders and cut them into cubes. I spray them with "I can't believe it's not butter" spray, then roll them in a mixture of crushed corn flakes and a packet of dry ranch dressing mix. Then bake until done (20 mintues or so at 350). They are so good and good cold and no need for dipping! Grab some strawberries and you are good to go!

We are also big fans of the neighborhood pool...our's is a beach and hagen played in the sand for 3 HOURS on Saturday...he had a ball!!

starnes family said...

Great tips! Carrie.....uncooked chicken cubes? Can you use bread crumbs instead of corn flakes? Sounds good!

Anonymous said...

Yes, breadcrumbs will work too...not sure of the amount...just eyeball. The ranch powder makes all the difference! They almost taste better the next day...cold...out of the fridge! Put LOTS of coating on the nuggets!

Raw chicken bites...gross...that sounds nasty!

Watermelon is a HUGE hit in this house also! Nothing cuter than little ones eating a big slice of watermelon!!!

a snack my mom use to make us (when we were older...Hagen will not be eating htem for awhile) was to freeze green grapes. They make them slushy! Beware that they do not "last"...I mean, if you take a bag of frozen grapes and they start to thaw...they are nasty!

Amy said...

Like the first poster, we're doing some activities through our city's rec department - just finished a week of swim lessons - five lessons for $30 - so much cheaper than private lessons. Our neighborhood pool membership is priceless and we're there nearly every day. We're saving money with our weekly trips to the Farmer's Market for our fruit and veggie supply and my husband and I have started an at-home date night on Friday nights, we make homemade pizza (I've made a ton of wholewheat pizza doughs that are on hand in the freezer) drink some wine (he more than me!) and watch a movie or just cuddle on the couch and talk. SO much cheaper than an expensive dinner out PLUS a babysitter!

The Lenzers said...

We try to hit the park a few mornings a week before it gets too hot out. We have zoo passes so we go a 2-3 times a month for now, soon it will be even too hot for the animals. We always take a snack and/or lunch...too expensive to eat there (zoo). We make PBJ sandwiches for Connor and turkey for Colton. We love to take apple slices and cheese for snack. And of course in summertime...WATERMELON! Being prego it is a fave of mine too. Popsicle snacks in the evening on the back patio. We love picnics or just eating on the patio table for dinner. Everyone eats better outside. I want to get museum passes too-maybe next month when we take a zoo break! As far as your zoo post-that looks like a great zoo-so jealous. Except for the snakes-a little nasty and scary!

Malinda said...

I stopped going to Little Gym for the summer and joined a free playgroup instead. I was paying a lot of money for Cason to catch a virus every 3 weeks and miss a ton of classes.

I also found a free music class in the area that meets once a month.

One of my friends comes over to the house and we let our boys play on the waterslide and in our kiddie pool.

I am also finding these alternatives because Cason acts horrible in public right now.