When school breaks for summer, many families find themself battling to find balance between work, family time, and well-earned vacations. Filling the kids’ time is often a combination of expensive summer camps, daytime excursions, and family trips. Before you know it, your credit card bill is sky high and there are still weeks to fill before Labor Day. This summer, find ways to maximize your family fun while minimizing the strain on your bank account. With a little strategic planning, you can have a fun, memorable summer without breaking the bank. At Moody Bank, we think these summer budgeting tips and affordable vacation ideas will help fill your summer and avoid a financial hangover in September.
Budgeting for Vacation
To keep your finances in check this summer, create a vacation budget that takes into account all the fun things your family would like to do. Starting a summer savings account and cutting back on unnecessary expenses throughout the year are great ways to help cover your vacation costs. If you do not have a savings account to dip into for summer excursions and vacations, you may need to shift your normal budget around to find room for the extra costs associated with summer break. Keep track of how much you spend this year so you will know how much to save for vacation next year.
Simple Choices that Save
Hit the movie theater in the afternoon. If you have taken your family to see a movie lately, you know that it is not a cheap outing. By planning your visit before 4pm, you can pay the matinee price and save money on each ticket. Many theaters also offer a discount day each week when all show times are cheaper. Check the summer movie schedules in your area as some national chains offer free kids movies once a week. Plan your visits around the free movie schedule, and your entire family can get a break in the air conditioning for only the price of a few popcorn trays.
Bring snacks everywhere you go. The price of food at airports, restaurants, and convenience stores has increased beyond the inflation we are seeing at the grocery store. A little planning can save you big dollars when hunger hits the kids. Take the extra time to pack some snacks so you will not be pulled in to overpriced, unhealthy treats when you are out and about. For even more savings, buy the big bag instead of individually pre-packaged snack sizes. You can divide the servings into your own containers or bags before you travel.
Choose lodging with included amenities. If you plan to travel over the summer, sort your hotel choices by amenities. Many hotel chains offer free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and even allow pets which will save you boarding or pet sitter expenses. Little savings like these can add up over the summer and allow you to come in under budget on your summer fun.
Travel during the week. If your schedule allows it, choose to travel during less popular weekday times. Many airlines and hotels allow you to search a calendar of rates so you can choose the least expensive time to travel.
Vacation with friends. Traveling as a group has its advantages. Not only can you qualify for group discounts on attractions, renting a home to share instead of individual hotel rooms adds up to big savings. Plan out your vacation as a group and assign each person a night to cook dinner. Not only will you save money, but you will also make great memories spending time with your friends or family.
Hit the road. Cut out the airfare costs and consider taking a road trip. Not only will traveling by car make it easier to pack your own food and snacks, but it will also open you up to spontaneous adventures. With your car handy you can choose to explore new campsites around Lake Jackson or Lake Somerville. Traveling in an RV can save you even more money since you are bringing your lodging with you. With RV loan financing your vacation plans are as simple as picking a spot on the map.
Invest in your favorite places. If your family has favorite spots for summer fun, invest in a season pass or membership. Paying upfront for entertainment makes it easy to fill your summer hours and costs less than numerous single-price admission tickets. Museums, waterparks, and even movie theaters offer season passes and ticket bundles to help you save money on the places your family loves to go.
Vacation Ideas Close to Home
A staycation may be the best way to cut back on your summer spending this year. There are many amazing family vacations in Texas on a budget. Here are five fun things to do around Texas this summer:
CityPASS - This nine-day pass includes admission and priority access to the Downtown Aquarium, Houston Museum of Natural Science, and Space Center Houston. You will also choose two additional Houston attractions to visit with your choice of the Houston Zoo or Museum of Fine Arts and Children’s Museum of Houston or Kemah Boardwalk. Visit Houston CityPASS for more information about this Houston adventure.
Bicycle Tour - Explore Austin from a new perspective as you and your family bike around the city. Customizable bicycle trips can take you to swimming holes, restaurants, and lake trails. Great summer memories will be made when you ditch the car and try something new.
Aquarium - The Austin Aquarium is more than just tanks of beautiful fish. Immersive experiences connect families to rainforests, deserts, and ocean life. Feeling brave? Hand feed sharks, stingrays, and birds. Hold a snake and pet a crocodile. Your families will take tons of selfies and make great summer memories at this local attraction.
Dolphin Sightseeing Tour - Pods of dolphins are waiting to greet you on the Gulf Coast. Boat tours leaving Galveston offer shaded rides with experienced guides. You will search for dolphins and learn a bit about the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico.
Historic Pleasure Pier - When you are not in the water, you will find waterfront entertainment for the whole family at the Historic Pleasure Pier on Galveston Island. Midway games, rides, shopping, and restaurants will round out your day and complete the summer fun.
Are you financially ready for summer? Offering the best savings accounts in Houston, Moody Bank has the tools you need to plan the ultimate summer vacation.