by Lisa McCarthy
I could hear the kids chanting from the school parking lot as I got out of my car, "SUMMER, SUMMER, SUMMER!"
Ah summer, yes it's finally here! This wonderful time of year is where some of the best childhood memories are made!
As a parent, I want summer to be a magical time, but I also know how it can be a bit of a strain on the family budget -- sometimes without even realizing it! How do you start teaching your kids how to budget?
The first week of summer, between movie outings, beach, and water park invitations, I realized that I was shelling out a lot of $5.00, $10.00 and $20.00 fees just to keep my daughter feed and entertained. So, we decided to instill some budgeting lessons in our summer activities! Of course we didn't sit down and have finance 101, but we did talk to her about making choices on her spending.
Vending machine snacks, tourist trinkets, buying drinks and snacks at the beach all offer valuable money lessons on spending choices. I found that my daughter would give up camp vending machines everyday if it meant a Friday night sleep over with a friend.
Touristy shops on our family vacation means a choice between buying some little trinket that will be lost or broken before we get home, or some "extra" fun family activity. Bringing our own snacks and drinks to a trip to the beach means an ice cream cone on the boardwalk.
It's amazing to find out how creative you can be, and how much money you can save, by helping them budget their summer spending.
Although my daughter did tell me yesterday that the ice cream truck is non-negotiable! I have to say, I am secretly kind of glad of that decision, because it brings back some wonderful childhood memories for me each time I hear the truck come down the street playing those silly songs!
What do you all save for as a family? What kinds of things do your kids want? Tell us in the comments!
Lisa Laughton McCarthy is a mom with a passion! As the founder of MoneySmartKidz and author of "The Money Tree," Lisa, takes delight in finding fun creative ways to help show young children the value of financial independence! Her first book "The Money Tree," with its eye-catching illustrations, is the answer to every parent who wants to give their child a head start on the road to financial independence.
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