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It’s Summer! While most of us are still at work, our kids want to stay busy too. In this blog, I will tackle some budget friendly activities that you can do with your family this summer.

But first, let’s start with planning for next year.

Dependent Care

Many companies offer Dependent Care as part of their benefit package. This allows you to set aside a certain amount of money from your pay check (before taxes) and pay it towards child care. Many summer care programs qualify for Dependent Care. Before signing up, check your account and make sure that the program qualifies to be paid for with Dependent Care.

Gifts for Kids

If your kids are like mine, they have more toys than they can play with. Ask your friends and family to gift experiences, rather than toys for your kid’s birthdays and Christmas. I did this last year and my kids got a nice mix of toys, clothes, and experiences. Some ideas for you are: Restaurant gift cards for special treats through the year, movie passes, museum memberships, concert tickets, dance lessons, and pool passes. When I am ready to use a gift card or certificate, I remind my kids who gifted the experience.

Now, we can get to the fun stuff!

  • Check your local library for summer programs and activities. Just a quick search on our local library’s website and I see so many options. Most libraries offer activities like Story Time for the littles and technology workshops for your teenagers.  Other activities I see are movie nights, concerts, dance parties, and gaming events. The best part- most of these events are FREE!
  • Buy a season pass or membership. If you plan on taking your family somewhere often, check and see if they offer a membership or season pass.  Mid-America Museum is a great example! A family of five would cost $44 plus tax for a one-time visit. By getting a family membership for up to five people, you would pay $85 which means you can go twice and it would pay for itself. A membership also gets you extra benefits that will save you even more.
  • Check Groupon. Whether you are on vacation or enjoying a one-day outing, Groupon may have a discount for you. After searching, I found a 90-minute jump pass for four people at a trampoline park, including attractions for half off.
  • Aquatic & Fitness Centers. Contact your local aquatic and fitness centers to see what programs they are offering. Even a quick trip to the pool for swim lessons can be a fun activity for your kids.
  • Outdoor Activities. Do you have a lake, river, or National Park nearby? Many National Parks offer events throughout the summer for kids. Another idea is to take a picnic to the lake and spend the day in the water.
  • Movies. Many movie theaters offer discounted movies and popcorn during the week for kids. Also, several communities show ‘drive in’ movies during the summer for FREE (Movies in the Park every Wednesday in the Little Rock River Market).
  • Bowling. Kids Bowl Free is a program that many bowling centers participate in. Sign your child up and he or she can bowl for free all summer.
  • Kids Eat Free. Check with your local restaurants to see which ones offer a day or night where kids eat free.

Let’s make this a summer of FUN and SAVINGS!