How to Have the Best (Budget-Friendly) Summer Ever

This is our first full week of summer vacation. It’s going to take some serious creativity and planning to get past the bickering, tattling, and whining to make it our best summer ever!

With our new adoption placement, we’re already well on our way to an epic summer. But, I want it to be more than that. I want a fun, easy-going summer of play and bonding that none of us will ever forget. I want to look back on his first few months with us to the summer fun memory-makers, while blessedly forgetting the bickering and rocky transition I am sure is coming.

We have a few small travel plans. We have a lot of hometown tourist plans. And, I have a few tricks to make it an awesome summer! An amazing summer, at least in this family, is one that doesn’t cost a lot of money or take a lot of effort. It’s taken us a few years, but I think we’ve finally nailed it.

  • 8 Ways to Have an Awesome Summer 1 of 9
    How to Have an Awesome Summer

    It takes a little bit of planning and forethought to keep your sanity during the summer. Here are 8 great ideas to keep the kids, house, and budget under control:

  • Schedule Your Day 2 of 9
    How to Have  the Best Summer Ever - Schedule Your Day

    The school day has a structure to it, and my kids thrive on the routine. I love the laid back, lazy days of summer, but keeping at least some semblance of structure helps keep things under control. We have breakfast, outside time, lunch, then a semi-planned activity each day. That's followed by some quiet time — reading or movies are popular before our usual evening and dinner routines.

    Read more at Miscellaneous Mom

  • Leave the House 3 of 9
    How to Have the Best Summer Ever - Leave the House

    Just because we're home for the summer doesn't mean we have to stay at home! We visit parks, playgrounds, the library, and family fun spots all over the city. This is our chance to get out there and play hometown tourist. We try to take a quick afternoon field trip several times per week.

  • Pack Snacks 4 of 9
    How to Have the Best Summer Ever - Pack Snacks

    If left to their own devices, my kids would eat all day, every day. It always takes a few days of summer for me to remember I need to rein in the snacking or the grocery budget is going to skyrocket. I put our lunchboxes to use all year round by packing summer snackboxes with healthy, mom-approved snacks the kids can graze on all day. This gives them free reign ... but within limits.

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  • Create a Summer Kit 5 of 9
    How to Have  the Best Summer Ever - Create a Summer Kit

    To keep returns to the house and "emergency" stops for snacks, bandages, and sunscreen to a minimum, I keep a summer fun kit in the car. It took one too many trips to the bounce house with no socks, but now we have everything we need to spend a day in the city without spending a lot of money. It's a more grownup version of the well-stocked diaper bag.
    Read more at Inexpensively

  • Just Add Water 6 of 9
    How to Have  the Best Summer Ever - Just Add Water

    Nothing ruins a summer fun day like dehydration. Be sure to provide water breaks throughout the day — for both kids and adults! I keep a tumbler full of ice water to sip all day. The kids are drawn to fun water bottles, so they can fill one each morning and take it wherever they go. And don't forget to turn on the hose now and then — a good water fight cools everyone down, wears the kids out, and is a ton of fun!

    For tips on getting kids to drink water, visit Miscellaneous Mom

  • Take Advantage of Free Summer Fun 7 of 9
    How to Have the Best Summer Ever - Take Advantage of Free Summer Fun

    Our summer is filled with free bowling, afternoons at public splash parks, awesome library programs, and free movies. Check with your local parks and libraries for activities in your area. So far, I'm most excited about Superman's Birthday Party at our local library. We have 2 weeks to plan our costumes.

    Read more at Inexpensively

  • Turn Off the Oven 8 of 9
    How to Have  the Best Summer Ever - Turn Off the Oven

    It's just too hot to cook in the summer! Keep the kitchen cool with no bake recipes, grilling, and other summer cooking ideas. I'm also learning to use the crockpot for awesome summer recipes so dinner is ready after a day in the sun. And, our summer is never quite complete without a good cookout! S'mores optional. Kidding! They're totally a requirement.

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  • Get Outside 9 of 9
    How to Have the Best Summer Ever - Get Outside

    We have an official family rule that the kids are required to play outside after breakfast. It helps them burn a lot of energy right away so we aren't dealing with bouncy, crazy kids all day long. They can ride bikes, hula hoop, play with squirt guns or even choose a structured outdoor activity from Kidventures — our summer blueprint for outdoor fun.

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More from Heather:
And Tween Boy Makes Six
Kids, Pets, and Epic Messes: Welcome to Summer
12 Fabulous Cocktails for Your Summer Party

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