Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cheap Summer Fun!

I was thinking about how fast the summer is flying by and our family has neither the time, or the finances to make it a Real Vacation. What is a family to do in these difficult financial times?
As I was thinking about this, I came across some great ideas at ABCnew.com.
Americans love going to baseball games, amusement parks, the beach, and on vacation when the kids are out of school.
But this year, financial woes are dampening many families' plans.
There are still plenty of ways to have summer fun on a budget.
You can picnic, take a hike, go camping, go to the beach or take advantage of numerous other free outdoor adventures.

But not everything is free.
Looking to save more money? Consider your local minor league team.
"Minor league baseball is a lot of fun and they are building these new, small stadiums that are really intimate and the players aren't rich and spoiled yet. So often times, you get a better baseball game out of it for a lot cheaper," said Charles W. Bryant, who co-hosts Stuff You Should Know on Howstuffworks.com along with Josh Clark.
Many stadiums also offer deep discounts for the worst seats in the house -- those that might have a pole right in front of you. Buy those tickets and then see if you can sneak closer. Or roam around the public spaces in the stadium.
Free Movies

Summer is a great time to be outdoors. Clark notes that many communities offer free music or movies in the park.
"The park in the summer time is just a great place to do things for free," Clark said.
More of a blockbuster movie person?

"When I was I kid, my mom used to go to the bulk candy store, load up and basically stuff it in her purse and carry it in. I would never advocate someone breaking the law like that, but you can save some money by going to a matinee," Clark said.
Also consider drive-in theaters, which usually offer two movies back to back.
Another option for many families are summer programs at local youth centers or community organizations.
For instance, America's 2,686 YMCAs offer a number of programs for families, such as camping, swimming, as well arts and humanities programs, sports and teen leadership classes.
"At YMCAs across the country, we don't turn people away from inability to pay," said spokeswoman Mamie Moore.
There is also help for families who have lost jobs. The YMCA of Metro Atlanta, for example, is supporting members who have lost a job by offering financial assistance so they can keep their memberships by paying the full dues for up to three months. Ask your own local YMCA if they can offer the same deal.
One last idea... help your kids get a better understanding of the value of the dollar, and make a couple of bucks. Help them build and then open a lemonade stand in the front yard. The pride they will acheive making their own money is invaluable. With their own money, they can then buy their own icecream when the "Ice Cream Truck" drives by.
There are plenty of things the family can do for fun while respecting the budget. There is alot to be said about "unplugging" and having some good old fashioned fun this summer...so get out there and PLAY! See you when the street light come on...