Our family is preparing for summer activities, including both vacation and improvement projects around the house. Because of our recent problems with appliances and some unexpected school expenses, we won’t have as much money as we usually do for summer, so we are rethinking our vacation and the kinds of projects we will do. This means starting by looking at the projects we were planning on doing after last summer and determining if they are possible based on the current budget.

–        The cost of flying this summer is high, so we will be planning a road trip. While it really narrows our options, it has been about five years since we took a leisurely vacation. By returning to one of the bed and breakfasts that we enjoyed when the children were younger, we’ll get a lot of the same experiences as a hotel in a new place, but without the costs. It will be fun to see how much has changed, try out new restaurants, and spend some time enjoying the parks and beaches that we used to frequent. Maybe it isn’t as exciting as something brand new, but it will be enjoyable and far more relaxing.

–        Once we budget for vacation, my husband and I will look over potential projects for the summer and determine what will make the most sense and fits into a smaller budget. Since we will have more time (because of the reduction in vacation time), we will be able to do projects that are more time intensive (maybe painting the inside of the house, which gives a big bang for the bucks spent). Usually this is the most limiting factor, but this time around we’ll be able to make our decisions based largely on budget instead of time constraints.

–       The final expense will be summer activities for the kids. Our son has a part-time job, so for the first time we really only have to pay for our daughter’s activities. She and her father will set aside time to determine what she will do this summer. My son and I will continue to run (and I will pay for his participation), and we’ve told him we will cover a set amount of other activities, but anything over that cost will be his to pay for. If he chooses to forgo summer classes and events, we will deposit whatever money he doesn’t spend on activities to his savings account. Considering how much time he wants to work, this is the more likely scenario. He’s also thinking about his senior trip, so he is working to save money to cover the costs of a trip abroad. We do need to sit down and figure out what kind of budget we can cover for both kids’ summer.

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