By Samuel Rosenberg
FINDING enough activities for your children during the summer school break can be difficult for any parent or guardian, but managing the potential financial nightmare of expenses within the family’s finances can make or break your family’s summer.
Not everything in life is free and when your children are out of school, there are a wide range of activities that will need to become part of your financial budget if you are to arrange a great summer, whatever their age.
Nevertheless, where you have no spare finances during the summer and perhaps need to take time away from work to look after your children, there are always plenty of activities that are available that will not break into a single dollar; but you will need to plan ahead.
Where your children’s activities are going to cost you more out of your budget, compared to study time at school, you may need to look into your current income and expenses to see where you can save money so that it can be spent elsewhere.
Should you let your air-conditioning run continuously? Take every opportunity to turn it off so you can save money on your electricity costs.
Consider changing your spending habits by cutting back on some regular activities so that the money can be redirected to your summer’s entertainment.
You do not have to eat out at expensive restaurants during the summer. A hike for all of your family with a fun picnic as your meal will be far cheaper than sitting in a hotel and you may have greater family time together as well!
Depending upon the age and skills of your children summer can be a great time for them to work and earn money with a seasonal job so that they can begin to understand the differences between income and outgoings and how to budget their spending.
For some children, carrying out volunteer work will be more productive than spending time roaming the streets and shopping malls.
Children and parents can prepare lists of activities that they intend to carry out during the summer and where there is a financial cost associated, a budget can be formed so that everyone understands how much the summer will cost. This will become your financial survivor’s guide and will include a mixture of treats and activities that are free to arrange, along with those that require real dollars.
Parents and guardians can take advantage of sharing activities which means that children may be spending time with friends, allowing one of the adults to continue to work while the other provides the supervision. Where children spend time at home, they will be spending less money.
It is not always essential to take children out to do things. Where they have listed a range of activities and tasks that they wish to complete during the summer, they will not be forced into carrying out tasks that they will not enjoy. Where they feel in control of their summer break, they are more likely to enjoy themselves which means that the adults will maintain financial control, with far less stress all around.
Samuel Rosenberg is the founder and CEO of Axcel Finance Ltd., the leading regional microfinance institution. Share your thoughts and email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org