Smart Summer Spending Tips for Families

Summer is a time for fun, relaxation, and making memories with your loved ones. However, it can also be a season of increased spending if you’re not careful. From vacations and outings to everyday expenses, it’s easy to see your budget take a hit during these warmer months. To help you enjoy a fantastic summer without breaking the bank, here are some smart summer spending tips for families.

1. Plan and Set a Budget

Before the summer kicks off, sit down with your family, and discuss your plans. Create a list of activities, trips, and events you’d like to experience, and estimate the costs for each. Set a realistic budget that accounts for these expenses and stick to it. Planning ahead allows you to allocate funds appropriately and avoid last-minute, costly decisions.

2. Take Advantage of Free and Low-Cost Activities

Many communities offer free or low-cost summer activities, such as outdoor concerts, movie nights, and festivals. Check your local community calendar for events and activities. Public parks, beaches, and hiking trails are excellent places for affordable family fun. Museums and zoos often have discount days or free admission days, so be sure to take advantage of these opportunities.

3. Have a Staycation

A staycation can be just as enjoyable as a vacation if you plan it right. Explore your city as if you were a tourist: visit local attractions, try new restaurants, or spend a day at a nearby park or beach. A staycation saves on travel and accommodation costs, allowing you to enjoy the comforts of home while still creating memorable experiences.

4. Plan Picnics and BBQs

Eating out can quickly add up, so why not plan a few picnics or BBQs instead? Pack a lunch and head to a local park or beach or invite friends & family over for a backyard BBQ. Not only are these options budget-friendly, but they also provide a relaxed atmosphere to spend quality time with your loved ones.

5. Save on Travel

If you do decide to take a trip, there are several ways to save on travel costs:

  • Book Early: Secure flights and accommodations early to take advantage of lower prices.
  • Be Flexible: Traveling mid-week or during off-peak times can result in significant savings.
  • Use Rewards: Utilize credit card points, airline miles, or hotel loyalty programs to reduce costs.
  • Consider Alternatives: Look into alternative lodging options like vacation rentals, which can be more affordable and offer amenities like kitchens to save on dining out.

6. DIY Summer Projects

Get creative with DIY projects that the whole family can enjoy. Whether it’s building a treehouse, starting a garden, or crafting homemade games, DIY projects can be both fun and cost-effective. They also provide valuable bonding time and a sense of accomplishment when completed.

7. Take Advantage of Summer Sales

Summer is a great time to find sales on a variety of items. Stock up on essentials during sales events and consider shopping end-of-season sales for discounts on summer apparel and gear. Use coupons, cashback apps, and loyalty programs to maximize your savings.

8. Teach Your Kids About Money

Summer is an excellent opportunity to teach your children about budgeting and saving. Give them a small budget for summer activities and help them plan how to use it. This not only teaches valuable financial skills but also helps them understand the importance of smart spending.


With a little planning and creativity, you can enjoy a fun-filled summer without overspending. By taking advantage of free activities, planning cost-effective outings, and making smart financial decisions, your family can create lasting memories without the stress of financial strain. Remember, the best summer experiences don’t have to come with a high price tag—they come from the moments you share and the memories you make together.

For more financial tips and resources, visit our Financial Education Center.

Enjoy your summer wisely!