School is out, and millions of moms around the country are gearing up for summer! At Mamapedia we are seeing hundreds of thousands of moms sharing advice and wisdom around their best strategies for summer -- last-minute summer camp planning, family travel strategies, and doing everything possible to keep the kids active and away from the TV/computer.
This year, the economy has moms asking each other for the best ways to get everything done -- but on a much tighter budget. This past week we did a survey of over 700 moms and found that 41% of them were cutting back spending "a lot" and fully 97% of them were cutting back at least somewhat.
What are Mamapedia moms advising for keeping summer fun on a tighter budget?
Unpack the vacation: In past years the family may have gone to a full-service resort or packaged vacation, relying on the resort's kid programs, sightseeing tours and theme park rides to "do the entertaining for you". This year many moms are simply taking that back into their own hands -- they are keeping the vacation closer to home, organizing the fun around town and with other neighborhood kids.
For instance, one mom suggests rotating a "day camp" at multiple mom's homes with a mix of older and younger kids (who may be too young for camp) -- and letting the older kids run the activities: "science experiments, building forts, obstacle courses, putting on a magic show," keeping them all away from the computer and teaching the older ones "leadership, planning and patience."
Practice "working": Moms who want to let their tween kids start gaining work experience -- but who are not yet ready for a real summer job -- will partner with another mom and send the kids to each others' homes to do chores and other "mommy's helper" duties for a little extra money. The work is more fun when done with a friend and they start to learn a new level of responsibility. And the moms, of course, get great help while keeping the kids busy.
Find water: For most kids, it simply isn't summer without water -- day trips to local pools, water parks and children's museums -- or even the front lawn -- are a must for cooling off and goofing off, and every kid is good and tired at the end of the day. You can ask other moms for local water parks and you will be surprised at how many "secret" kid-friendly water features there are in your area.
Even on a budget, it can be easy to assemble all the elements of a great summer -- to have new experiences, learn new responsibilities, spend time with friends and family and of course, to be deliciously exhausted at the end of an endless summer day. Perhaps that's why over 50% of our moms reported that adjusting their spending habits has actually been "Challenging but positive" or downright "Enlightening."