Spring break falls right between Christmas and summer vacation - two of the bigger spending seasons of the year. Just when you think you're out of the woods and can start putting away some money, you find yourself booking hotel rooms and airline tickets. If your checkbook took a beating this past winter, the time to get things back on track is now. Remember, summer vacation is right around the corner, so saving as much as you can on spring break while enjoying your time with the kids is crucial to maintaining your budget.
1. Consider a Staycation
Why take an expensive vacation thousands of miles from home when you can find plenty of fun activities for your kids in and around your home? Try playing some of the old-school games from your childhood like Kick the Can, Four Square, and Capture the Flag. You can also have picnics at local parks, plan a few cook-in nights where the kids help out, or even a night of camping out in your own backyard. If you want to save money over spring break, you're going to have to get creative and find fun and cheap things to do with your kids.
2. Investigate Local Options
Do a quick search of your state's tourism website. More than likely, you can find several great diamond-in-the-rough entertainment ideas for your family that are cost-friendly and right in your own backyard. Try a trip to a nearby state park, visit a fun museum, or go on a nature walk. If you don't feel like paying for a guided tour, print out some information from the Internet and give a fun tour to your kids by yourself.
3. Create Your Own Games
Here's where creativity really comes into play. In most cases, your kids are going to be tantalized by anything that's out of the norm. Stack up some old stuffed animals on a couch and have a shooting contest with super balls, or throw an old garbage bag over a fence opening. Take turns kicking a soccer ball at it and call the game Destroy the Ghost. The more creative the idea, the more your kids are going to enjoy it.
4. Use Deal of the Day Websites
Websites like Groupon or LivingSocial usually have plenty of kid-friendly deals available. Sign up to have vouchers for discounts on fun activities sent right to your inbox. Saving 50% on putt-putt golf is a great way to enjoy spring break with your kids without killing your checking account.
5. Look for Free Stuff To Do
If a discount isn't good enough, dig a little deeper to find free entertainment options. Do a simple Internet search for "fun and free kids activities" in your city, and you might be surprised what you can find. Festivals, events, even instructional classes devoted to children are common year round. All it takes is a little research.
The majority of Americans just got hit with a tax increase, so cutting back on expensive vacations is essential to avoiding the trap of credit card debt. Forgo fancy hotels in exotic locales and look for any way to decrease your spending over spring break. If you can, you're going to have more money put away to spend on a fun summer vacation, or to put toward those debts you're trying to climb out from.
What are your plans for spring break?