Money-savvy mom swears by these 5 things for a budget-friendly summer

"It doesn't have to cost $100 every time you leave the house."

It is possible to have fun this summer while not over over budget.

Honestly, there isn’t a season that doesn’t invite us to overspend. Autumn demands funds for school supplies and Halloween costumes, then there’s buying Christmas gifts in winter, followed by an expensive spring break vacation, and finally…summer. A time for camping ($), trips to the amusement park ($) and concerts ($$). It’s easy to see how no one can avoid going over budget each year.

But mom and money mentor Elyse says that these “five things” can help families not overspend without missing out on any summer fun.

“If you're a mom, and you are already dreading summer because you know that you're just going to spend money over and over and over again…I got you,” Elyse begins in a video posted to her TikTok. “It doesn’t have to cost $100 every time you leave the house, you just have to plan ahead.”

Number one: packing lunches.

“We are packing a lunch, snacks, drinks everywhere we go,” Elyse says. “Get a cooler, find one at a thrift store, get that cooler and pack it every single day. We are taking the, ‘We have food at home’ to ‘We have food in the car.’ The major exception. of course, being: I will always have money in the budget for ice cream. We can get ice cream on the way home.”
@thesavvysagittarius It doesn’t have to cost $100 every time you leave the house, you just have to plan ahead #budgetingwithkids #summerfun #summerbucketlist #debtfreejourney #debtfreecommunity ♬ original sound - Money Mentor - Elyse

Appreciate that she allows for the one treat that really matters. As one person rightfully put it, “there’s always money for ice cream.”

Second: opting for parks

“I live in Nebraska, and we have a lot of state parks available within driving range of where I live, but I think it's like $34 to get a state park sticker for the entire year in Nebraska ... it gives you access to so many other resources and so many places to go, but also just regular parks in general. We're going to the park. It's 8 a.m. Parks are always open, at least most of them,” she says.

Third: Hosting over going out.

“We are inviting friends over for meals. We're not going out for dinner. It's expensive. We don't need it. We are exercising our hospitality muscle this summer. Invite them over for coffee or tea or a meal or snack.”

Four: not hopping on the latest fashion trend of the season.

Rather, Elyse and her family will wear last year’s summer clothes, or buy secondhand. We are done consuming just to consume. Maybe this means I'm getting old but I am not following the summer's trend just because last summer's trend was slightly different. I'm not spending money on new clothes if the ones from last year already fit,” she says.

Last but not least, money saving tip number five: “a hose and a sprinkler or splash pads are the way to go.”

“I see so much pressure on social media, especially for moms to buy the big bounce house or the big pool or all the things,” Elyse explains. “My kid's three and he played in a puddle for 45 minutes yesterday. Some of my best memories are with a hose and a sprinkler.”

Elyse’s advice certainly resonated with folks, many of whom offered their own summer saving hacks.

“Our go-to is uncrustables, take it out of freezer and good by lunch time 😌 the library is also a great place to go! Rain or shine. Ours has events, play areas, and storytime,” one person wrote.

“Here in California you can also get a state park pass at the library to use for free,” added another.

A third wrote, “Find a friends with EBT or WIC and take part of the museums for all program.”

“Buy nothing groups are amazing too,” another person suggested, referring to the community groups on Facebook where neighbors can offer or take all kinds of items for free.

Sure, the opportunities to spend money will be everywhere this summer, but just as Elyse mentioned, having fun while being frugal just takes a bit of planning. But it’s totally doable, and you can still enjoy the important things…like ice cream.