Budgeting for Family Activities

Families want to spend time together and have fun but it is important to make sure you are not going over budget when you do so. There are plenty of ways to have fun spending no money at all which can give you a dose of entertainment throughout the week. Of course, there is nothing wrong with planning a special treat to add to your family scrapbook collection and taking the time to determine how you will pay for these luxuries will help you keep your mind off your wallet when those special activities come so everyone has a good time.

Budgeting and Saving

The first step toward budgeting for family fun is deciding what you are saving for. Whether you are planning a special vacation or setting aside extra cash for the occasional trip to the movies you will need so set aside some savings. Get an idea of how much extra you have each month after monthly bills and other savings requirements have been taken care of and determine how much of that amount you want to dedicate to family fun. Set this money aside in a savings account or other secure place so you can help yourself whenever you need it.

Once you know what you can afford to spend, get an idea of how everyone in your family would like to spend it. Ask what each member of your family would like to do and get an idea of what each of these activities will cost. Heading to the local science museum will not require the same kind of budget planning as a trip to the amusement park. You may have to schedule some activities a few months in advance to make sure you have enough money to take care of all of the costs that are involved.

If you are planning a special activity like a vacation or trip to an amusement park this will probably be much more expensive than the other activities you usually do together. In order to avoid eating into your savings to pay for these treats you may need to forgo extra outings in the meantime. Discuss these budgeting concerns with your family so everyone understands why you are changing the schedule and can help you come up with cost-effective solutions. Substituting a night out at the movies for renting a DVD from the library and skipping a trip to a restaurant once a week can quickly add up.

Activities do not all have one flat rate that you will need to pay. Ticket prices, snacks, gas, lodging and other costs might also play a factor in what you will have to pay. Decide how you will handle all of these costs before you take off for your family outing so you do not wind up impulse spending once you get there. Decide on optional costs as well such as whether or not you will visit the gift shop or stop for ice cream on the way home so you have a definitive answer for anyone who brings up these options.

When budgeting for family activities do not forget to keep your overall goal in mind. Consider making a fun chart to show your family how close you are to meeting your savings goals so you have a reminder of why you are setting money aside. If you are planning for an activity that is a ways away start a countdown or plan ways for everyone to help prepare such as organizing menus or cleaning gear to keep everyone excited and looking forward to all of the fun you have planned.

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