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Summer Plan – Extreme Budget Style

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Matt’s recent post regarding his summer plans got me to thinking about our summer plans.  We are currently in that lull between our regular homeschool year (Sept-April) and more relaxed summer school as I wrote about last year.  And this time last year we were preparing for some serious travel…TN, GA, OK, TX…all in the name of kids’ activities and family time.  We are pretty adept at traveling on a budget but even then, travel is expensive when compared to staying home and even moreso when living on our extremely tight budget.

So what are we doing this year….

We have two out of state trips plans….

1) In June to see my grandmother, kids great-grandmother in GA.  We will drive, stay with her and it will be just for a long weekend.  We haven’t seen her in almost a year and let’s face it, she is not getting any younger.  Not to mention, we have always loved going.  But we haven’t and we need to.  So we are going.  Anticipated costs: $60-80 in gas and possibly $40 if she feels like going out to dinner one night.  These monies will come out of our MISC fund of our extreme budget.

2) In September to see my parents in GA.  My dad’s high school reunion will take place in September so we are going to go for a long weekend to see he and my mom.  We won’t be inviting them to visit this year for a number of reasons, so this will most likely be our only time seeing them this year.  Anticipated costs: $60-80 in gas and possibly $100 for groceries.  I don’t anticipate we will be on an extreme budget any more at this time, but only time will tell, if so, this money will come out of our $300 MISC monies.

Summer camps for the kids….

1) As I have mentioned before, one of my dad’s gifts to the kids at Christmas is to help pay for one week at a local camp that each of the kids attends for one week out of the summer.  I pay the difference for the little ones and social services pays the difference for the twins, it was the one extra benefit they gave me with the adoption…1 week of summer camp for each boy.  These camps are already paid for as I plan for it in December so it comes out of the old Kids Activities line item on our regular budget and I have held back that money for it.

2) This year we attended a local summer camp event…and we won one free week of camp for Little Gymnast from Sylvan Learning Center – woot, woot!  It was also there that I got the idea to ask about bartering for field hockey which my daughter has recently taken up…and just this week, the director of the program came back and said she would love to barter for a website.  So two free weeks of summer camp – one for each of the littles!

3) We received an email from the summer camp that the kids attend each summer seeking Jr. Counselors, but they needed to be 17.  Sea Cadet has expressed an interest in doing this, but he’s only 16.  I wrote them back and let them know that if they got desperate, he was interested.  They wrote me back and said they really wanted only 17 year olds, but they have a two week training program which they would love to have him in and that there was plenty of scholarship money.  I talked it over with Sea Cadet and he has applied to the training program, and I requested a 100% scholarship.  It does require written references and an interview so we are waiting to see if he gets in, but I think it will be a great experience for him AND open the door for him to work as a camp counselor next year if he still desires that.

4) We have always taken advantage of the local churches vacation Bible school programs for one or two weeks per summer; unfortunately, Princess has now aged out of most of them.  We did find one this year that will take both the littles, so they will be doing a half day there for one week.  They always love the programs and I love that it’s free and a positive experience.

5) I am considering a couple of other camps for the littles, because even with this lull they are already antsy, and I really need some dedicated work time this summer (more on that in another post.)  But I will most likely have to pay for those, so no commitments yet.  They range from $150-300 per week for just day camp depending on the hours and specialties.

6) Thusfar, Sea Cadet has not committed to any summer camps.  I don’t know if he is losing interest or just wants a break, but I’m just following his lead and imagine that he will end up attending at least one local camp this summer to maintain his eligibility to rank up.  Cost for those are $160 for 7-9 day camp.  I told him that as long as it was within a 3 hour driving radius from our home I would make it happen if he chooses.

Volunteering…

1) Robotics Camps – The three oldest will be volunteering at least 40, probably more hours, towards their robotics team (yes, Princess has joined it for this next year.)

2) With an eye on college – I am encouraging the twins to find some regular volunteer work to do possibly for the summer but definitely for the school year since they need to “spice” up their college transcripts entering into their junior year.

Work…

Both of the twins continue to work.  Sea Cadet is working part time 15-20 hours a week while History Buff has upped his hours to full tiem plus over time.  As proud as I am of History Buff, I worry that he is going to burn himself out and really miss out on his last summer of “fun” as next year they really will have to work to help pay for car insurance, etc. They both continue to save 50% of each of their paychecks without complaint and then have 25% towards “bills” in their checking account and 25% as fun money.

Visitors…

Since lofting the beds, we are much more comfortable in tiny space, so we’ve invited our best-est friends to come visit.  We will have two of my best friends their their 3 and 2 kids stay with us for a long weekend (two separate weekends, we’re not crazy.)  We are really looking forward to their visits and intentionally picked the weekends during times when the pool would be open.  Both friends are very aware of what I am doing so I do not anticipate much extra monies required, but we will probably use much of our MISC monies those months to buy more groceries.

Other plans…

I have in the back of my mind that we will be taking a couple other overnight trips but nothing nailed down yet.  One would be to start visiting some colleges and then some other small “fun” trip, but we will see.

I think that’s it for our summer plans.  Overall, I expect is will be a relatively “cheap” summer for us, and I am greatly looking forward to enjoying our apartment pool!

Hope

Follow a single mom's journey to be DEBT FREE while managing this crazy life's conflicted choices with regards to kids, pets, homeschooling days and self-employment!
The sorrow and joys of this roller-coaster overwhelm her at times, but she is committed to this course.
Hope plans to dig out of debt using any resource possible including her small business EPOH, her blog and any other resource that comes to mind!

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4 Comments

  • Reply Angie |

    Do you plan to squeeze into the Honda for all of your roadtrips? I bet you will love the gas savings compared to trips in your old van!

  • Reply Kili |

    Hi Hope,
    I am really amazed what you manage to pull of for the kids.
    It sounds like it will be a rewarding summer.

    • Reply Hope |

      Kili,
      I’m always pretty amazed too. I think it’s because I’m so good at Tetris 🙂 I love the puzzle of figuring out the schedules, the money (ugh!) and then balancing that with what I need.
      But I will say I’m getting much better at saying “No” and creating a work/fun balance not only for them but also for myself.

So, what do you think ?