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Posts tagged with: summer plans

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!


Finding Free Fun

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This past weekend we took a spur of the moment trip to a Sustainable Living Fair at a university about an hour from us. It was free and open to the public and had some cool things for kids to do per the website.  I had no idea what to expect but with my eye on the prize of land and home, I thought that they might have some really cool stuff. Got the kids up and headed out after seeing it on Facebook that same morning. (I love all the stuff I find on Facebook!)

Anyways, it wasn’t quite as big as I had hoped but we did see some cool stuff and I got more fodder for my plan making. But that led the kids to saying…”Mom, we should do more stuff like this on days we have free.” Now lets be honest, during the school year, “free time” is few and far between. We have Sea Cadet drill once a month, gymnastics meets once a month, FTC Robotics competitions once a month and who knows what else on that odd free weekend we might have.

But after having such a good time together AND getting their feedback, I have decided to plan for some of these fun, free, cool things this summer. Putting them on the calendar as I ferry them out so we have some fun things to do if we are free! I’ve found a local website that lists all the activities for our area…all within an hour of us.  I can’t wait to find festivals we can attend, sites we can see, artists off free viewings/shows.

Last summer we traveled ALOT and the kids went to ALOT of camps.  This summer we are doing none of that.  No, I take that back, the kids will go for one week each to a local camp which my dad helps pay for as their Christmas present.  So having these fun things in sight will help take the monotony out of it, not to mention our apartment complex has a pool which we will make good use of, yeah!

Our local website is HamptonRoads.com and they have an event calendar.  Have you checked out what you can do for fun and free this summer?


A New Budget – Hope

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To make it easier for find the history here, I am starting this with links to my original money posts:

The Nuts and Bolts detailed my monthly budget. That’s changed.

Hump Day is Hope Day gave a pretty thorough explanation of my debt as I started this journey at BAD and my plan of action for tackling it. Then I updated my debt numbers as I evaluate a new plan.

I Got a New Job details how I started a part time job in order to increase my income and expedite this pay off journey. Still going strong though I have cut down to 8 hours per week for the summer.

Then, I wrote about how I have decided to change my plan of action after evaluating comments from the BAD community and looking at my near future (next couple of years) and housing situation.

So here we are, summer plans are in full affect and we have already returned from our first of two long road trips planned for this summer.  This week all four kids are involved in FREE activities: vacation Bible school for the little ones and robotics camp for the twins.  Not only are the twins volunteering their time running this robotics camp but it will fulfill their fundraising obligation for their competitive team next fall.

So let’s start with the new budget numbers:

 

Rent 1325
Groceries 600
Utilities – Gas, electric, water & sewage 350
Life Ins 23
Auto & Renter’s Insurance 150
Netflix 8
Verizon 211
Internet 57
Dropbox 10
Car Expenses 300
Kids Activities 100
Kids School 175
Landscaping 120
Kids Spending 240
Total Monthly Budget 3669
Student Loans 0
Car Loan – NV 696
Line of Credit 218
Retail Card 99
Credit Card 150
Joint Account 0
Car Loan – Honda 0
Total Minimum Payment 1163
Total Monthly Output 4832

You’ll notice some changes between my initial budget and this one. I’m just going to point out a couple:

  1. I am no longer paying my ex-husband’s life insurance so that bill got cut in half.  Granted it’s just 20-something dollars, but every little bit helps, right?
  2. The item that once was kid’s allowance is now kid’s spending money.  They must now earn it with work around the house, outside of their family chores so that may flux a bit.
  3. As you’ve seen with my kids’ activities/school, that money is collected from month to month and then spent when needed.

One last note, I have decided to take the BAD community’s advice on our landscaping line item at the end of this summer. With all the travel already planned it just not practical right now.  So this will 1) give me time to research the tools we need and 2) save the money to purchase them.  Any suggestions on lawn equipment would be greatly appreciated…remember I am not mechanical so we really need to start off with something that doesn’t need work to work.  We have about 1/2 acre to maintain every week and a HOA who will make sure it is done every week so I’ve got to get mentally prepared to make that happen.

Note: I’m still working on my debt pay off plan and should have that up next week along with estimated pay off dates.