Summertime fun can come at a steep price. The carefree spirit of the season means spending more on travel and entertainment — and saying goodbye to your budget.

Families with children face unique challenges. Many parents take on debt for a family vacation or summer activities. According to NerdWallet, over 4 in 5 parents with kids under 18 plan to charge an average of $1,019 to their credit cards to pay for a summer vacation. The same study found that parents of children 3-17 plan to spend $471 per child on summer activities.

As a father, I understand the urge to overspend in the name of giving your child a fulfilling summer vacation. But as an experienced bankruptcy lawyer Memphis has turned to, I also know that even well-intentioned credit card debt has lasting consequences.

The good news is that a well-spent summer and smart budgeting aren’t mutually exclusive. I hope the following budgeting tips help your family plan a rewarding break while keeping your finances on track.

1. Take advantage of free activities.

Some of the best things in life — and the best parts of summer — are free. With a bit of research, you can fill up the family calendar with activities that don’t hurt your budget. Some of my personal recommendations include free Tuesday afternoons at the Memphis Zoo and the Pink Palace Museum, but I’d love to hear your favorite local budget-friendly tips.

2. Cut down on camp costs.

The high costs of child care are often where families go above their budget. According to the American Camp Association, the cost of an average day camp is $304 a week. Camps focused on the arts, sciences, or sports can get as high as $1,000 per week. Local park programming or other public-run camps are a cost-effective alternative. Many even offer financial assistance or sliding-scale fees.

3. Rethink your vacation plans.

When it comes to summertime overspending, travel is a big culprit. According to a 2017 survey from Learnvest, 74% of Americans have gone into debt for a vacation, racking up an average of $1,108 per trip.

There are many affordable ways to build the same memories of a pricier trip. Staycations, camping trips, and visits to national parks are all great alternatives. For other ideas on cutting travel costs, read our recent blog post on avoiding vacation debt.

4. Go outside.

This one sounds simple, but it truly is a money saver. You can lower cable costs and pause your gym membership by simply taking advantage of our beautiful weather and spending time outdoors. Since the days are longer, why not use the lighter evenings to enjoy an affordable night out in Memphis?

Talk to a Bankruptcy Lawyer Memphis Trusts

As a bankruptcy lawyer Memphis has trusted for more than 30 years, I’ve helped thousands of people turn their lives around. I can do the same for you. We also offer a free program to our clients, 7 Steps to a 720. It takes work, but you can get there even within a year of bankruptcy.

If you have questions or concerns, we are happy to discuss your options at no cost. Contact us here or call (901) 327-2100 to get started today.