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Now that summer is fast approaching I am getting the itch to go out and do things! I love camping, but we really don't have the money to be doing that right now. If we came across some extra money (like birthday money from my Dad or selling things on the TP) the responsible thing to do would be to save it. (we have no savings yet). Our budget is stretched to the limit and then some, so it's important for us to have a savings to fall back on just in case.<br><br>
BUT does this mean forgoing any fun family things (camping, zoo, etc...) until our savings is in place (which could take years!)?
 

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You might have to pick one thing. We have a zoo membership at $60 for the whole year and we go weekly.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br><br>
Put the chunk of it towards savings but keep a little bit for a splurge. $50-100.<br><br>
And if you're looking for fun outdoorsy stuff, see what's free in your area. We have a whole network of bike paths here. They follow rivers, go to nearby shopping centres, other towns, historical sites, lakes etc. In the summer they're used for biking/hiking, in the winter you can cross country ski/snowshoe/hike. For FREE! Isn't that amazing? Take a picnic lunch and you're good for the day.<br><br>
We also have a couple lakes with parks. You can go swimming, take a good book, picnic/BBQ, hang out all day for free.<br><br>
Or if you live in a more urban area, drive to the countryside, park the car and walk on rural roads. Take a picnic. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I love eating outside. It's surprising fun and feels special.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>i'mmykid'$mom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7956592"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">You might have to pick one thing. We have a zoo membership at $60 for the whole year and we go weekly.</div>
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We pick and choose as well. The outdoor pool is $100 for the summer. My mom buys this as the kid's birthday present. Our public zoo is free and I spend $20 for a year's pass to our national seashore. Between the 3 places, we have somewhere to go any day in the summer, all I have to do is pack a lunch and budget some gas money.<br><br>
Last year my mom skipped the pool pass and we spent the summer in the backyard with a second hand kiddie pool. We still had a good time, but we are very thankful to have the pool option this year. It gets so dang hot here in the summer.<br><br>
And when we go, it is a big deal. We have our favorite camp site when we go camping. We have our favorite picnic spot at the park. It becomes 'our' day and 'our' zoo for the day. I make some special cookies to pack and the kids are blissed out.<br><br>
But yeah, I hear your dilemma. You need some savings. Set a goal for yourself. I don't know what you can spare, but anything is better than nothing. Set yourself a savings goal and when you reach it treat your family with a picnic/park/beach day. It doesn't have to be expensive, just fun. Keep you goal small, so you are sure to reach it. When you have met that goal, make another. And keep the fun days coming so you don't get down.<br><br>
Bigs hugs to you. I know what it is to be tight. We have lived a lot of years with little extra. We have a bit more coming in now, but it all goes to pay down student loans, so we haven't seen much of a lifestyle adjustment.
 

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I agree with the above poster. Many communities have great free places to go for a picnic or a hike and that is free. Also, look for free entertainment during the summer. Many times you can find some free outside music, Shakespeare in the park, festivals, etc. And you can always camp in your backyard (or in a friend's backyard!). We are just coming out of a crunch place in our budget and last summer we spent very little on going out and looked hard for free things! But you know, we had a great time! Sometimes I would just make pb and j and go to the playground. Yard sales were also kind of fun.... I would take the kids out to eat but we would get pizza slices and bring our own drink. Or we would go and get ice cream cones. Good luck!
 

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Your kids are still young, so they just are happy spending time as a family. I second the free things that go on during the summer. Also, many museums and such have a free day during the month.<br><br>
That said, I think its always important to spend some time having fun, no matter how tight your finances. They are only young once and eventually will notice if you spend time together doing things or not. The bills might always be tight.....but the kids will grow and need the memories that you can help give them.<br><br>
Many memories can be free but the occasional expense towards doing something, is well worth it IMO.<br><br>
We grew up really poor but did lots of activities cuz we took advantage of the freebies, festivals, and park trails.<br><br>
Good luck!<br>
rebecca
 

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You can strike a balance of free and cheap with some savings. Ask for activities, instead of toys, for any upcoming birthdays if possible. Decide the 1 or 2 things you love the most and go for it if at all possible but then save the rest. We have always done that, our most expensive thing together just as a family ever was renting a yurt for 2 nights. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Also, if you are low to moderate income ASK FOR FREEBIES and scholarships! When I was on unemployment, I was able to keep the Y membership for $12, go to the Aquarium for free, use all of the "pay what you can" museum days to pay $1 and get a free session of a playgroup. I like to donate to these sorts of things now, because I think they are really important.
 
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