Tips for Choosing and Affording Fall Activities as a Family
Fall is an exciting and often busy time for parents and families with school-aged children. You’ve got Friday night lights, school field trips, homecoming, that annual family trek to the pumpkin patch and so many other events. It can be both busy and expensive!
Here are five valuable tips to guide you through this costly time of year.
Family Meeting: Creating expectations now will go a long way in keeping the family peace as events come and go. Sit down with your school calendars, team calendars, etc., and prioritize the events in which you will participate for the next few months. Decide which activities are worth the investment of time and money, and which ones you can skip this year.
Involve Your Kids in the Budget: It’s absolutely acceptable to communicate with your children that everything can’t be a priority financially. It’s also okay to let them pay for non-essential expenses, if they really want to participate in something that doesn’t make it to the final family calendar. If little Susie really wants to attend the Fall festival at school, let her buy her own food or pay to play games. If your older children want to drive to those “away’ football games, they can pay the gas or food. This not only eases the financial burden, but also teaches them valuable money management skills.
Homecoming Dress Swap: Who says you can’t wear the same dress twice? Pretty much every female, ever. But what if they wear someone else’s dress? Instead of forking out $100 or more for a dress, gather a bunch of the girls together for a homecoming dress swap. They can either borrow or trade dresses, all while saving money and not breaking any fashion rules.
Explore Free Activities: Who doesn’t love a great pumpkin patch? Of course, by the time you buy the pumpkins, pay for the hay ride and sometimes even pay an entrance fee, you could be out of money. Look for cost-effective or free alternatives. Nature trails with Fall leaves and parks with beautiful scenery are good choices for a budget-friendly experience.
Shop Smart and Early: Although Christmas is a few months away, it’s never too early to start saving on holiday shopping. Amazon has another round of Prime Days next week, where you might find some great deals. And, of course, buying gifts early provides the luxury of selecting cheaper shipping options.
You can do this! With some planning and open communication, you and your family can make it through what is often the most expensive time of year without the added hurt feelings and family drama.