Spring Break can be difficult when your family is living on a tight budget. At least you aren’t alone. A recent survey conducted by the MagnifyMoney, an organization that evaluates financial products and lenders across the US, has revealed 56% of the country has less than $1,000 in both their checking and savings accounts. Meanwhile, almost 25% have less than $100. Whether or not your finances align with these numbers, we could all stand to use our money more wisely. Keep reading to learn wallet friendly ways to celebrate the week with your family.
If travel is within your capabilities…
Very few of us live in the lap of luxury, and while we may not all have a private jet that can whisk us away to our own island, there are some budget-friendly ways of getting away this spring. Cancun, Panama City, and San Diego are three of the cheapest destinations according to Booking, a website devoted to finding and guaranteeing the lowest-priced hotels. In addition to using Booking, there are a variety of sites and apps that can help you keep your costs low, including:
- Kayak: The creators behind Kayak have created an app that can narrow down the cheapest flights, hotels, and rentals cars in over 40 countries.
- Waze: For those of you who are planning a short road trip around the country, Waze provides real-time traffic and navigation information, so you can plan the most efficient route possible. It’s also a great way to keep your kids (or whoever your co-pilot is) engaged.
- GasBuddy: Gas isn’t cheap, so it helps to know where to find the station with the lowest price per gallon. GasBuddy connects over 1.9 million users who update in real-time the cost of gas in any given area.
- Trail Wallet: Once everything’s been booked, this app helps you stay on budget by keeping track of your daily expenses. By programming your allowance into the app and inputting your purchases, you can see how close you are to meeting your max — without doing any mental arithmetic.
If travel isn’t within your capabilities…
A staycation is just as good — if not better — than a trip away. At the very least, you aren’t sidled with the stress of getting your family from A to B. The only trick behind it is keeping your kids occupied during the week they’re off from school, which is easier than done with a next to nothing budget. That’s why we’ve compiled the following free activities you can take on during Spring Break.
- Check out a local museum: Many of the States’ museums and historical sites come with admission, but there’s a growing trend for these destinations to ask for pay-what-you-can donations from their visitors while also offering free entry on particular nights.
- Schedule a visit with the fire hall: Who doesn’t want to visit their local heroes? If you have young children obsessed with firefighting, phone the nearest fire hall to see if they offer complimentary tours. They’re usually tied with basic fire safety lessons, so it’s an educational and fun outing.
- Check out local events: Depending on when Spring Break lands for your school district, it might coincide with local events centered around Easter and the beginning of the spring season. Go online or check out the local newspaper to see if there are any events, festivals, or workshops planned for the week your kids have off school.
These are just a few ways to occupy your kids’ time without resorting to endless craft and play-times throughout the week. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts to keep your costs low during the break, working parents know it’s not as simple as going to a free event. If you can’t take the week off and your children are too young to stay at home alone, you’ll have to hire a babysitter or send them to daycare — which can really add up. Sometimes you’ll have enough cash saved to cover these additional costs for the week, but sometimes you won’t.
When you’re just a little bit short of covering these charges on your own, a lender like the folks at MoneyKey.com can help you look after your kids without missing any time off of work. Their small dollar loans vary range between $500 and $1,000, so they’re perfect for these one-time expenses of Spring Break.
Staying on budget during the holidays can be difficult — but not impossible. The trick to saving your money over the break is by being resourceful. Know where you can save money and turn to a small dollar lender for help when you can’t. Whatever your budget is, you’ll be able to survive Spring Break with your finances intact.