On a Tight Budget this Summer? 10 Tips for Moms

Saturday, April 22, 2017

There are so many things that you can do with your kids this summer. I looked up activities, events, workshops, camps and lessons and there is an endless list that cater to all kinds of interests. The camps are particularly exciting since the summer provides campers the perfect weather so they can make the most out of their time away from home learning new things and meeting new friends. I remember the bonfires we had as kids and those still top my list of the most exciting experiences I had living in the province as a young person. The beach was nearby and some of my friends had huge backyards where we built bonfires, shared ghost stories and successfully did not burn down a house. 

While the articles you see online about summer activities are very helpful, I found that most of them come with a hefty price. Summer sports and music lessons can be anything from PhP3,000 to PhP10,000 depending on the location and the person or company giving the training. A two-day teen camp I was eyeing for my son costs PhP15,000 (around USD302) and although I understand the value and worth of the camp, it just might be challenging to put together the funds for that one camp especially that both our kids are also enrolled in other classes. My 15-year-old son is taking up a two-year course in Fine Arts and our five-year old daughter regularly goes to ballet school. Until it rains cash on my side of the town, we would have to plan our summer wisely so both kids can enjoy the season without missing out on other things that they want to do.

A friend of mine is a bit worried that they might have to “skip summer” this year. Her family is going through a mild case of financial crisis and said they might not be able to afford going to events and attending summer activities this time. Sometimes we go through unexpected twists and turns in life and might have to realign our finances. Is this entirely bad? Of course not. There is no such thing as a permanent experience, and experiences make people better -- if they know how to caper around a bad situation, that is. When I reminded her that the best summers of our lives were spent climbing trees, reading books in hammocks and going to fiestas and getting our fill with all the free food, that put a smile on her face. 

We may now be living in a marketing-run world where you feel compelled to have money and pay for everything to be happy, but happiness is still a very subjective thing as it is a choice.

So if you’re a mom on a tight budget, please know that skipping summer is not an option, but making it fun for your kids is. 

Do volunteer work for neighbors in need or organizations that accept volunteers with little or no experience. Helping others is an opportunity more than anything. It will help the kids have better understanding about important matters in life, have a sense of responsibility and develop a deeper understanding of humanity. Organizations like Kids International Ministries and Gawad Kalinga are in need of people who want to offer their time regardless of age and experience. All you need is a big, big heart to help those in need.

Soak up on a lot of reading in public libraries. Why not? It’s about time we tell our (non-bookworm) kids the truth that reading is not only for school. It should be a continuing affair with literature. Here is a list of public libraries in Metro Manila. There might be one near you.

Hold a garage sale. Summer is a good time time for you to clear out those cabinets and closets. You won’t only be decluttering your house, you will also be earning from all the dust magnets you’ve been keeping. You will be surprised at how much you can earn from a garage sale. I joined one in our condo when we moved here last year and I earned PhP8,000 from old clothes, bags and shoes that were just collecting dust in our house anyway. I sold a lot of our stuff for only PhP10, and the lowest I got paid for an item was five pesos. That sounds like a giveaway, I know, but the smile on the yaya's face was priceless. She said she'd send it to her apo in the province.

Sell ice candy. You will need very little capital for this. Everyone loves ice candies and everyone needs them in this heat. But more than an entrepreneurial venture for you and your kids, selling ice candy is fun and fulfilling. You won’t need to leave the house and you have the neighborhood kids as your captured market. When I was pregnant with Cole 16 years ago, bored and had read up all the books in my father’s old house, I decided to sell ice candy and earned a net of P100/a day. It wasn’t much, but it also did not require any effort. I still have a good laugh about that until now and I always share that story every chance I get.

Encourage your kids to learn a new musical instrument. You might have one that’s only been lying around unnoticed or you can borrow a musical instrument from friends or cousins. There are countless YouTube instructional videos on different instruments for beginners. If they go online, it better be for a good purpose such as this.

Give your home a makeover. This is one of my favorite things to do. We have done this with very little budget. Read Decorating your Home on a Budget here.

Spend time in the pool. There are inexpensive pools in Metro Manila, if you don't have a neighborhood or private pool. Here’s a list of some of them.

Do origami or learn it if you haven't yet. The art of the paper is one of the most engaging activities known to man. You can do it anywhere and you can put to good use those pieces of scratch paper lying around while you’re still practicing.

Turn to good old classic board games. Young people are spending too much screen time these days. You can always borrow or exchange with other families so you get a load of fun from different games every time. 

If you have other ideas, I would love to hear from you and include your suggestions on this list. Hope you all have a fun-filled summer this year!


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