For blended families, summer may mean more than just summer vacation… bring on the summer custody schedule! For our family, this schedule switches from every other weekend to every other week. Though there is great value in having the kids for a longer period of time, there is also a much greater cost!! But, our child support commitment still reflects the 80/20 arrangement. As you can imagine, paying as though we have them 20%, but actually having them 50% can cause a bit of financial strain. To some, that may mean NO is the most common word of the summer or you’re already sweating over your credit card bills come September. But alas, there is hope for your blended family! Here are some of the ways we have successfully navigated these slightly skewed months.
- What’s for lunch? Check with your local school district, library, community center, YMCA – odds are there’s a free lunch program near you! We have two that I am aware of – one run by our city and another hosted at our local library and funded by a local elementary school. Not only is lunch provided, but so are activities!
- Did someone say FREE?! Summertime is when FREE is out in force! Block parties, parades, festivals, local farms, state parks, (uhh, PLAYGROUNDS!!) – this is a perfect opportunity to get out and explore your town or city to see what is going on. Check in at your local grocery stores for a community bulletin board. Libraries are also a HUGE hot spot for free actives and they keep kids fresh for the following school year.
- I’ll take the family discount! Sometimes big families mean big savings! Places like community pools or bowling alleys may offer family discounted rates. We cash in big time for locally run 5k’s – it’ often only a few dollars more to register ALL of the kids along with us and we get the added benefit of spending time before and after races hanging with friends, enjoying free food, and receiving awards. And who could forget summer day camps? Multiple kids may mean discounted rates! Groupon and Living Social are also great resources for getting into popular places for a fraction of the cost OR discovering new, sometimes off the wall, adventures. We’ve found a few local places we had never even heard of that offered great (cheap) experiences.
- Short and sweet! Due to custody or child support, a week-long vacation may not be in the cards for you… but that’s ok!! Day trips are where it’s at! Start with your community, then venture out! Check and see what is within an hours’ driving radius of your home, pack some snacks, and hit the road. Believe it or not, destination playgrounds are a thing – seriously, go search “destination playground” and see what comes up in your area. We have at least 2 within an hour’s drive of our house – one is a CASTLE!!!
Frugal living can be quite the adventure – it requires a lot of creativity, research, planning, and organization. It also provides a built-in teaching opportunity for your family. Your kids are watching. Listen to the difference between these two phrases: We can’t afford that vs. That’s not in our budget this week. One displays lack and hopelessness, the other displays forethought, planning, and possibilities. Framing your speech positively about how you manage money (or take advantage of free opportunities!!) will not only help children see the value of hard work and money management but will also give them a sense of security and stability. This is not a common character trait in our world today! As you navigate all of your summer activities, commitments, and custody changes, look for ways you can positively communicate financial responsibility to your children. As my husband says, FREE is his favorite F word!
ARE YOU READY FOR THE
2018 BEYOND BLENDING CONFERENCE?
October 5-6, 2018 we will be hosting our first ever, Beyond Blending Couple’s Conference with many dynamic speakers and various topics that we find are common challenging areas among blended families. Purchase your tickets today to ensure you and your spouse have a seat! If you are experiencing financial difficulties and are in need of sponsorship for the conference click here to submit a request for assistance and be added to our waitlist.
Approved waitlist applicants for sponsorship are not guaranteed a seat at the conference. Tickets will still be offered on a first come first serve basis, however as we secure funding from our Community Partners, Church Organizations, Businesses, and others we will notify once funding is available and you are eligible to receive your tickets. Couples must be able to verify financial ability to cover additional cost associated with conference (if needed) such as hotel accommodations, transportation, etc.
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