Day 4: Make a Schedule and a Budget

Summer should be a time of lazy days and laughter, water fights and bike rides, movie nights and vacations. Summer is a time to make memories and share experiences. It's a time to learn new things and revel in the wonder of an amazing God.

But, too often, we start the season off with big plans, then get to the end of the summer and wonder where those big plans went. We had such good intentions, but daily life got in the way. We never had that cookout with the neighbors. We didn't take that trip to the amusement park. We missed out on having a summer adventure.

The one sure way I've found to avoid missing out on the good stuff of summer is to schedule the big stuff. I've learned that if it's not on the calendar at the beginning of the season, it's probably not going to happen. So, today's the day to use your prayer worksheet, your summer goals list and your summer wish list and put some of those things on your Summer Calendar, which you can print off here.

Take the lists you've made this week and decide which things you want to do. Then, put them on your calendar. The best things to do are the ones that your kids are excited about and that meet some of your summer goals. Go ahead and give those things a date. Be purposeful in planning your summer. Spread the big stuff out over the months, leaving plenty of open dates for spontaneous activities and lazy days at the pool. I usually try to give us one really big thing (a trip or a more expensive outing) about once a month. Then, once a week, I'll schedule a smaller outing that doesn't cost as much.

Speaking of cost, that brings us to another important and less fun topic: the budget. Don't plan your summer without one. The Best Summer Ever should not be followed by The Most Broke Fall Ever. Make a summer budget and stick to it. You can use the simple Summer Budget worksheet to get started. Do your best to create a realistic budget. You can budget the whole summer or do it monthly, whichever works best for you. If something is too expensive for this year, tuck it away and work toward doing it next year. Don't go into debt or end up stressed about money just to do something with your kids. Most kids will be perfectly happy with a cheaper option if the big one doesn't fit your budget.

Remember, your summer is about making memories. It's not about keeping up with the Joneses. My advice is to not do anything that's going to send you into debt, and it's God's advice, too. Proverbs 22:7 says, "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender." Don't let summer make you a slave to anyone. If a big cross-country trip isn't in the budget, take a smaller one, closer to home. If multiple trips to the movies are out of the question, go to one matinee of the most-anticipated movie for your family, then have family movie night with a $1 Red Box movie at home.

A schedule and a budget will make your summer less stressful and a whole lot more fun. You won't be struggling to find activities for your kids or wondering where the money is going to come from. So, start scheduling and budgeting today to make this The Best Summer Ever.

Thanks for joining me on this journey to The Best Summer Ever. Don't miss next week where we start getting into the details of some fun activities, dealing with chores and teaching our kids about God through our summer activities. If you want to be sure not to miss a post, get Everyday Truth in your inbox each day by signing up under the Subscribe by email header on the right.

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