Family Time

Summer Routine On A Budget

Summer Break Plans

Now that summer break is upon us, I need to find a way to keep life at home fun, engaging, and at the same time structured, for three kids. The past four years we have spent our summers living at the pool supporting our kids on a swim team (for those who have swim kids, you know what a commitment that it!). This year Big Brother and Sissy decided not to swim, so we now have a lot of free time to fill. If being a mom for 10 years has taught me anything, it is that too much free time causes chaos. Kids will fight over every little thing when penned up for too long in the house with no direction.

Luckily, I love structure! Seriously, I make spreadsheets to plan everything from shopping lists to vacation budgets to bedtime routine schedules. I quickly set off to work to find a routine that would carry us all the way through the summer. This couldn’t be any boring routine, this had to be something that I was happy with and that the kids would love. Oh, and did I mention that it needed to be done on a budget? With my jump to being a ‘Stay at Home Mom’, we were down to one income.

This is what I came up with….


Our weekly trip to Costco to stock up. I know this may seem boring at first… but… the kids LOVE samples! And, at the end of the trip they get treated to a delicious fro-yo for a whopping $1.35 each. I get my shopping done, and the kids feel like they got a special treat. Win-Win!


We will walk to our local library and exchange books and videos. The walk is just over a mile and passes by a little park to play at. I am fortunate that my kids love to read, so this will be a big hit with the kids. And if you haven’t used it yet, ask the librarian about the Discover and Go program that allows you to get free or discounted museum passes. (Other areas may have a different name for this program)


Dollar movies! Select theaters across the U.S. have kid’s summer movie clubs that show past years movies for $1/person. Such a cheap way to spoil the kids! These movies usually start at 10 AM before the theater opens to the public. Check out Cinemark’s lineup here, or Regal’s lineup here.



This will be our “Do Something New” day. I have plans for every Thursday between now and the end of August. With the exception of one (Gilroy Gardens), they are all fairly inexpensive or free. I’m excited to share our activities so look for future posts about our Thursday adventures.


Kids Bowl Free. This is a national program that has been around for years. A large number of bowling alleys across the United States participate in this program. Kids can bowl up to 2 games a day for free (shoe rental not included). We have been doing this for the past few summers and love it.


I chose not to make plans for Saturday and Sunday because Hubby is home from work. I like to keep the weekends free for anything he might like to do with the kids. So now my kids have an idea of what to expect from day to day. And we aren’t left sitting at home with the constant temptation to stare at screens (I know I am not the only one fighting that battle!). Now I can sit back (as much as a mom can) and enjoy a memory filled summer with my littles.


How are you spending your summer? Do you have a weekly schedule to follow?