Saturday, February 7, 2015

Summertime
Ah – summer!!!! Don’t you just love this time of year? The old joke goes the best time to be a teacher is June, July and August. After a school year full of lesson plans and observations, summer is a great time to shut down and re-charge. The difficult part about summer is sometimes we are too carefree and our spending plan gets off- track.

The average family spends about $1,600 on a summer vacation. While I know you need a break, you need to analyze your financial situation before forking over the cash to take a trip. According to a recent survey done by Bankrate, a whopping 26% of Americans have nothing saved in an emergency fund! Yes, you read that correctly. 1 out of 4 of us have nothing saved for that rainy day. YIKES! In addition, 60% do not have enough saved to cover at least three months worth of living expenses – the least amount recommended by most financial advisors.

If you are in this category, try and find some ways to enjoy your summer without spending too much money. You can do some fun family activities that don’t cost too much. For instance, when my family (my wife, Tracy, and daughters Ava and Ella) was living off my teaching salary alone, we had to be extra careful during the dog days of summer to not blow through our budget. Some of the things we did to stay within our spending plan included:

Utilizing The Library

Our local library had summer shows once a week for free. We have seen clowns, jugglers, magicians and a dance group – all for just the price it cost us to drive there. In addition, our library had a book with free passes to state parks and we used these to get out and enjoy the outdoors.

Swimming

It can be hard to get the kids to enjoy being outside when the temperature gets into the 90’s. One of the greatest purchases we have ever made was an above ground pool. We have put one up every summer for the past 7 years. I will admit that we usually have to replace them after 2-3 years but they are worth every cent. I now plan ahead and, if our pool is two years old, wait until they go on clearance at the store towards the end of summer and buy them for half-off. In fact, I bought the pool we will use this summer last August for $150. Even if it only lasts for two years, that comes down to $75 each summer. That is well worth the price!

Vacation On The Cheap
Now, I am fortunate that both my brother and his family and my in-laws both live in Florida (we moved from Florida to Georgia eight years ago). Since they are still there along with numerous friends, we pretty much have places to stay for free when we visit. While many of you probably don’t have relatives in Florida, you may have some in other places. Depending on where they live, you could use their house as a home base and explore the surrounding area. This way you still get a vacation and save some money at the same time.

I want you to enjoy your summer after a year of teaching and giving so much of yourself but just want you to think twice before blowing a huge chunk of change or, even worse, have this vacation follow you until December if you use credit to finance it. Going into a trip knowing you can comfortably afford it will help you relax even more. Have safe travels and enjoy! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

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Thank you so much for visiting my site.  Please feel free to email me at kofketd@windstream.net, follow me on twitter @dannykofke, or find me on facebook.

Thanks so much - here's to living well on less!

Danny

Here are my upcoming events:

6/22  Radio Interview on WDUN's The Afternoon News Wrap with Derreck Booth 5:50 pm EST
6/23  Financial Presentation - Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin
6/25  Radio Interview with Ava on WABE's (Atlanta's NPR Station) A Closer Look 12:15 pm EST
6/29  Radio Interview on WDUN's The Afternoon News Wrap with Derreck Booth 5:50 pm EST
6/30  TV Interview on FOX 31's Good Day 8:00 am EST