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Summer vacation and high inflation: How parents are planning

How three moms are handling summer break without breaking the bank.

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It seems like spring has just begun—but summer vacation will be here before you know it. For some families, June, July and August are perfect times to visit grandparents and relatives. For others, summer break means a trip to a theme park, beach resort or another memory-making summer vacation spot. Families with busy schedules or tight budgets may also use the time as an opportunity to relax at home, spending lazy days at the local pool.

No matter how you’re planning your summer vacation, it’s probably going to cost more than you were anticipating. With the annual inflation rate still high, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a 5% average price increase on all consumer items over the past twelve months, what are today’s parents doing to prepare for summer break?

We asked three moms how they were handling summer getaways without breaking the bank. Here are their stories—and feel free to take a few of their summer vacation ideas as you plan your own family vacations.

In this article:

The mom who cut spending in other areas

Brenda Kosciuk is a parenting expert, educator, and mother of two. She runs Paper Heart Family, a resource for moms, and understands the importance of planning a memorable summer vacation.

“Traveling with my family and creating memories for my kids is extremely important to me,” Kosciuk told us. “It’s also very important to me to go on vacation and truly be able to relax. That means no cooking for me!”

With that in mind, Kosciuk cut back on other areas of her budget in order to give her family the vacation of their dreams—and hers. “We are still taking our annual beach vacation this summer. This year we actually splurged a little more than usual and reserved an oceanfront room. I cut spending in other areas in order to be able to make this happen.”

For Kosciuk, this means shopping at lower-cost grocery stores like Aldi’s and Sam’s Club. She also decided not to throw big birthday parties for her kids—“They’re a huge expense,” she explained—in order to prioritize family vacation time.

“A fun, relaxing vacation is a must for me, and is the one thing all year that I’m not willing to compromise on.”

The mom who is picking up extra work

Kita Bryant is a photographer and video marketing expert who also runs the Gullah/Geechee themed clothing store SheGeechee. After her husband passed away, Bryant took on the challenge of raising two children on her own—and this year she’s hoping to plan a vacation that doesn’t require her to break into her savings account.

“Inflation is a huge factor in our choices,” Bryant explained. “I let my teens help with the planning, and had guidelines for the pricing so that they could learn to budget.”

The three of them are going to keep their vacation within driving distance, since her son has his license and can help drive. They’re also going to focus on activities that everyone will enjoy. “I wanted them to plan something that fit everyone’s personalities or had something for all of us to do.”

Bryant is coordinating with her extended family to save money on hotels and meals, and working extra hours to ensure that she can cover the costs of summer break. “We are doing things in cities where we have families, so we can offset some of the costs. I’m taking on overtime work and picking up extra gigs, so we won’t have to touch our savings.”

The mom who is going back to basics

Melissa LaHann is a mother of three, and the founder and CEO of LatchPal, a breastfeeding clip that allows nursing mothers to feed their babies without worrying about their clothing.

“The COVID years have taught us so much,” says LaHann. “It caused us to stop, reflect, and evaluate our lives in ways we may have not done before.

“Now that society is opening back up we have the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with restaurants, museums, indoor play, flights, and travel. While our young family is excited to explore these things, we’ve found ourselves going back to the basics for summer. We go on picnics, walks in the forest preserve, family car rides to get ice cream, and spend hours at the local pool.”

LaHann knows that a summer of swimsuits and ice cream cones might not match the trends on Pinterest and Instagram—but it’s exactly what her family needs right now.

“These activities may not be flashy, but they’re on trend for our family at this life stage. Sometimes pushing the boundaries with little ones just isn’t worth it. So, this summer we’ll be doing scavenger hunts at the arboretum, exploring local bakeries, and enjoying the simple things. In the end, I think that’s the key to happiness and what life is all about.”

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About Nicole Dieker

Nicole Dieker has been a full-time freelance writer since 2012, with a focus on personal finance and habit formation. In addition to Haven Life, her work regularly appears at Lifehacker, Bankrate, CreditCards.com, and Vox. Dieker spent five years as a writer and editor for The Billfold, a personal finance blog where people had honest conversations about money, and is the author of Frugal and the Beast: And Other Financial Fairy Tales.

Read more by Nicole Dieker

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus

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