8 Activities to Plan Now for a Fun and Budget-Friendly Fall Staycation

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Is your kids’ fall break coming up? Plan ahead now to have a great time while also saving money. Over Memorial Day weekend, more Americans traveled than had in the last 12 years, and we spent more on travel, too. If your family spent a lot of money then, you might want to save this fall. Luckily, fall is the perfect time for a family staycation—a vacation where you play tourist in your hometown.

Staycations are great because you can get to know new attractions in your own town, and you don’t have to spend money on accommodations or plane tickets. If you’d like to do fun things as a family without spending a fortune, here are eight staycation ideas to try.

1. Participate in Agritourism

Many sections of the country will be in a harvesting period over fall break. For instance, in my native Indiana, fall break is a great time to pick apples and pumpkins, among other fall-harvested produce.

Check out your state’s agricultural extension to find agritourism destinations in your area. The bonus here is that you often get a fun trip rolled in with a place to eat, which is great!

2. Visit Local Museums and Zoos

Has it been a while since you’ve checked out your local museum or zoo? A staycation is the perfect time to revisit them. You might also try a different type of museum that you’ve never tried before. For instance, some art museum exhibits can be surprisingly kid-friendly.

Or, check online for completely off-the-wall small museums in your area. For instance, my neighborhood has a tiny museum dedicated to Statue of Liberty figurines! These museums can make for a fun experience, even if they are a little cheesy. 

3. Frequent Small Businesses and Restaurants

Have you neglected to check out your area’s local restaurants and small businesses? A fall staycation is a great time to try them out. Local breweries and wineries abound these days, and they often offer kid-friendly menus, as well. You could also visit an area with lots of small businesses. Give your kids a little bit of spending money, and let them go to town.

4. Go Biking or Hiking

Fall is just about the perfect time, in most places, to go biking or hiking. It’s not as hot as summer, and there may be fewer bugs. Check out some new trails and parks on your family vacation. You could even make it a point to check out two or three state parks with your kids during your fall break.

5. Go to the Library

Lots of local libraries offer additional programming during school breaks. Check out your library’s schedule to see what’s going on. Nothing special happening? No worries. Take an afternoon to stock up on books. Then, spend a cozy evening in, drinking hot chocolate and reading aloud as a family.

6. Have a Party

Hosting a party is a great way to get the whole family involved in a big project together. Get everyone to pitch in on making invitations, creating food, and cleaning and decorating your house. Then, have friends and family over for a fun, fall-themed get-together.

7. Make Christmas Gifts 

It’s not too early to start planning for the holidays. Now is a great time to put together handmade holiday gifts. You might try layered jar gifts, such as soup mixes or brownie mixes. Or try making candles, picture frames, or photo gifts. This is a great way to spend time together, while also taking care of some of your holiday planning.

8. Make a Collage 

Chances are you have a smartphone with a decent camera. Spend some time on your staycation driving or walking around your neighborhood, and set the kids loose with that built-in camera. Ask them to find beautiful things to photograph. There’s never a better time for it than fall! At the end of your vacation, print off the photos they’ve taken and create a collage of autumn memories.

If you start planning now, you can save even more money on your fall vacation. The key to saving is recognizing your spending habits. Get a handle on your spending and credit by checking your credit report for free at Credit.com.

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What to Do When Your Parents Kick You Out

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Moving out of your parents’ house, no matter what the circumstances are, is a step toward independence. However, once you’re out in the real world, you have a lot of responsibilities to consider that you may not have thought of while living under their roof.

Here are five financial goals to focus on as you make the transition. 

1. Set a Budget

Until now, Mom and Dad probably covered the expenses for the house you were living in, but now it’s your turn. When creating your budget, think about how much you can afford to pay for rent and cover the other things that come along with a home, which you may not have thought of. You’ll likely be renting, so you will need to factor in expenses like a security deposit, utilities and possibly renters’ insurance.

2. Consider All Your Expenses

Your budget won’t just include rent. Think about the other things you’ll need to pay for on a weekly or monthly basis, like health insurance, groceries, transportation (including car insurance), clothes and entertainment. If you’re on a tight budget, consider reducing your spending on fast food or entertainment, including in-home perks such as cable.

3. Put Money Aside

If your parents gave you any notice about moving out, saving up a bit of money before the actual date is a good idea. But even if you haven’t done that, you can hit the ground running on the job search and start putting money aside until you have a steady paycheck. Consider setting up one bank account for regular expenses and a separate account for unexpected financial strains, like a medical emergency or car repairs.

4. Pay Any Debts

If you have student loans, car loans, credit card debt or any other debt, think about how you can budget to get these paid off. Doing so can help you lower what you ultimately pay in interest over time and improve your credit score. Be careful about charging more to credit cards than you can afford to pay back — you don’t want to rack up additional debt, which can lower your score.

5. Build Your Credit

You may be renting a place for the next few years, but one day you may want to buy a home of your own. The habits you have now may play a role, as your credit score is a part of getting a mortgage. The five factors that make up your credit score are your payment history, debt usage, age of credit, different types of accounts, and new credit inquiries. To see how the choices you’re making impact your credit, you can view your free credit report card, updated monthly, on Credit.com.

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