Making The Summer of Fun Possible

We have unofficially dubbed this summer,

The Summer of Fun.

Why?  Because if it involves sun, fun, and food, we’re doing it (as long it we can fit it in the budget) we’re doing it!  It’s all part of moving our focus from valuing possessions to valuing experiences.  You can never recapture lost time and memories, but you can certainly buy more things, so we intend to capitalize on this time while our daughter is young by doing as many activities as possible.

Eventually, I would love for The Big Guy and I as a couple, as well as with out daughter, to see as many countries of the world as we can, but for now, since she’s young and we’re paying off debt, we’re settling for working our way through all 50 states!

There are several key pieces to our plan:

Making The Summer of Fun A Reality (1)

First, we’re refinancing debt – 

I wrote about this earlier, so I’m not going to bore you with the crazy details here.  We had 3 different options for refinancing our debt, that would cut our interest rate anywhere from in half to even less, and options that would cut our payments down by at least 1/3.  We’re still in the process of utilizing the equity in our home to refinance, but doing so has taken a huge weight off of our shoulders.  Now, we’re able to live entirely off the The Big Guy’s day job income, and my income goes straight to debt or to activities that aren’t in the normal monthly budget.

Second, we taking advantage of attractions near us,

Namely, the Zoo and 6 Flags St. Louis.  We absolutely love the St. Louis Zoo, not only because it is a world-class zoo, but because it is free!  We can spend hours there, even bring in our own lunch without a problem, and have a blast.  However, we really wanted to support this amazing, free, institution this year, so we purchased a Zoo membership for $60.  Money well spent, when you consider how many hours of fun we get out of the zoo, not to mention the free preferred parking, free access to the Children’s Zoo, and free access to special attractions that normally cost money.

This year we also decided to purchase season passes, and a season dining pass to the St. Louis 6 Flags Amusement park.  We had anticipated doing this next year, but when we went with our youth group as chaperones, we found out that our daughter had absolutely no fear when it came to the rides, and literally spent hours playing in the kids park….and so we sprung for season passes.  Additionally, if you’ve ever purchased theme park food, you know how expensive it can be!  Now, we could pack a cooler, leave the park to eat lunch, and then come back in, but honestly, that’s a ton of work.  Instead, we decided to purchase an $85 “Eat All Season” pass, which just paid for theme park food all summer!

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Third, we’ve invested in camping gear

One of the most frugal vacations you can take is camping.  It’s fun for the kids, being outdoors, hiking, biking, and even swimming.  And, it’s fun for the adults!  What’s not to love about swimming, drinking, and eating semi-health campfire meals?  We purchased a tent last year, but this year we decided to buy an air mattress, chairs, and a few other things to make camping more enjoyable, and we plan to use it by taking at least 4 camping trips during the summer and fall!

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Fourth, we’re planning to take a “Big Trip”

Finally, we really want to take Baby RB40 to the east coast, namely Boston and the surrounding area this fall.  I’ve been told it’s beautiful and we have family out there.  However,  trip like that one involves some serious finagling if we’re going to fit it into the budget.  For starters, we’re using the Discover it Miles card, which features:

  • No annual fee
  • Fly any airline any time. Just buy a ticket and use Miles to credit your statement
  • 1.5x miles for every dollar spent on purchases
  • An annual credit up to $30 for in-flight Wi-Fi charges
  • Miles never expire
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Overnight shipping of a replacement card to any U.S. street address upon request
  • A $0 fraud liability guarantee where you are never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card

All of these features will make our lives so much easier while traveling – and help us save up miles for a trip next year that has yet to be determined.

To make this card offer even better (and my favorite feature), the Discover it Miles card is offering an introductory offer where we will receive double the amount of miles we’ve earned at the end of our first year – with no spending cap!  This will make that trip next year possible!  What is nice about those miles (and the double miles bonus!) is that they can be redeemed for for cash or a statement credit towards travel purchases.

As you can see, we’re making this summer all about fun, but I’m not going to lie to you: that fun costs money!  We’re finally living on The Big Guy’s income, so our budget will remain intact, while the money I make blogging and through The Pinterest Assistant is going towards debt and all of this summer fun.  But it’s still difficult, especially when trying to plan for next year’s trips too, which is why we’re taking advantage of the Discover it Miles card for it’s amazing travel benefits!

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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