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Summer is in full-swing and I bet a vacation is at the top of your wish list. Summer is the ultimate time to get out of dodge, but not everyone can afford a luxury vacation. Luckily, there are a ton of affordable, yet fabulous getaway locations on the market. With a little bit of planning […]

Summer is in full-swing and I bet a vacation is at the top of your wish list. Summer is the ultimate time to get out of dodge, but not everyone can afford a luxury vacation. Luckily, there are a ton of affordable, yet fabulous getaway locations on the market. With a little bit of planning and teamwork, these hot spots can meet the needs of almost any budget, you'll be able to sport your new Lularoe outfits and your family will have a blast:

Take Me Out to the Ballgame-Omaha

Omaha, Nebraska is one of the most unassuming, yet fun places to visit during the summer months. The quaint Midwestern town is practical, low-key, and extremely affordable. While the thought of a Nebraska vacation doesn't sound all that appealing at the first slip of the tongue, Omaha offers plenty of activities for the entire family. One fun Omaha attraction is the College World Series. This event serves as the area's largest tourist attraction. Each year, the ballpark draws thousands of fans and visitors and offers two weeks worth of entertainment and gamesmanship. The event draws some of the best amateur baseball players in the country and admission to the park costs under $10 per head. Food in the ballpark is also cheap and the atmosphere is very family friendly.

However, baseball isn't the only fun and affordable activity in Omaha. The Omaha Zoo is free to the public and is touted as one of the best in the country. The city is also home to the Lewis and Clark Historical Trail. Guests can hike the trail for free and enjoy learning from the trail's historical excerpts and notorious pioneer museum.

Keep Calm & Camp-Yellowstone

What better way to experience the great outdoors than in one of the nation's most beautiful national parks? Yellowstone makes for a cheap and adventurous summer getaway and fits the budget of almost any family. Visitors can gain entrance to the park for an entire week for a measly $25. In addition, families of up to six members can obtain a camping permit and camp on-site for around $20 per day. This makes for cheap lodging and entertainment. You'll also be able to pack food for the week avoiding the costs of restaurant dining.

Once inside the park you'll be exposed to a plethora of natural wonders and photo opportunities. The park is known to have the highest density of wildlife of any national park in the country. It's not uncommon for guests to sight bison, wolves, bears, and a large variety of fish and birds. You'll also experience a wealth of natural hot springs, mud holes and geysers including the park's most famous: Old Faithful. Yellowstone is a fabulous active and educational opportunity for the family and one you won't soon forget!

Why Not Ride an Elephant-Bangkok, Thailand

If you're looking for a cheap international adventure, try Bangkok, Thailand. This location is known for it's low cost dining and entertainment. Your flight to Bangkok might be the most expensive leg of the trip, but once you've hit the ground there is an endless amount of authentic and man-made entertainment to be had at a fraction of the cost of other tropical venues.

Some of the more popular and cultural tourist attractions include Chiang Mai's Elephant Park and the Temple of Emerald Buddha. There is also a little room for cheap relaxation. Take a hike to one of the country's delicious waterfalls or visit one of the local spas where you can enjoy a relaxing Thai massage for under $30. You and your family won't be disappointed with this tropical retreat.

Escape to the Dynamo of Dixie-Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee is nestled in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains and offers a scenic vacation for any guest. The cozy southern town is jokingly called the Dynamo of Dixie as it attracts thousands of tourists each year. Chattanooga has a reputation for offering a host of outdoor activities and adventures. Tourists can cruise down the mountain-lined Tennessee River by kayak, boat, or raft. Float trips and other water sports are a cheap, active, and fun way to spend the day. For additional action, you can explore the mountains by foot or on bicycle.

Chattanooga also has a booming city life. After a long day in the great outdoors you can enjoy some good Southern cooking or explore one of the city's many museums or event spaces. The Tennessee River Walk is also a popular attraction in the area. The town is bursting with energy and Southern charm and is a great place to spend your summer vacation.

Long Live the Queen!-Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria, British Columbia is the capital city of a Canadian province and named after the United Kingdom's beloved Queen Victoria. Located on the tip of Canada's southern coast it shares a border with Vancouver, Washington. The summer temperatures in the area are definitely a highlight of this dreamy vacation destination. Average temps in the heat of summer range around 65 degrees and tourists will enjoy a vacation rich in history and outdoor adventure.

The city is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest, so the town is crawling with historical charm and attributes. The city has retained many of its historical buildings including the most famous: the city Legislative buildings and the Empress Hotel. Guests can visit these historic sites free of charge. Another free and fun adventure is Victoria's Chinatown. The string of shops and local vendors has been touted as one of the best in the country and is a fun outing for any family.

Outdoor scenic escapes are also popular in this region. Fishing, hiking, and water sports are regular events for both natives and tourists during the summertime months. The area boasts beautiful, rugged coast lines perfect for picnicking or camping out. Overall, there are plenty of ways to soak up this cozy community and gorgeous landscape without breaking the bank!

Don't Look Down-Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is a must-do at some point. Strangely enough, summer is one of the best times to visit this popular tourist attraction. The Arizona heat takes it up a notch in the summer, so while most vacationers are looking to cool off, smart vacationers will head for the canyon. The summer months are less crowded and you'll be able to get through attractions at a quick and more comfortable pace.

Outside of the many hikes and wildlife observatories, there are plenty of other activities in the surrounding area. Horseback riding is a cheap and popular activity in this rugged canyon town. There is also a Six Flags and lots of history and tribal museums on the outskirts of the canyon. If you're feeling exceptionally thrifty, camping is an option and can reduce the overall cost of your trip.

These are just a few of the awesome vacation destinations to check out this summer. Each of them offers a wealth of amenities and activities that make for a great vacation. The best part is these getaways won't break the budget. You can explore each of these fun locations for under $1000 and not miss a beat!

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Like most families with children, we aim to save wherever we can find savings opportunities. And, as for most moms, the money-saving goal, like any worthwhile goal, must fit into my multitasking lifestyle. Another important goal for me is to interest my kids in things that are both entertaining and educational. So—currently life is much […]

Like most families with children, we aim to save wherever we can find savings opportunities. And, as for most moms, the money-saving goal, like any worthwhile goal, must fit into my multitasking lifestyle. Another important goal for me is to interest my kids in things that are both entertaining and educational. So—currently life is much about how to fit this dual-faceted kid-centric goal with the money saving goal.

Clearly, around my house even a single goal is required to actually have multiple purposes. Dizzying, but my system amounts to—just keep moving. And to stay conscious of what I enjoy in the life I've chosen, of course.

So, in a nutshell, on any given day, I'm scouting around for the easiest possible ways to educate and amuse my children, in money-saving ways. I find that ongoing accomplishments of that gives me a lot of personal satisfaction, and amusement too, so there's plenty in it for me.

On the Child Education and Amusement Goal

Fortunately, the oldest two of my three young boys (ages 6 and 8) are entertained by colorful things, fast moving interactive activities, and notions of buying things. I can make all those happen.

For example, I've found that any activity that tests their grasp of basic mathematics or other challenging concepts is an exciting game that rewards them with the happy sensation of getting some right answers and discovering others they didn't know.

Meanwhile, my one-year-old is frequently captivated by just having a lot of  activity swirling around him. And by touching things. He's busy examining everything.

And, for all three boys, of course, every new experience is a significant learning opportunity.

On the Money Saving Goal

Also fortunately, one easy and abundantly available resource for large savings presents itself in the wealth of coupons free for the clipping from the weekly newspaper, the supermarket doorway, myriad websites, and from product packaging. Valuable opportunities for minimizing expenses are everywhere in maximizing couponing.

Two Goals, One Multi-Tasking Mom

With my two goals in place, inevitably, as happens for all reasonably creative moms—ta da! Thinking about a challenge brings a solution to mind—couponing with my kids can accomplish both!

If you've been couponing, you've probably discovered, as I have, that to increase coupon values, quantities, and usage requires first making it possible actually fit in opportunities to develop and maintain a viable couponing system, while keeping kids entertained by a quality learning experience.

So, here are some ways for you and your children to enjoy couponing through a variety of activities, sometimes coupled with other activities.

1. Name the Coupon Colors Games

Clipping coupons demonstrates skills kids can use throughout their lives. So, starting while your children are young is ideal. Practicing with your small children on naming colors by pointing to this and then that color among the multitudes of colors on the coupons.

See how many colors you can find together. This is also a great exercise in fine focusing on distinctions of color elements in multicolored images on the small coupons, useful in helping children develop a habit of attention to detail.

2. Counting Coupons Math Games

Use the array of coupons from a Sunday newspaper, or color-printed coupons from the internet, to count the total number of coupons. First, maybe start by counting the number from each store. Then, count those of a certain dollar savings value (amount of discount), or mode of use (like mail-in or point-of-purchase), then maybe total all the piles.

For older children, move on from working on counting skills by pointing to the dollars off amounts, and let them practice subtracting  those amounts from the regular prices. You can help them calculate amounts saved, and even percentages of savings.

Maybe see how many things you can name together that can be bought with those savings amounts when they're added together.

3. Computer Skill-Building Games

These days, there's usually a promotion code or online coupon that you can use at a store's checkout. Spend a few minutes showing your kids this quick and easy way to save a lot of money by just printing off some coupons. You'll discover a vast number of coupons online.

Simply enter your search criteria into your Yahoo, Bing, Google or other search engine search field, for example, the product name, and/or the word "coupon". Or, enter the store name, if you're looking for your local store coupons.

This is a great approach to teaching children about the easy availability of money-saving coupons and to helping them understand how using computers has actual monetary value.

4. Grocery Games

You can make grocery shopping double as a learning game. Let your children help you make your shopping list. They can clip coupons for items on the grocery list. Older kids can even be shown how to examine competing ads and compare savings on different brands.

Make it a fun project to let them watch the savings grow. Show them how you're taking some of the amounts you save from each shopping day and saving it toward some exciting family purchase, or daytrip, or even a vacation.

This is a great way to teach planning, and to demonstrate to your kids that using simple methods to save can grow into significant funds for spending on things they enjoy.

5. Graduating to Grown-Up Coupon Games

As your children increase over time in skills and maturity, you can let them advance to becoming more involved in actually using coupons they've helped you collect.

Maybe let them participate in maintaining your coupon organizer. Show them how to weed out outdated coupons from the folder. Point out dates on the calendar to help them discover the correspondence between the dates on the expired coupons and  the current date.

This can help them better conceptualize abstract realities like expiration and passage of time. It's also good for developing reading, money management, organization, and planning skills. All essential life lessons, learned the easy way. It's really the motherlode of teaching and entertaining for a multi-tasking mother.

Windfalls For Everyone

You may want to let your children feel the very real pay-offs for these kinds of games by letting them be rewarded with an allowance from the total of savings they calculate. This learning strategy can help motivate them to look for ways to increase their money by identifying savings opportunities. And, it can help in your own work to save a great amount of money while you're teaching them.

The Take-Home Point

The tools your kids gain early on, of course, will benefit them throughout their lives. Educating children on how to be prudent with spending, be smart about shopping, and actively put money saved into savings is essential for their future financial well-being. And, of course, you can't put a price tag on having fun with your kids. Opportunities to do both at once are a gift, especially for you know who—yep, us, the multi-tasking moms.

The significant savings observed over a given weekly or monthly budget cycle can also afford the family a sense of shared financial goals and measurable accomplishments, in addition to serving as a great  learning tool for children.

So, I hope you will try some of these big little ideas for having some educational and money-saving fun with your kids and couponing! And, let me and your fellow readers know how it goes, by sharing your insights from the experience, back here on the site.