“Finances and Family Fun,” Ensign, July 2001, 70
One year when we could not afford an elaborate family vacation, we came up with an alternative plan that resulted in one of the best vacations we ever had. This plan was not only entertaining but also helpful in teaching our children financial responsibility.
During family home evening, my husband and I divided the money we had saved for our family vacation into equal amounts for each of the five vacation days. Then we grouped everyone into teams of two. Each team was given money (cash in an envelope) and assigned to plan activities for one day and one night. The activities could include one night where we stayed in a hotel, but it had to be within the budget. The only restraint was the driving distance. The activity had to be something we could do in a day’s drive from home, and all activities had to meet Church standards for entertainment. Each team made their plans, then presented them to the rest of the family to make sure we didn’t have duplications and to help everyone know what to expect.
We were delighted with the varied ideas that sprang up as the teams tried to find something really fun to do within the budget. We discovered our family members had great imaginations. The activities varied from attending a basketball game, which included a three-hour drive from home, to watching rented videos while snacking on popcorn and candy and later sleeping on the family room floor. We had many different activities, and the children developed skills in planning, budgeting, and leadership.
Recently, I received a letter from my college sophomore son, Brad, in which he said, “Today I was reflecting on how nice it was on that family vacation when you let us each choose the activity for a day and gave us each a budget. So many families never get to do something so cool.”
Not only was it a great learning experience for the children, but they are able to look back on it many years later with positive, happy feelings.—Sharlene T. Barber, Farragut Ward, Knoxville Tennessee Stake