Summer is almost here!
Summer is a season that many of us look forward to (at least in the North after a LONG winter!) Summer not only means warmer temperatures, but it can also mean more activities, more opportunities, and in the end, more spending. It is easy to look at summer as a break from everything - even budgeting and paying attention to what your money is spent on. Usually vacations and days away mean eating out, gas for traveling, accommodations, and sightseeing. Unfortunately, it is easy to walk away from summer in debt, and having to recuperate after an expensive and stressful summer, instead of being a summer intentional spender.
Is it possible to have what kids label a "fun" summer without breaking the budget? Of course it is. It is all about choices. Every decision comes with a choice. Are you going to choose to be an intentional spender this summer, or throw away the budget? Believe it or not, there are many ways you can live this summer to the fullest and still save money. Try these 6 summer intentional spending tips.
1. Be intentional about where your money is going.
If you have to set up a budget, do so. You could even set aside a certain amount of money in envelopes (like for activities) and once the money is gone, it's GONE.
2. Decide what you want to spend your money on.
Making the choice to say no to some activities and yes to others, helps in deciding what you value most. Often it is the experience that offers more value than an actual material possession. For example, if you value spending time together as a family, then make family plans to go to the park and have a picnic, instead of buying a new movie to watch. Some of the best summer activities do not cost any money: think campfires, swimming, reading a book outside, biking, etc.
3. Watch your variable spending.
These are the expenses that fluctuate, like food, groceries, and gas. Try to be mindful about how many trips you make into town for errands. When you take your kids to the grocery store, take a list with you. No deviating from the list! Those little purchases that the kids constantly beg for, add up. Be firm and say no.
4. Take advantage of summer perks.
Farmer's markets are a gift in the summer, as they offer locally grown food at an often cheaper price (depending on the market). If you can't make the market, buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. If you are able, take advantage of the warm weather and plant your OWN garden! If you have too much of one item, find another gardener who is willing to swap produce. This significantly decreases the cost of produce and keeps your family eating healthy all summer long.
5. Plan ahead for vacations.
This is where summer can get expensive, though this does not have to be the case. Budget for vacations by setting aside a certain amount every monthand sticking to it. Look for deals online when it comes to hotels and airfare. Search for coupons on theme parks, zoos, museums, and parks. Also, know when to travel. Weekends are just plain expensive - hotels, gas, and airfare automatically go up on weekends. If you can avoid this time frame, you will be saving money!
6. Finally, check your bank statements.
If you are still wondering where all of your money is going each month or even each week, when you get your bank statements, highlight the items that are variable and unnecessary purchases. You may be surprised at how many highlighted items you have. After you are done highlighting, go through the list and decide what changes you can make.
Do not let this summer be a burden when it comes to spending. Being a summer intentional spender will save you time, money, and stress. Enjoy the sights and sounds of this summer by finding ways to be intentional about where your money is going, while also making the most out of summer for you and your family.