Summer may be the season of relaxation, sun-kissed skin and hot temperatures, but it is also the second most expensive season after the winter holidays. It makes sense when you think about it. After all, all the summertime activities and celebrations—the day trips and late nights, celebrations and vacations—add up quickly. And at the end of the day, we all fall victim to the insane excitement of the season and miss out on the impact on our wallets.
Despite the fact that summer is just around the corner, there is no need to stress yourself. With a little preparation, you can still enjoy the full summer experience without wasting your money. Read on to learn how to make sure your wallet is summer ready.
1. Take stock of your finances
To make sure you’re financially ready for the summer, you first need to know what you’re working with. Take stock of your current financial situation by calculating your total living expenses, any debt you’re paying off, and what you’re putting aside to put into a savings account or investments. Once you have that number, subtract it from your income. This gives you a rough idea of how much money you can spend at will this summer.
Also, take the time to examine your spending patterns; You can use credit card statements, bills, receipts, and bank statements to do this. These visualizations show you where your money is going, which you can then use to find more effective ways to redirect your money and fit it into your summer spending plan.
2. Make small lifestyle changes now
Look at your spending and see if you can cut anything or where you can cut again for now. If you’re an avid reader, use your local library; You can rent just about any book ever published, save hundreds of dollars, and see your tax dollars put to good use. Also, most libraries now offer e-books and audiobooks along with their standard hardback and paperbacks. Making small changes now and throughout the summer will give you more flexibility to go out as you please as you have to spend more. Something as simple as canceling your gym membership and exercising outdoors instead, or giving up takeout and choosing to cook more meals at home can make the biggest difference.
3. Review your savings and debt payments
The last thing you want to do is constantly draw on your emergency fund to jump-start your summer lifestyle. So find out how much you’ve saved now. From there, figure out a base number (say you’ve saved $10,000; your baseline might be $8,000) that you don’t want to go below. You don’t have to hit your baseline, but if you have one, you can make sure you’re contributing to your savings on a regular basis and not spending that vital money elsewhere. Whatever amount you choose, make sure it’s enough to cushion the blow in an emergency; The rule of thumb is to have at least three to six months of expenses saved.
Additionally, it can be difficult to sleep at night when debt is looming over your head. So if there is small debt you can pay off now, do so to relieve some of that pressure and allow for more flexibility in your spending. If you’re paying off a large debt, consider using a debt settlement app to get organized before the summer begins. Tally is a great option for those paying off a lot of credit card debt, while ChangEd is a great option for those paying off student loans. These are just two examples so make sure you do your due diligence and research; It’s always important to know exactly what you’re signing up for.
4. Go on an expense cleanup
Another way to really hone your budgeting skills and start saving a little more before summer is to do a spending cleanup for a week or two. During this time, refrain from spending money on anything other than the essentials. A spending cleanup is a very productive way to challenge yourself to be better with money and will inadvertently force you to develop healthier money habits. It will also open your eyes to any unnecessary purchases you’ve made over the years. Really, it’s a win-win situation.
5. Look at what you wrote in pencil
Check your calendar for upcoming events and celebrations you’ve already scheduled—like birthdays, cookouts, weddings, baby showers, and so on and so forth. Doing this in advance can prevent unwanted last-minute financial surprises from draining your finances and make planning your summer budget a whole lot easier.
Once you know what you’ve entered, calculate a rough estimate of how much each event will cost. What events do you need to buy gifts for and how much can you realistically spend? How much are the drinks and food for parties you are attending? Getting everything in order now will not only make budgeting easier, but you’ll also get a better idea of how much you’ll need to spend when all is said and done.
6. Swap your old budget for your new summer budget
Just as makeup and fashion trends change every season, so do budgets. After completing the steps above, you’re ready to start creating your summer budget. This will replace your current budget plan, and you can create it manually, in a spreadsheet or template, or through a budgeting app like Goodbudget or Mint.
Important things to include in your summer budget:
- Enough money to make a comfortable living
- Contributions to savings and outstanding debt
- The cost of planned events or celebrations
- A small amount that can be used for unplanned surprises such as B. a random evening
7. Create a vision board for summer activities
Manifest the summer of your dreams that doesn’t mess with your money by creating a vision board full of fun, inexpensive summer activities. Look for upcoming summer events – such as arts festivals, street walks, carnivals, fetes, etc. – taking place where you live or in nearby cities and towns. Many of these types of events are usually free or very inexpensive. Visiting public beaches, parks, or hiking trails is also a fun and inexpensive way to get into the summer spirit.
On the other hand, keep in mind that despite the nice weather, you don’t always have to be out and about. In fact, there are countless ways to enjoy summer from the comfort of your own home. Besides, what better way to enjoy the laid-back vibe of the season than relaxing in your space? Grab a bottle of rosé, prepare a charcuterie and invite some people to stay outside or chill in the air conditioning. Enjoy pizza and champagne while watching the sun go down or stargazing with your significant other. When the weather is nice, the possibilities are endless.
A vision board full of fun and inexpensive summer activities and ideas will help you avoid overspending and give you something to turn to throughout the season. Summer is the time to feel young, wild and carefree, so don’t be afraid to have fun and get creative with your ideas. Remember, making memories and having an unforgettable summer doesn’t have to come at the expense of your finances at the end of the day.