As you are probably well aware of, the summer months are some of the costliest months of the year, aside from the holidays. Why? Well, the kids are out of school, the weather is nice and it’s the most common time of the year to go on vacation. When you think about it, it’s no wonder most of us see a drop in our checking and/or savings accounts. Although we hate to see our financial numbers drop, there are just some summer expenses that can’t be cut out completely. Below are a few summer money-saving tips to help you get through the summer financially unscathed.
Set a Budget and Stick to It – I know, this “B” word is like one of the bad four-letter words we teach our kids not to say. However, setting a budget is something that every family should do, especially during the summertime.
Budgets help us control where our money goes, without one, your money really does control you because you don’t really know where it’s going – you just see that it’s going somewhere.
The thing about summertime budgets is that you need to think about all the out-of-the-ordinary expenses you are going to have and split these costs up. For example, let’s say you and your son or daughter are going to be in a wedding in July. You will have to save money to cover the cost for the bridesmaid dress, ring-bearer suit/flower girl dress, shoes and hair stylist before the wedding. Get a total cost for all of these things and divide that amount by the number or paychecks you have before the wedding – then put that amount back each pay period to ensure you have enough money to cover the cost of your wedding attire expense.
Do this for all of the extra summer activities (and their corresponding expenses) you have planned. When you do, you’ll be surprised at how less stressed you are about these expenses because when the time comes, you know the money is there.
Take a Mini-Vacation – Summer vacations are probably the most expensive summer activity families take each year. This is especially true if you have children. You can have just as much fun by taking one or two mini-vacations that are closer to home instead of one “big” vacation. Another great idea is to visit family living in neighboring state and make a vacation out of it. Or, if you are attending a distant wedding (several hours away) bring the family and make it an extended weekend getaway. Regardless of why you’re looking to save money, if you save on your vacation, you will have that much more money to apply elsewhere.
Take Advantage of Free Events – It doesn’t matter where you live, you are part of some type of community and most communities hold free events throughout the summer. Take advantage of these events! They can provide great entertainment for you and the kids…and, they’re free! For example, my community holds a town-wide fair every year where there are bike races, turtle races, pie-baking contests and more (all free events) to ensure everyone in the community has fun. We go every year. You can use these events to help pass the long, lazy days of summer without spending a dime!