Buckle Down on Summer Spending and Still Have Fun!
Finally, summer is here and in full swing! The suns out longer and there isn’t a shortness of activities to keep us busy! We have weddings to plan or attend, backyard barbecues to host, vacations and weekend exploring to do! There are scores of music festivals, zoos to visit and so much more!
We love summertime because it is fun! We’re not cooped up at home waiting out cold or rainy weather anymore. In fact, we can finally get out and live a little and to top it off the options are seemingly endless!
All of that fun typically means spending a good deal of money and chances are even if you’ve budgeted for your summer fun, according to Experian, 68% of consumers usually spend more than they planned for.
Four Tips to Help You Have Fun in the Sun and Not Break the Bank
1. Build an Emergency Savings Fund
One of the first things that can be done to avoid the pain of unexpected expenses in the summer would be to start working on building your emergency savings fund if you don’t already have one. It won’t build up overnight. So, time and patience are necessary but having one can play a vital role in preventing you from sliding into the red over unexpected expenses.
If you have no emergency expense fund set up, a good rule of thumb to start with would be a full paycheck saved and go from there. Then only tap into it for an unexpected expense such as replacing a broken appliance, an auto repair or a medical emergency. The goal is to not go into debt for expenses out of your control. Once the fund has been used it’s important to rebuild it as soon as you can.
2. Use Cash When Going Out
Summertime lends many opportunities for spontaneity. Maybe you’re invited out by friends or family, perhaps you get the itch to get outdoors, whatever the case may be, try using cash instead of credit cards or even your debit card.
According to Personal Finance Planner and Blogger, Lauren Greutman, using cash is cool! She makes some great points such as using cash will put a hard limit on your budget, you’ll spend less per transaction and she provides a couple additional reasons why using cash works!
3. Prepare Meals
Taking the family out for a drive to see some scenic views, head into the city to explore or even a day at the beach are all common ways to have fun in the sun! Feeding everyone by eating out is a common splurge that can really eat into your budget. One way to avoid overspending on food is to pack a lunch or dinner and fill the cooler with drinks and snacks that you’d possibly be tempted to pick up at a restaurant or convenience store. It might take a little extra work but considering that according to The Simple Dollar, the average cost for a family of four to eat out is over $51, or $12.75 per person, makes it well worth it! A long day away from home can really add up in terms of food expenses!
4. Budget First & Play Later
A surefire way to control your expenses is to start planning before playing! Create a list of the things you’d like to do and figure out what it’ll cost. Look at items such as fuel expenses, tickets, food (whether you’re packing your own or not it’ll still cost) and budget for them early.
Maybe you’ll need to make some adjustments or sacrifices in your budget ahead of time but that’s okay because having the cash on hand to do the things you want to do will help keep you from overspending and finding yourself in the position of having to pay all of that summer fun back in the fall!
Do you have any comments or questions to share about summer spending?
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Best wishes in having a fun summer filled with debt-free excursions! If you need more information on controlling your summer spending or have any other questions about how you can improve your finances, please comment below or give us a call! We’re happy to help!