Summer may be a time of relaxation, sun-kissed skin, and warm temperatures, but that’s about it the second most expensive time after winter vacation. It makes sense when you think about it. After all, all the summer activities and celebrations—holidays, festivals, and holidays—add up quickly. But at the end of the day, we can all fall into the frenzy of the moment and lose track of the consequences it has on our wallets.
That being said, despite the fact that summer is just around the corner, you don’t need to stress. With a little preparation, you can still have the perfect summer experience without breaking the bank. Keep reading to learn how to make sure your wallet is ready for summer.
1. Take inventory of your finances
To make sure that you are prepared for the summer, you must first know what you are working on. Make a list of your current financial situation by calculating the number of your living expenses, any bills you pay, and what you set aside to put into a savings or investment account. Once you get the number, withdraw it from your account. This will give you a general idea of how much money you have left to spend as you wish this summer.
Additionally, take the time to review your budget; You can refer to credit card statements, bills, receipts, and bank statements to do this. These indicators will show you where your money is going, which you can use to find more effective ways to redirect your money and fit it into your summer spending plan.
2. Make small lifestyle changes now
Take a look at your expenses and see if there is anything you can cut back on or where you can cut back for the time being. If you are an avid reader, take advantage of your local library; you can borrow more every book printed, save hundreds of dollars, and make sure your tax dollars are put to good use. In addition, many libraries now offer e-books and audiobooks as well as their standard paperbacks and books. Making a few changes now and in the summer will give you more flexibility to avoid going hungry because you’ll have more to spend. Something as simple as canceling your gym membership and exercising outside instead or avoiding take out and choosing to cook more at home can make a big difference.
3. Check that your money and payment amount
The last thing you want to do is take out of your emergency fund while you live in the summer, so find out how much money you have saved up now. From there, figure out a base number (say you have $10k saved; your base might be $8k) you don’t want to go below. You don’t need to hit your starting point, but having one will help ensure you’re always contributing to your savings and not spending that much-needed money elsewhere. Whatever amount you decide, make sure that it is enough to reduce everything that happens if an accident happens; A general rule of thumb is to have at least three to six months worth of cash.
Plus, having debt on your head can make it hard to sleep at night, so if there are a few debts you can pay off right now, try to reduce some of that pressure and allow yourself more flexibility and your expenses. If you have a large bill, consider using a bill payment tool to get yourself organized before the summer starts. Tally is a great option for people who pay a lot of credit cards, so far Change is a good option for student loan borrowers. These are just two examples, so be sure to do your research; it is always important to know exactly what you are signing up for.
4. Go on a clean budget
Another way to improve your budgeting skills and save a little before summer is by going on a clean spending spree for a week or two. At this time, avoid investing in anything but the essentials. Creating a clean slate is a productive way to challenge yourself to be better financially and will subconsciously force you to develop better financial habits. It will also open your eyes to any unnecessary purchases you have been making for years. In fact, it’s a win-win all around.
5. Look at what you penciled in
Check your calendar for any upcoming events and activities you’ve signed up for—like birthdays, dinners, weddings, baby showers, and more. Doing this ahead of time will help prevent any unwanted financial surprises, last minute investments in your finances and make planning your summer budget easier.
Once you know what you’ve penciled in, calculate a rough estimate of how much each program will cost. What activities do you want to buy gifts for and how much can you really spend? How much will the wine and food cost for each party you attend? Getting everything in order now will not only make budgeting easier, but it will also give you a better idea of how much you will spend when all is said and done.
6. Change your old budget for your new summer
Just as makeup and fashion trends change all the time, so should the budget. After completing the steps mentioned above, you can work on creating your summer budget. This will replace your current budget, and you can do it manually, on paper or templates, or through a budgeting tool, such as Good budget or Mint.
Key summer budget items should include:
- Enough money to pay for living expenses
- Contribution to savings and outstanding debt
- The cost of any planned event or celebration
- A small amount of money can be used for unplanned surprises, such as a random night out
7. Create a summer work vision board
Showcase the budget-friendly summer of your dreams by creating a vision board full of inexpensive summer activities. Find out about any upcoming summer events—such as art festivals, street tours, festivals, etc.—going on in your area or city large and nearby towns. Many of these types of programs are usually free or inexpensive. Going to a public beach, park, or hiking trail is also a fun and inexpensive way to get into the summer spirit.
On the flip side, keep in mind that despite the beautiful weather, you don’t always get to go out. In fact, there are many ways to embrace summer from the comfort of your own home. Besides, what better way to embrace the retro vibe of the season than to relax in your space? Grab a bottle of rosé, hit the charcuterie board, and invite some people over to sit outside or relax in the AC. Enjoy pizza and champagne and watch the sunset, or go see a concert with your significant other. When the weather is nice, the options are endless.
Having a vision board full of fun and inexpensive summer activities and ideas will help you budget and give you something to turn to for guidance throughout the season. Summer is the time to feel young, wild, and carefree, so don’t be afraid to have fun and get creative. Remember that at the end of the day, making memories and having an unforgettable summer doesn’t come at a price.