Summer is the time for fun, vacations, travel and treating yourself. However, while we are out having a good time, our bank accounts are often not. Whether you’re exploring new countries or planning a great staycation, it is easy to get wrapped up in the opportunities of the season while letting your finances slide.
Not to worry though—not overspending doesn’t mean not having fun. Follow these 5 tips to get the most out of your summer without taking the most out of your finances.
Know your Financial Situation
When it comes to finances, ignorance is never bliss. This may seem like a no-brainer, but knowing and listing your expenses, debts and income will set you up to make better financial decisions throughout the season. You will likely think twice before forking over money for spontaneous summer splurges.
Once you know your financial situation, the next step is to find out how much you can afford to spend on summer fun. Try budgeting your summer spending with your regular expenses for a well-rounded idea of what you can afford.
Plan your Activities
Making a summer bucket list is a fun way to build excitement and anticipation while also budgeting for each activity. Planning ahead of time allows you to pick activities that fit within your budget and to research discounts, sales and cheapest options.
If planning is not your strong suit and you want to leave room for spontaneity, why not create a rainy-day fund? Each week, add some funds (for which you have budgeted) into this special account. Then, when you feel adventure calling you, or a friend unexpectedly asks you to join them for an event, take from this jar knowing you will not be dipping into other savings.
Cheaper is Better—and More Fun
There are many ways to decrease spending on accommodations, food and activities during the summer, and these options often lead to more fun experiences. Websites like Airbnb and Couchsurfing find you cheap places to sleep while connecting you with locals who can show you the non-touristy parts of town. Discount sites like Groupon not only suggest new activities you may have never thought of, but they also offer fun and sometimes exclusive activities at a fraction of the regular cost. Don’t let the price tag fool you—sometimes cheaper truly is better.
Memberships, Passes and Loyalty Programs
Being a loyal customer is a great opportunity to save a few bucks. Frequent flyer programs offer everything from discounts to seat upgrades to waiting room perks that will make your summer travels a little better without making you overspend. If you are a fan of camping or visiting parks, look for passes that will make your end-of-summer expenses smaller than ever.
Enjoying the outdoors is a great summer activity for both you and your wallet. Go on a cost-free hike, have a picnic at the park or camp instead of paying a small fortune for a hotel room. Explore and enjoy the great outdoors for summer fun that your heart, mind and bank account will thank you for.