During a particularly long and cold winter, all you can think about is summer can’t get here soon enough. Dreams of beach trips and patio parties give you the motivation to keep slogging through the snow.
Then when summer finally arrives, you find yourself thinking, “Wow, it’s super-hot.” And “Why am I spending so much money!?”
Unfortunately, this is not a simple case of ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ summer is a far more active season. There is effectively more time in the day and more opportunities for you to spend money.
With that in mind, here are a few ways you can stop the bleeding, while still getting the most out of your summer.
Create a Summer Fun Fund
Budgeting is budgeting. You spend a certain amount of money on a certain number of things; it’s as simple as that. The difficult part is actually sticking to a budget. The trick is realizing that this is more of a psychological issue than a financial one.
You know that social events like festivals reach their peak during the warmer months, so build it into your budget all year round. That way, your regular budget won’t be rocked by a bunch of new expenses. You’ll also be able to ensure that you don’t overspend because you’ll know exactly how much you have allocated, how much you spent and how much you have left.
Not for nothing, but it also has the benefit of freeing you from all the guilt that comes with busting your budget. Summer fun is literally what it’s for… It’s in the name.
First thing’s first. You’ll need a way to separate your money. This could be a new account at the bank or a prepaid card, whatever works for you.
Next, get an idea of how much you’re currently spending on extraneous things. Try not to get cute about what’s extraneous and what isn’t. Food is a necessity. Despite what your clever mug might say, coffee is not. This is another point where the psychology comes into play. If you’re honest with yourself, you know what’s extraneous and what isn’t.
Take 20%-50% of that number and just load it into your Summer Fun Fund. The percentage gap is so large because it depends entirely on how much you’re comfortable giving up week to week or month to month.
Saving is ultimately about sacrificing the now for the later.
Unfortunately, that means that you probably won’t be able to do everything that comes up this summer. However, if you’re willing to pass on some things you may want to do, you should have no problem doing the things you definitely want to do.
For instance, skipping out on drinks at the bar every Friday will make it much more manageable for you to go to that concert you’re looking forward to. The idea is to pick something on which you’ll splurge no matter what, at the expense of not splurging on pretty much anything else.
Don’t Over Do It
This goes for both spending and saving. You obviously don’t want to go broke having fun this summer. Make sure you can still feed yourself and keep the lights on. You should even try to save a little, so you can have more fun next summer.
That being said, don’t go too far the other way either. Every moment you live is a moment you will never get back. There is such a thing as saving your life away. Financial prudence doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. You have to find the balance that will allow you to meet your needs, plan for the future and still make life worth living now.