As the seasons change and winter starts to…
Are you ready for summer? We’re guessing you’re nodding your head and maybe shouting “oh yeah” at your phone or computer. Are your finances ready for summer? We’re guessing this answer may be a little less enthusiastic than your last one.
We understand. Summer is traditionally the season of fun. Daylight Saving Time means the sunshine lasts longer and that equals more time outside for you, your family and your friends. Then there are vacations, backyard cookouts and other summer activities.
Why ruin all the fun to talk about finances? Because summer could also be known as the season of overspending. We’ve been there too.
That’s why we want to help you get ready now so you can stay financially fit all summer long. And yes, that involves making a plan. Don’t worry, it’ll be easy breezy.
Oh, and you’re going to find out anyway, but budgeting is part of this plan. Yeah, we know we sound like a broken record, but a budget really is a powerful tool for taking charge of your finances.
If you already have a budget, give yourself a high-five from us. It might need a few updates for summer, but we’ll take you through those.
Don’t have a budget? Don’t sweat it. You can make a simple one in about an hour. We’ll even include a link to our how-to budget article at the end of this one.
Let’s get to that financially fit summer plan, shall we? Here are the four parts:
Is your income affected during the summer? Make that change on your budget now so you have a realistic idea of what your monthly income will be this summer.
After the first month of using your updated budget, compare your actual expenses and savings amounts against what you had budgeted. If you have money left over or go over budget, don’t give up. Instead, come back and take another look at the reasons above. You may just need to make a few small adjustments to help you get back on track and stay there for the rest of the summer.
Now, let’s talk about how to make plans for summer fun that can also help your budget work even harder.
planning your 7 weekends of fun
What are all the fun weekend activities you want to do this summer? Make a list. If you have a partner or a family, let them help you with the ideas.
Next, figure out where they should go on your calendar and block off those weekends.
If you already have a vacation planned, be sure to include it on your calendar. We think it’s a good idea to alternate your fun and spending break weekends. If that’s not possible, try not to have a couple of the same type back-to -back.
now, let’s talk about those 7 spending break weekends
Once you have your 7 weekends of fun planned, go ahead and block off the other 7 weekends for spending breaks.
When you have a spending break weekend coming up, plan your meals so you can hit the grocery store early. Don’t forget to gas up your car too.
Yes, you can still pay your rent, mortgage or any other bills you have due but try to do that by Friday. Who wants to think about bills over the weekend? Not us.
Oh, and one more thing about spending break weekends. You can absolutely have fun on these weekends, you’re just avoiding activities that involve spending money.
Speaking of fun, check out the next section for budget-friendly activities including lots of free options.
19. learn to DIY
Local hardware stores or the big home improvement centers often offer free classes.
Check your local newspaper or free weekly magazine for other fun ideas or try searching “’city name’ free summer activities” online.
One last thing, be sure to check your local or state COVID-19 guidelines before attending any event.
You now have a bunch of fun ideas for free or low-cost summer activities. How could we top that? How about some tips to help you save even more money this summer? They’re up next.