You may have heard it said that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. That isn’t just a clever rearranging of words; it really has meaning. Financial planning is about the long-term and the short-term. The weather is getting warmer and in the short term, it is easy to spend money and be carefree since it is summer but you may regret it later if you overspend. Rather than let summer take you where it may, you can find ways to save on summer fun.
Mint offers “5 Ways to Stop Summer from Wrecking Your Monthly Budget” and one of the most important suggestions offered is “Have a Summer Snack Strategy.”
As Mint acknowledges, whether you have kids or not, it is easy to let money spent on summer outings add up. The various free outdoor movies, summer festivals, and other outings you attend may have vendors who are more than willing to sell you food so that the “free” summer activities you attend end up costing more than you imagine. You can bring your own food and plan to take snacks for summer travel too. This includes water. You should definitely buy water if you have none and need it but investing in a good water bottle that you can refill will save you some money.
And the article even suggests planning for summer treats (again, they mention kids but some adults may need to use a limited treat strategy as well): “If your neighborhood has an ice cream truck, let kids know up front what you will and won’t pay for. You could, for example, buy each kid something from the ice cream truck once a week, and anything beyond that comes from their allowance.”
On the other hand, financial expert Dave Ramsey suggests that summer is a good time for low-cost activities such as playing games outside with family and friends, riding bikes, and using things you have around (like cardboard boxes) to make art projects. Finding ways to enjoy being outside that do not cost a lot is a good way to minimize summer spending.
If you prefer to relax instead of being active you can find a spot in the shade in your backyard or at a nearby park to read, knit, play cards, nap, etc. Spending time outdoors may possibly also reduce your reliance on air conditioning, provided that you do not crank up the air as soon as you get back into the house