Summer is a time for family fun and outdoor activities, but it can also be a time of increased spending. Fortunately, there’s a way to maximize summer fun while minimizing stress on your wallet. Here are four common summer spending mistakes and how to avoid them.
Thinking You Have to Spend to Have Fun
It’s possible – even preferable – to have summer fun without breaking the bank. You might be pleasantly surprised at the local attractions you’ve missed out on while looking at destinations farther away, let alone the reduced stress from not having to pack or plan complex travel details. And since you’re saving on travel and hotels, you may be more inclined to splurge on a fancy dinner or attend a sporting event.
Check out camping spots within driving distance. A night spent in a tent or cabin with a campfire doesn’t cost much, yet it can help you feel like you’re a world away. Look for easy ways to save during the week as well. Instead of meeting friends after work for expensive dinners, host a gathering and fire up your grill! With the money you’ve saved, start budgeting for your dream trip (more on that below).
Letting a Dream Vacation Put You Into Debt
Whether it’s a national park, a Caribbean cruise, or a week at the beach, vacations
can quickly add up to lingering debt. But if you plan ahead, there are a number of moves you can make to keep travel costs more manageable.
With a travel rewards credit card, for example, you can save money on flights, hotels, gasoline, amusement-park admissions and more. Don’t have one? Apply for a First Interstate FirstRewards credit card today! Choosing a hotel with breakfast included is another easy way to save, and many hotel chains also offer their own rewards programs.
Forgetting to Budget for Summer Activities
The cost of summer activities can add up fast. If you have children, fees for summer camp can range from less than $100 to more than $1,500 per week, according to the American Camp Association.
Sit down as a family and decide how you want to spend your summer, look at how much each activity will cost – and then prioritize. If summer camp is not in your price range this year, check out your local YMCA or community center for less expensive municipal activities, sports, and arts courses for children.
Once you know how much you’ll need, you can make a savings plan to put away a percentage of your budget each week until you’re ready to go. Budget for spontaneous expenses, too – a movie date, ice cream run, or country fair that might pop up!
Ignoring the Big Picture
While we often acknowledge colder months as a time to review our finances and begin planning for a new year, summer is a great time to check-in on those New Year’s resolutions ( or make new ones! ) to make sure you’re still on track to meet your goals.
Take some time this summer to reassess your financial picture. By cutting down on unnecessary expenses, you’ll find more room in your summer budget for things that are truly worth spending your money on. Do you really need the deluxe cable package, especially if you’re spending more time outside and coming home later in the evening? Are you really using the unlimited data on your cell phone package? Maybe you can freeze your gym membership during the warmer months when the weather is right for exercising outside or you’ll be on vacation.
By prioritizing activities, planning ahead, cutting out unnecessary spending, and being creative with your entertainment choices, you can enjoy these longer days without worrying about a cloud of debt following you into the fall.
This article was developed as part of First Interstate’s partnership with EVERFI, Inc.