Ah, summertime. Beach days. Pool parties. Sun rays. Maybe it was the fact that summer vacation when we were little was a great time, but even as an adult, I always look forward to summer. While I no longer get summer vacations (can I go back please?! 😩), I still enjoy the summer months. Now, it’s just making sure I can be smart with money this summer! And every summer after!
If I was writing this article in my early 20s, I’d have no idea what to say. Partially because I didn’t have much money, but mostly because I wasn’t smart with what I did have! Any money that hit my bank account quickly left. Fortunately, I never stopped working in the summer months, so money was always coming in.
Now, I’m older and wiser and through my own experiences, I can teach you how to be smart with money this summer…and all year round! If the summer months take a toll on your budget, keep reading for 7 ways to be smart with money this summer season.
7 Ways to Be Smart with Money This Summer
#1 Pay extra attention to your budget
One thing I love to do with my money coaching clients is plan ahead. I ask questions like “what plans do you have for the summer season?” or “How does your spending change in the summer?” The answers to these questions, especially when asked ahead of time, can help anyone be smart with money in the summer, but also in preparation for it.
As the warm, sunny summer season comes, it’s important to pay extra attention to your budget. If you know you love weekend brunches in the summer. If you know your girlfriends always want to take some type of mini-vacation, plan ahead! Summer comes around the same time every year, so there’s zero doubt in my mind you don’t have an idea of what could be coming.
Also, make sure you’re paying extra attention to your budget DURING the summer. If things need to be tight, the only way to make sure you’re sticking to your limits is by reviewing your budget and tracking your spending. Don’t be afraid to look at your bank account. It’s crucial to make sure things aren’t going too far south!
#2 Allocate more to fun than usual
I know myself. I know my patterns. I like to spend the summertime sitting by the pool with some extra drinks on hand. Here’s a picture of me last year to prove it!
Because I know this about myself, I make sure to allocate extra money to my Fun and Food budget categories during the summer. I don’t typically buy much alcohol throughout the year, but I love to sip a little something while floating in the pool. That means, I’ll be spending more on my Food budget in the summer than other times of the year.
Again, because I know this, I can plan ahead and allocate more money to those categories. Since my income is pretty steady, it means that I’ll have to spend less in other categories to compensate. I’m not telling myself “no spending”, I’m preparing my budget accordingly. That is how it’s supposed to be!
#3 Find ways to make extra money
The summer can be a great time to find ways to make extra money, even if those ways are temporary. Maybe it’s the warm weather, but I love cleaning out my closet during the summer time. I always find things that I can take to thrift stores to sell. I’ve done Poshmark in the past, but if I’m not giving it my full attention, selling items at the thrift store is a better use of my time.
My point is that you can find ways to make extra money in the summer, so you can offset any extra spending you do. There’s no better feeling than staying in budget but still enjoying yourself. Check out 15 Ideas to Earn Cash Quick for some ideas to help you bring in extra money, temporarily or not.
#4 Vacation with caution
Most people go on vacation in the summertime…kids are out of school, the weather is great. While summer vacations are the most popular, it can also mean plenty of surcharges and higher rates for any vacations you plan. If you plan to vacation in the summer, I want you to proceed with caution. In fact, I want you to listen to CGS Podcast Episode 30 – Vacation Planning on a Budget. Then, proceed with caution!
Here’s the thing – if you’re planning and saving ahead for a summer vacation, then you’re doing it right. If you’re waiting until the summer to plan AND take your vacation, you could be doing major damage to your budget and spending more than you need to. Don’t be afraid to say no to a vacation if it’s going to put you behind.
#5 Be a kid again
Want to be smart with money this summer? Be a kid again! Head on out to nearby theme parks or water parks and enjoy yourself! Round up a group of friends and get a discount on group passes! You can do a day trip to the theme park or find lodging and make a weekend out of it.
Often times, these parks are only open in the warmer season, so you don’t have this opportunity all year round. Take some time to bring back the childhood memories and enjoy yourself!
#6 More dining out, means less groceries
I pretty much eluded to this already, but let me spend a little more time here. If you know that the summer months mean you go out to eat more often, then you’ll need to compensate for it in your budget. If you’re eating out a lot, you shouldn’t need as many groceries – because you’re not cooking.
This is how you’ll want to look at your budget. Ask yourself where you plan to spend more money, then reduce other spending categories so the total amount spent evens out.
#7 Don’t undo all of your progress from throughout the year
My final piece of advice for those trying to be smart with money this summer is this: don’t let the summer season undo all of the financial progress you’ve made since the previous summer. It’s not worth it. Nothing is worth undoing your progress. It may feel good in the moment, but when that “high” fades, you’re going to wish you never did it.
As you go through your summer days, constantly check in with yourself. Make sure you’re staying on track with your spending. If things are getting a little spend-happy, reign it back in. You are 100% in control, so you can dictate how good or bad you get to be with your budget and spending.
I’ll never be the one to tell you not to enjoy your summer…or life! However, there’s a balance between enjoying life and making sure your priorities are covered. It’s not easy to find the balance, and sometimes you sway to either side, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work for it! These tips above can help you be smart with money this summer, so you don’t feel like you’re falling behind!
Do you do anything to prepare financially for summer? What ways do you keep your budget front and center this time of year? Drop a comment below to share!