It’s mid-June, which means that we’re in full swing for summertime! Although summer is never as fun as it was when we were in school and had the summers off, it’s still a time that encourages us to spend more time with friends and more time outside. It’s also a time of year that inspires us to spend more money, since we’re being more social and often traveling more.
It often seems like you either have to be a hermit during the summer to stay on budget or just blow the whole thing and go off track for months. But I don’t think it has to be an either/or situation. There are ways to plan ahead in the winter and spring so that you’re financially ready for summer. Do these things so you can feel like you’re “splurging” all summer!
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Maintain a fun fund
I’m a huge proponent of the fun fund. Basically, this is a savings account that is created and funded just for fun things for you. This could be anything, but some examples are: shopping, traveling, getting your nails done, going to a bottomless brunch, etc. I most often use my fun fund for buying new clothes or taking a weekend trip. It’s really great to just always know that I have money set aside for these things as they pop up. Of course, you have to continue funding this fund in order to maintain it, or else you’ll just deplete it over time. Assign a monthly amount that you want to deposit into this account year-round. As long as you’re not withdrawing constantly all year, you’ll have plenty of money to use once summer comes. Of course, if you get to summer and don’t have as much money saved as you’d like, you should increase your monthly savings amount for the next year.
Get clear on what the most important activities are going to be for you. Is it making sure you can get in on those weekend trips out of town? Or is it going to be jazz in the garden every Friday night? As the summer is getting started, identify those things that you want to make sure you can always do (or plan ahead for a big weekend trip). If you decide which things are must-haves, you can more easily say “no” to the things that aren’t as exciting or impactful to you.
Having fun during the summer doesn’t just have to look like going out for drinks on a rooftop bar or going on a weekend trip to the beach. You can have a great time doing things that are more cost effective. Throw a tiki-themed happy hour on your own patio or in your apartment. Host a potluck where everyone brings their favorite summer dish. It takes a little more effort to be creative and come up with new ideas, but it can be even more fun when you aren’t spending more than you can afford.
Cut back in other areas
If you want to live it up this summer and do the things you love the most, you might have to cut back in other areas. Identify the things that you don’t value and see how you can lower or eliminate your spending on them. For example, a former client of mine realized that she was spending literally thousands of dollars on Uber and Starbucks. Those are not services and products that she deeply values, and that money could be going to other priorities, like travel and getting out of debt. What are the things that you’re spending on that aren’t moving you towards the things you love? How can you cut back?
Have a fantastic summer! And share your summer budgeting hacks in the comments below!
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