Ahhh, summer! The days are longer, the air is warmer, and the pace of life tends to slow down a bit. It’s also all too easy to let spending get out of control with family vacations, frequent visitors and entertaining, kids out of school, and lots of fun things to do.
Here are some ideas for sticking to a budget while enjoy a summer to remember –
- Take a low cost vacation.
Don’t pass up those hard earned days off or miss out on the chance to create some awesome memories. There’s no need for a trip needs to cost a fortune. Try camping – even the hottest vacation destinations often have campgrounds where you can stay for a fraction of the price of a hotel. It’s fun for groups of friends, couples, and families with kids. Other low cost options include visiting family or friends, or working out a home swap, where you stay in a friend’s home and visit another city while they take a vacation to your hometown and stay in your house.
- Get a season pass.
It might not seem budget friendly to purchase a season pass to a local attraction, but often the cost isn’t much more than buying tickets for just one day. If you have a favorite zoo, aquarium, theme park, water park, or museum nearby consider a season pass and you’ll have a special place to visit over and over all summer long. If the attraction is a non-profit the cost of your membership may even be tax deductible (check with the organization and a tax advisor to be sure.)
- Seek out free events and activities.
Most communities have all sorts of free things to do during the summer months. Check area calendars for outdoor concerts, festivals, fireworks, and more. Bring snacks and drinks along to avoid high priced and unhealthy concession stand offerings.
- Be on the lookout for budget busters.
Extra costs can sneak up on you when you’re not looking this summer. I LOVE farmer’s markets – food is often fresher & tastier, and buying local is a wonderful thing to do for so many reasons. Still, the produce, baked goods, and bunch of flowers you pick up while strolling through on a weekend morning will likely cost more at the farmer’s market than at the grocery store. There’s no need to cross this fun and worthwhile activity off your summer to-do list, just know you’re splurging and cut back in another area. Another budget buster can be pot-luck summer cookouts. It’s all too easy to dash into the store and spend big bucks on a pre-made item to take to a party. Come up with a few easy dishes you can whip up at home making use of seasonal ingredients such as a peach crisp or tabouli.
What are your favorite summer-time money saving strategies?