Summer is a nostalgic time for travel, fun, and hot weather, but with more free time for the family and with more activities scheduled, it can also be expensive.
It’s officially summer! School’s out. Students are graduating. Friends are getting married. And everybody’s thinking vacay! Trouble is, the costs for all that fun can add up and sink your savings goals in the process. The good news is that with a little planning, you and your family can enjoy all that summer has to offer, without busting your budget. Consider these summer spending tips:
1. Visit During the Off-Season
If you couldn’t swing Thanksgiving in Arizona or Christmas in the tropics, summer’s your time to visit. Destinations like these, that draw big crowds in winter, tend to slow down in the hotter summer months. If you can take the heat, you can snag some great deals during the off-season.
2. Have a Staycation
If you don’t feel comfortable spending on a big trip, consider a staycation near your home, neighboring cities, or a local beach. Sites like Airbnb often have airstreams or rent rooms for way less than a hotel. The best part? You don’t have to spend money on pricey plane tickets.
3. Give Camping a Try
If you stock up on all of the newest gear, even camping can be expensive, but many outdoor retailers rent all the basic equipment you’ll need for a campground getaway. Some even offer free workshops to show you the ropes of pitching a tent and using a cook stove. Take up fishing and save even more on meals while you enjoy the great outdoors.
4. Skip the Cash Gifts
While it’s true that cash is a one-size-fits-all gift for new grads, it’s not very personal. And if you’ve got lots of students to remember, you could easily zero-out your checking account. Instead, consider giving each of the students in your life a book that’s been influential in your life. One that teaches the basics of budgeting, saving and investing would be a great way to get the new grad off on the right foot financially.
5. Make it a Potluck
Backyard barbeques are a summer staple, but when you’re footing the bill for everybody’s burgers, sides, drinks and desserts, the tab can run a little high. Next time you play host, ask each of your guests to bring something. Most people love to pitch in on a party, and even non-cooks can help by bringing things like soft drinks, ice, and disposable dinnerware.
6. Be First on the Registry
If you’ll be attending the wedding of a family member, think about putting together a cookbook of family recipes. If you’re not related to the happy couple, their online registry will let you know what gifts they’d really like to receive. But don’t wait until the last minute to shop. The day before the wedding, the only “unclaimed” items on a registry are likely to be super-expensive items that only the rich uncle can afford.
7. Your Free Gym Is Outside
The sun is out longer in the summer, which means it’s a great time to get outside in the mornings or late afternoons for a walk, hike, or jog. Whether you garden, swim or throw frisbees, take advantage of the season by getting outdoors and being active.
8. Support Local Farms
Head to your local Farmer’s Market or participate in a farm share to cut down on costs for delicious in-season produce. Since farmers are selling locally, they also tend to grapple with less travel costs, which especially now can ultimately lower the cost of your summer fruits and vegetables.
9. Turn Your Air Conditioner Off When You’re Not Home
This summer is going to be hot and your electricity bill is guaranteed to rise with the temperature. Keep costs under control by turning your air conditioner up or off every time you leave the house. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.
Contact me if you need help navigating your summer budget!
About the Author
Ross joined Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group in 2011 as an Investment Consultant. Today, he oversees the Financial Planning team as VP, Personal Investment Services. He is a Registered Representative of Sentinel Securities, Inc. and an Investment Advisor Representative of Sentinel Pension Advisors, Inc.
Ross offers fee-based investment management and financial planning services to businesses, individuals and their families. He provides education and guidance to plan participants to help maximize their retirement benefits in an effort to become retirement ready. For institutions, he works closely with plan sponsors to help implement custom retirement programs and employee benefits packages and provide fiduciary governance.