Ah, summer. For some Americans, few things are as relaxing as a trip to the beach or a popular theme park. But if you’re not careful, summer can bring some surprising costs. Here are eight tips that help you focus on your tan without going into debt.
1. Start a Vacation Fund
Most financial planners recommend a 50-30-20 approach to budgeting. Aim to spend 50% of your income on necessities, 30% on your wants, and 20% on savings and investments.
If you’re looking forward to a vacation, you might cut your year-round fun budget down to 25%. Put the extra 5% toward your vacation, and you’ll have more cushion for the summer months.
2. Keep Track of Your Expenses
Don’t jettison your budget just because you have time away from work. It’s okay to splurge on that family road trip or afternoon ice cream cone. Just make sure that your summertime expenses are accounted for.
3. Schedule Your Vacation Strategically
During the early summer rush, you’re more likely to pay higher prices for hotel rooms and airplane tickets. But if you wait until the end of August (or even early September), you may be able to score a deal on lodging or even resort accommodations.
4. Don’t Neglect Your Savings
Keep saving! Summertime shouldn’t be a break from saving or investing. Ensure you maintain the same contributions to your savings or retirement accounts all year.
5. Optimize Your AC
High temperatures translate into higher energy bills. But you can optimize your home’s air conditioning system to save money and reduce your environmental impact. Reversing your ceiling fans improves air circulation and helps you feel cooler without lowering your thermostat. And a programmable thermostat lets you regulate your home’s temperature without running your AC around the clock.
6. Find Free Activities
The kids are out of school. And they’re bored. At least, that’s what they tell you every five minutes or so. But before you pull out your credit card, consider some of the free
activities in your area. Libraries, community pools, and religious centers offer a variety of youth programs that can enrich your children’s lives — without costing a penny.
7. Host a Yard Sale
Warmer weather is a great time to unload some of your extra stuff. Some people even find it therapeutic! Hosting a yard or garage sale allows you to clear out some of your clutter — and make some extra cash along the way.
8. Book a Hotel with a Kitchen
When you’re on the road, it may help to book a hotel with a kitchen. That way, you can eat meals in your room instead of going out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Bonus Tip: Have Fun!
The best things in life are free. Warm weather, sunsets, more time to enjoy the outdoors — these things have no price tag. So this summer, live it up. And by practicing these tips for saving big, you’ll also stay on budget.
This article is for information, illustrative and entertainment purposes only and does not purport to show actual results. It is not, and should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular investment action.