Curb Your Spending This Season with These Helpful Tips
Did you know that the summer season can affect your spending habits? Feeling the sun on your skin, the sand between your toes, and looking up at blue skies are all sure signs of the season, but you may notice a change in your bank account, too. It turns out more than half of all Americans—52%—tend to overspend in the summertime, according to a study from MassMutual. And another survey showed only 28% of respondents bothered to set a summer budget.
Why Does Summer Spending Affect Us?
What’s behind these free-for-all seasonal spending habits? Two-thirds of Americans say it’s a desire to “Make the most of the summer” that causes their spending to skyrocket. Of course, summer activities can cost more, too, and fear of missing out (also known as FOMO) may also contribute to slightly looser purse strings. Though this is likely the case in any year, it’s perhaps particularly so during the last years of the pandemic, when one of the only safe ways to gather has been when enjoying the great outdoors.
If you’d like to be more intentional about your summer spending habits, we can help. Use these tips to guide your spending habits so you can have a fantastic summer without breaking the bank.
Balance Fun and Responsibility
Staying inside all summer to avoid overspending isn’t a sustainable strategy. Of course, neither is spending money left and right on beach getaways and gourmet picnics. If you have children who are out of school in the summer, you’ll likely need a little cash on hand to keep them engaged and cared for.
Luckily, you can have your fun and save up, too—you just need to have a plan. Here’s a reasonable goal: pledge to spend a little bit more in the summer without going overboard. Here are some ways you can enjoy yourself without getting into financial trouble:
- Budget. Planning can help you stay on track during the summer. There are many different ways to budget, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. The important thing is finding something you can stick to, especially when summer temptations are plentiful. The best thing about budgeting is that when you know where your money is going, you give yourself permission to spend what you can. Need a new bathing suit? Want to schedule a long weekend away? If it fits within your financial goals, you can start packing your bag.
- Shop smarter. Many fun summer activities come with price tags. If you can get ahead of your seasonal spending, you can find innovative ways to save. Take outdoor furniture, beach necessities, and pool staples, for example—those are usually marked down as summer slides into fall. If you plan to stock up in advance, you can know you have what you need for a more affordable price.
- Start a summer fund. Throughout the year, you may find yourself saving in small ways. If you skip ordering takeout, stash those funds away. If you happen to make a little extra income one month, put it aside so you can enjoy it when the weather turns. Adding unexpected money to your fund is a great way to make sure you can maximize your summer fun, and it can be a motivating way to develop smarter spending habits, too.
- Focus on the long term. When the smell of barbecue is in the air and the waves beckon you from shore, it can be difficult to say no to overspending. But keeping your eyes on your long-term savings plan can help you keep your head when summer temperatures and temptations rise.
- Practice the pause. Picture this: you’re walking down the street in your favorite vacation spot and something in a store window catches your eye. What you want to do: go inside and buy it straight away. What you should do: keep walking and, if the urge to purchase it is still there a day or two later, check to see if it would fit in your budget. Pressing pause in that scenario can help save you from impulse buying, which rises in the summer months.
FOMO vs. Financial Goals
There’s so much to love about the summertime—the laid-back vibe, the beautiful weather, taking time off, and exploring new places. It’s natural to want to make the most of this time, but don’t let fear of missing out on summer fun dictate your financial wellbeing.
If you feel tempted to spend when you see the summer fun your friends and acquaintances are posting on social media, take a break from your social accounts for a while. If you need reminders to keep your eye on your long-term financial goals, write them out and post them on your fridge or keep them in a note on your phone.
Curbing seasonal spending habits can be tough but spending too much and suffering later can be an even bigger challenge. Keeping your wits about you during the warmer months can be a big benefit to you all year round.
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