It’s summer time and the living is easy. This is also a time of year notorious for stretching wallets. A few simple considerations and a little extra effort can change that without taking away from all that’s enjoyable about this season. Check out these helpful money tips below!
1. Commit to that Extra Step
It is amazing how split-decision indulgences can quickly drain our finances. For example, choosing to hit up that Dairy Queen after a baseball game will add up when there is a car full of kids in the back! Instead, dig for that last bit of energy and stop at a grocery store for ice cream and cones. The small inconvenience creates a significant savings each time. Similarly, make pitchers of iced coffee or iced tea and keep it in the fridge. This will cure the temptation to run to Starbucks for that $5 latte.
Identify these kinds of last second splurges and take a few extra steps to avoid them.
2. Plan ahead
Sure, the spontaneity of a last minute summer trip or activity can be especially fun. It also most likely means paying full price for everything. This can add up quickly. Planning ahead, on the other hand, is a great way to allow for deal searching and bargaining. It will also spread out the excitement and lengthen the anticipation!
Take a weekend road trip, for example:
When planning ahead it allows the ability to secure a hotel or campground at a discount, plan meals ahead of time rather than eat every meal at a restaurant, and seek out activities in advance that are free or discounted.
3. Review Subscriptions and Memberships
The summer weather is begging us to cancel that online streaming subscription or gym membership. Most families can find at least $100/month of these extra expenses and cancel or freeze them for the summer months. Be mindful of any early termination contracts, but otherwise start dropping those extras! No doubt these companies will welcome back the business in the fall.
4. Let the Deals Dictate
It is perfectly OK to want to go to a nice restaurant, play golf, go to a theme park, see a movie, etc. Taking the time to look for deals and letting that determine where (and sometimes when) these activities are done can save big bucks.
5. Get Creative
There will always be the above activities that cost money, but there is so much to do in the summer that is free! Now is the best time for a slew of free outdoor concerts, movies in the park, free festivals and parades, and much more.
6. Make Bargain Shopping an Activity
Activities like garage sales, farmers markets, and flea markets can be a fun day out for the family. It’s also a great opportunity to teach kids important lessons like where their food comes from, the benefits of buying local, and that they don’t always need to have everything purchased new from a store.
Have lots of unused goods? Consider hosting a garage sale! It can be a great family project and will also bring in some extra bucks.
7. Set a Budget
While not solely a summer activity, this time of year is one of the most notorious ones for losing a handle on expenses. Now is the perfect time to review the budget and make a strong plan for how money will be spent. Make a plan that works and then work the plan!
Why does this matter? Like everything, it comes back to the gospel and honoring God with your finances. By having control over the little things, we ultimately protect our mind and our financial wherewithal. This affords us the ability to say yes to God for the big plans He has for us!
About Wacek Financial Planning
Founder, Ben Wacek, is a fee-only, Certified Financial PlannerTM who has a passion to help people of all income levels make wise financial decisions and steward their resources from an eternal perspective, using Biblical principles. If you’d like to learn more about Wacek Financial Planning, please visit www.wacekfp.com.
Photo courtesy of Alex Blajan via StockSnap.io