Summertime can lure us into spending more money simply because our usual habits and routines are disrupted. Kids are out of school and desperate for entertainment. Adults are eager to spend time outdoors after months of being stuck at home.
In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget that summer fun comes at a cost. To make the most of the season without breaking the bank, keep reading for 10 tips on how to save money in the summer and how to stick to a summer budget.
Why Saving and Budgeting in the Summer Can Be Tough
Holidays aside, many of us are satisfied spending the colder months curled up on the couch enjoying a succession of movie marathons. So when summer rolls around, we’re eager to get outside — and that increases the temptations to spend exponentially. Because while sun and surf are technically free of charge, the food, drink, and transportation costs that inevitably follow can steadily chip away at your summer budget.
Another reason that saving money in summer can be tough is the spontaneous nature of summer fun. Consider that last-minute happy hour invite to a new rooftop bar ($$). Or those friends who have an empty bedroom in their rental house by the lake ($$$$). The last thing you want to think about is your bank account. And the less advance planning that’s involved, the more likely it is you’re living beyond your means.
10 Tips for Saving in the Summer
Sure, small indulgences add up over time. But so do honest attempts to curtail overspending. Let’s look at 10 ways to save money and get financially fit for the summer.
Recommended: Where to Keep Your Travel Fund
1. Not Feeling Obligated to Plan a Vacation
From airfares to gas prices, travel costs soar during the summer. Planning your big trip for the fall, when prices drop, can make it easier to stretch a travel budget. The benefits aren’t just financial: You’ll enjoy fewer crowds and less sweltering temperatures. And you can still arrange a few fun yet inexpensive staycations for summer.
2. Finding Local Events in Your Community
Many communities host special summer events like outdoor movie nights and concerts, street festivals, and sports tournaments — most of which are free to attend. Make a point of checking out free events in your area. You may discover your neighborhood has more to offer than you ever imagined.
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3. Suspending Your Gym Membership
When the skies are clear, who needs an indoor treadmill? Pause your gym membership during the summer months, and go for a run in the park instead. You may save enough cash to book an affordable vacation in summer.
4. Using the Outside to Cool Your House and Car
Open windows before bed and early in the morning, and use fans to keep indoor air moving. You’ll cool your home without having to rely on air conditioning. You may even find you prefer the feel of no AC.
Did you know using your car’s air conditioning can reduce your gas mileage? On hot days, park your car in the shade and place a sunshade over your windshield to reduce the need to crank the AC during your next quick trip.
5. Planning Ahead Before Going to the Store
No matter the season, a shopping list can help prevent overspending at the market. After all, groceries take a major chunk of your monthly budget. In the summer, it’s natural to enjoy wandering around air conditioned grocers and big-box stores. But that strategy (or lack thereof) may lead to a cart filled with impulse purchases. Create a shopping list before heading to the store, and try not to stray from it.
6. Tracking Your Spending
Another seasonless tip for sticking to a budget is to track your spending, especially for unplanned events. Generally, when consumers track how they spend their money, they become more mindful of their purchases and actually find it easier to stick to a budget. (Bonus: They’re also more likely to catch fraudulent charges on their credit cards.)
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7. Setting Budget Limits
Setting summer budget limits, on things like dining out and airfare, can help you squirrel away extra cash for next year’s big trip. That’s because budgeting is the leading strategy to help you reach financial goals. By seeing how much money is left over at the end of each week or month, you can earmark that amount for more long-term costs.
8. Utilizing Cash Over Credit Cards
Paying cash for summer activities can protect your budget in more ways than one. First, cash is more concrete: Forking over multiple Jacksons will slow your spending better than throwing down a card.
Second, if you can’t afford to pay off your entire credit card bill each month, relying on cash will help you avoid paying interest on the balance.
9. Suspending Unused Monthly Subscriptions
From streaming services to meal kit delivery, monthly subscriptions can really add up. It’s important to review subscription charges on a monthly basis to see which no longer make the cut. And because our habits change so drastically in the summer, you may find you can cancel or pause some subs until you need them again.
10. Planning Accordingly if You Are Vacationing
For families with school-age children, summer may be the only time they can take a real vacation. If you hope to take a summer trip, you’ll benefit from creating a special vacation budget that outlines how much you plan to spend for things like dining out, activities, hotels, and souvenirs. Going overboard now and then is only human, but setting a detailed budget makes it less likely you’ll overdo it.
Managing Your Finances With SoFi
Want to grow your next summer’s vacation fund? With our high interest bank accounts, members with direct deposit earn a 1.80% APY and don’t have to worry about pesky account fees. Saving money and earning money at the same time can help you get the most out of the summer season!
How can I save money on summer vacation?
Choosing less trendy destinations and creating a detailed vacation budget can make it easier to save money on a summer vacation. Avoiding travel around holiday weekends can also save you a bundle, as can postponing your big trip until after Labor Day.
Why is it hard to save money in the summer?
In a nutshell, our habits and routines change significantly with the seasons. Keeping kids entertained during the long school break, spending less time at home, and going on vacation can all tempt folks to hand over more cash than they should.
Where do budgets change the most during summer?
We all tend to spend a lot more on things like travel, entertainment, and dining out in the summer. Some less exciting costs can also run higher, like electric and water bills thanks to increased air conditioning and garden maintenance.
Photo credit: iStock/Hispanolistic
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SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 1.80% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on all account balances in their Checking and Savings accounts (including Vaults). Members without direct deposit will earn 1.00% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. Rate of 1.80% APY is current as of 07/26/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet