After a long winter, the first whiff of a summer breeze awakens something in all of us. Whether it conjures images of backyard barbecues or a vacation to a special place, the excitement tends to spark another phenomenon — the mysterious annual shrinkage of your bank account.
If you’re not careful, your lovingly crafted budget can quickly become an all-you-can-eat buffet. To avoid overspending despite the soaring ebullience of your spirits, follow these five tips:
1. Budget for Everyday Life
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you’re playing with Monopoly money. Set yourself a weekly or monthly budget and stick to it. Remember that summer comes with its own set of less-than-thrilling expenses, such as lawn care, air conditioning, and weddings. Make a detailed budget and throw a bit of extra money toward these types of added expenditures.
2. Budget for Vacations
You don’t want to spend your vacation fretting over money. A budget helps you avoid this by setting clear constraints on what you can splurge on, as well as how to compensate for it. A budget lets you move money between lodging, food, activities, entertainment, and transportation to get the most bang for your buck.
3. Give Yourself a Financial Checkup
It should be a regular practice to check on your finances, and it’s especially important to do so before going into the summer. Knowing where you stand will inform how you budget for vacations and home life.
Check your credit report, add up your debts and expenses, and make sure you continue investing in your future via savings or investments.
4. If Possible, Finish Paying off Smaller Debts
With debt comes interest; if you’ve got smaller debts such as credit cards or medical bills and it’s possible to knock them out ahead of schedule, do so. You’re saving yourself interest payments and freeing up money for yourself down the road.
5. Get Gas Perks or Make Your Next Car Electric
Summer usually means more driving, and there are several great ways to save money on the road. The first is signing up for gas incentive programs. Places like Costco and other gas stations offer financial rewards for members, translating to noticeable savings at the pump.
If you’re in the market for a new car, consider the fact that all-electric cars are rapidly becoming more affordable and offer ranges comparable to internal combustion vehicles. Charge your car at home overnight or “fill up” at a quickly growing network of charging stations nationwide.
E Space Communications, Inc. How To Avoid Overspending On Vacation, www.telhio.org/news/how_to_avoid_overspending_on_vacation.html.