1. Be intentional about where your money is going.
- If you have to set up a budget, do so. You can could even set aside a certain amount of money in envelopes (like for activities) and once the money is gone, it’s GONE.
2. Decide what you want to spend your money on.
- Making the choice to say no to some activities and yes to others, helps in deciding what you value most. Often it is the experience that offers more value, than an actual material possession. For example, if you value spending time together as a family, then make family plans to go to the park and have a picnic, instead of sitting around and watching a movie. Some of the best summer activities do not cost any money: think campfires, swimming, reading a book outside, biking, etc.
3. Watch your variable spending.
- These are the expenses that fluctuate, like food, groceries, and gas. Try to be mindful about how many trips you make into town for errands. When you take your kids to the grocery store, take a list with you. No deviating from the list! Those little purchases that the kids constantly beg for, add up. Be firm and say no.
4. Take advantage of summer perks.
- Farmer’s markets are a gift in the summer, as they offer locally grown food at an often cheaper price (depending on the market). If you can’t make the market, buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. If you are able, take advantage of the warm weather and plant your OWN garden! If you have too much of one item, find another gardener who is willing to swap produce. This significantly decreases the cost of produce and keeps your family eating healthy all summer long.
5. Plan ahead for vacations.
- This is where summer can get expensive, though this does not have to be the case. Budget for vacations by setting aside a certain amount and sticking to it. Look for deals online when it comes to hotels and airfare. Search for coupons on theme parks, zoos, museums, and parks. Also, know when to travel. Weekends are just plain expensive – hotels, gas, and airfare automatically go up on weekends. If you can avoid this time frame, you will be saving money!
6. Finally, check your bank statements.
- If you are still wondering where all of your money is going each month or even each week, when you get your bank statements, highlight the items that are variable and unnecessary purchases. You may be surprised at how many highlighted items you have. After you are done highlighting, go through the list and decide what changes you can make.