Most people consider holiday spending to be the prime time to rack up debts. With gift buying and holiday parties, that credit card balance can get spinning like the wheels on slot machine. For my family, we just spend more in the summer. With the kids out of school, they need activities to keep them busy. That can cost. Lots of potential graduation parties and weddings to attend. Travel and gifts aren’t free! Vacations to take and yards to improve can add to your costs as well. Here are three ways to avoid the summertime debt blues.
1. Seasonal Budgets
As I alluded to above, budgets are seasonal. Your budget will have at least several significant differences in the summer versus your winter budget. Plan for those weddings and graduation parties. Plan for your kids camps or sports activities. According to care.com summer day camp prices average $314, sleep-away camps average $768 and specialty camps range from $500 – $1000. Got a little athlete in the family? Get ready to pay up as the cost of sports can eclipse those of summer camps. No one wants their kids lounging around on the couch sending Snapchats to their friends and complaining that there is nothing to do. So, budget for those summer activities by looking at those flexible bills that can be reduced in the summer. Plan ahead to keep your kids out of the house and your sanity intact.
2. Learn to Porch Chill
Back in my younger days, I never went out to dinner. Not that I didn’t want to, but I was just perpetually broke. Instead my friends and I would hang out at one of our porches and shoot the breeze enjoying the warm summer air and an inexpensive beverage. Now that my younger days are long gone, we still hang out on our front porches with friends and family. The point is to socialize. Forgo the cost of a night out by having a night at home. Invite your friends over for some pops on the porch or organize a BBQ. Don’t buy all the food and drinks yourself! Most people are happy to bring ingredients or side dishes to a BBQ. They can show off their buffalo chicken dip. It keeps the cost way down and you get to enjoy the summer weather without forking over a $100 bill to a restaurant. This also gives you a chance to play those one-handed yard games taking up all that space in your garage. One hand to play the game and one hand to hold your drink. This year my wife and I have challenged ourselves to avoid going out to eat anywhere during the summer while we can enjoy the atmosphere of the great outdoors. Porch chill or BBQ every weekend!
3. Staycations and Free/Low-Cost Summer Activities
The key to making a staycation work is to schedule activities that you don’t do daily. If you only catch up on the list of chores and things that need to get done, you only did the “stay” part of the staycation. That hardly is a relaxing way to spend your time off from work. Plan on visiting the local attractions like museums and libraries that offer classes and information talks during the week. Chances are there are plenty of activities, event centers and local attractions near you that you have never visited or not visited enough. These can be affordable places like minor league baseball games and visits to the zoo or free stuff at the library. The key for a good staycation is to plan your days and deviate from your normal routine. Without paying for travel and hotel, you can do a lot for a little and avoid the debt blues.
How does your spending change with the seasons? What do you do to compensate for those changes? How do you avoid the Summer debt blues?
Let me know in the comments below.