With summer upon us, it’s time to gear up for some of your seasonal favorites: baseball games under the sun, hot dogs on the grill, vacations with friends and family. But careful that while you’re out soaking up the dog days of summer, you’re not spending more than usual.
Research shows that, under the right circumstances, consumers are likely to spend outside of their usual budgets. And, summertime just happens to lend itself to some of the biggest spending temptations. Below you’ll find five of the situations during which you might increase your usual spending (and a tip or two on how to stick to your budget all summer long).
You’ve just finished up a challenging spring semester or you’re working lengthy hours and now, you’re slipping into the “I need to treat myself” mentality. We’ve all been there. Sometimes, you’re right, it’s not a bad idea to splurge a little. (We’ve even written about how to splurge wisely.)
In addition to being smart about splurges, keep in mind that there are other (free) ways to treat yourself when you’re feeling overworked. Cue up your favorite song on repeat, take a 10-minute walk around the block, or watch a quick, funny video clip. You might find these little splurges brighten your mood just as much as reaching for your wallet after a long day.
You’re on Vacation
Ahh, ‘tis the season for sandy toes, umbrella drinks and shore-side naps. There’s no doubt that when you get a chance to unwind from the craziness of your daily life, you should go for it! A little planning can go a long way with managing your finances on vacation. Do a little homework beforehand. Can you pack groceries from home to avoid going out to eat for every meal? Are there forms of entertainment that are free? Is your house or hotel located in a centralized area so you can limit your cab fare or public transit costs? Do what you can to minimize costs before leaving for your much-deserved respite.
You’re in the Dating Scene
No surprise here. Consumers are prone to stretching budgets when trying to impress a special someone. Don’t worry. We’re not suggesting you ditch your summer love to avoid breaking the bank. But you can find creative, less expensive ways to spend time with your significant other. For example, you can adjust your dinner and a movie date to include a matinee followed by cooking together at home. Or, find a new place to explore together. If you’re in a city, check out a new neighborhood, window shop and people-watch. If you don’t live in a city, take a long drive through a scenic area and park to watch the sunset.
You’re the Host
Has the warm weather moved you to host your first summer cookout of the season? Remember, just because you’re the host doesn’t mean you should front the entire bill! Pick up a pack of hot dogs and let your guests know they’re responsible for bringing a side dish or dessert of their choice. Odds are, you’ll end up with more than enough food and everyone will likely have an option they enjoy.
You’re Trying to Get in Shape
Bathing suit season is here! You’re likely more motivated than ever to invest in that expensive gym membership or fitness class. Staying healthy (no matter what time of year) is a good thing, but don’t forget about less expensive ways to get in your exercise. Try running around a scenic part of town or using cans of food in your pantry as free weights. Before you know it, you’ll be swimsuit ready AND you’ll still have money in the bank.