Summer can be an exciting time filled with warmer weather, adventures, and fun with friends and family. Most Europeans travel during the summer, making it many people’s favorite season. While fun and travel are certainly enjoyable, they aren’t free, and it can be easy to overspend when you’re having a great time. Taking advantage of all that summer offers doesn’t have to break the bank, and we’ve got 8 tips on not overspending this summer while still having fun in the sun.
1. Honestly Assess Your Financial Situation
With summer around the corner, ask yourself how you’re doing financially; make an honest assessment of your earnings, debt, obligations, savings, and investments. If you’ve spent too much earlier this year, you might want to limit your spending this summer. Maybe you have a lot of debt hanging over your head, in which case you may want to prioritize paying that off to avoid high-interest charges. Regardless of what happened during the year, think about where you stand financially and what you must do to meet your financial goals this summer.
2. Plan Travel Ahead
If you’re interested in traveling this summer, take the time to plan. Planning your travel long before your departure can help ensure you get the best prices on plane or train tickets and that you don’t overpay for accommodations. Besides saving you money, planning your vacation ahead of time gives you a chance to build a fabulous itinerary and get the most out of your trip.
3. Avoid Tourist Traps and Busy Travel Times
Many of the world’s most popular destinations are rife with tourist traps, where local businesses charge a premium for everything, from hotels and restaurants to experiences and souvenirs. Take some time and figure out where the locals go by looking on travel forums or business review sites. Steering clear of tourist traps can save you money, not to mention you’ll usually get a better, more authentic experience.
The solution to tourist traps is finding places and activities off the beaten track. By exerting a little effort, you can save a lot of money. Rather than going for the well-known tourist attractions, see if you can find a cheaper destination that offers more affordable options.
Another related tip to keep in mind to avoid overspending is avoiding busy travel dates when fares are more expensive. If you can, aim for off-peak dates, such as weekdays or non-holiday weekends.
4. Create a Budget
It can be a real challenge not to overspend on summer activities or when you’re on summer holiday, but creating (and sticking to) a strict budget can keep you in line. Think about how much you want to spend in a given period or on a specific activity. Set a total trip budget and a daily budget if you’re traveling for several days.
The key to budgeting for a trip is to do so before the temptations of a holiday present themselves. For example, if you have an activity in mind that exceeds your daily budget, you’ll have to draw on the funds from a different day to make up for the increased expense. Creating a budget and planning ahead go hand-in-hand, helping you have a great trip without overspending.
5. Use Cash Instead of Credit
Using cash can help you stick to your budget. With cash, you can’t spend more than you have, and you’ll be more aware of how much you have and how much you’ve spent. In many places, cash can also get you better prices or help you avoid credit card fees. If you absolutely must use a credit card, consider using a travel card if you’re going to a country that uses a different currency, so you can avoid foreign transaction fees.
6. Try DIY Activities
DIY activities can be an excellent, more affordable alternative to some more traditional summer activities. Children can enjoy obstacle courses, arts & crafts, sports, and more. For a great family DIY activity, you can take your kids to the pool or beach, or even spend a night camping out in the backyard.
7. Open a Separate Bank Account for Summer Spending
You may find it helpful to separate your summer funds from the money you use during the rest of the year. Much like keeping a separate savings and checking account, a summer spending account can give you more precise insights into how much money you have and what you can reasonably afford to spend. In addition, maintaining a discrete bank account for your summer spending can help prevent overspending or dipping into funds earmarked for non-discretionary expenses, like rent, insurance, and other bills.
8. Use a Waiting Period Before Buying Discretionary Items
If you want to buy something you don’t really need, try and enforce a waiting period of a day or two before making any discretionary purchases. Think about how much time you’d have to spend working to buy the item you want. Then, consider whether you’d rather spend the money on something else or put it into a savings or investment account. A waiting period can help you evaluate if you really want something or if it’s just a fleeting desire.
Summer spending can quickly set you back financially, but if you prepare appropriately, you can avoid overspending. Thinking ahead by planning travel well in advance and setting a budget can help you stay on track with your spending. Adding a waiting period before buying discretionary items and using cash can help reduce the likelihood you’ll get buyer’s remorse.
Which one of these tips will you use to control your summer spending?