As summer heats up, we hope you’re finding ways to stay cool. And nothing’s cooler than growing smart money habits.
No matter which Baby Step you’re on today, chances are you’re further along now than you were at the beginning of the year. Good job! Now’s definitely not the time to backslide on your financial progress.
Sure, summer fun is calling, but this season has a way of getting mighty expensive. To help you keep up the good work, check out this list of expenses notorious for busting even the best-planned summer budgets.
Keeping the Kids Entertained
The summer blockbusters are out in movie theaters, amusement park ads blare from every media outlet, and the variety of summer camps is endless. These activities are pretty pricey—so should you just say no to all kids’ entertainment this summer?
Not necessarily. There are several ways to contain the cost of kids’ entertainment or make cheaper substitutes that are just as fun and easier on your wallet:
·When you’re at the zoo or amusement park, your kids are gonna have a blast with or without a bunch of extras. You’ve already paid for parking and a ticket, so skip the $10 ice cream and other high-priced concessions.
·If you can’t seem to fit the price of a kids’ overnight summer camp into your budget, you can get similar value by signing them up for a cheaper day camp. Bonus: Instead of waiting all week for their recap from an overnight camp, you get to hear about their day’s activities each night when you pick them up.
·There’s no reason you can’t enjoy great movies with your children, even on a tight budget. Many theaters do cheap or even free movie promotions in the summer for kids, and sometimes the discounts apply to popcorn and drinks. Another affordable movie option? Go borrow DVDs for free from your local library and have a family movie night.
Exorbitant Extras on Vacation
Depending on your position with the Baby Steps, you might not have budgeted a summer vacation. But even if you have, it’s tough to anticipate the seemingly endless number of extra costs that come up when you’re out of town. Once you’ve set aside the funds for hotel and travel, watch out for these extras that can send your vacation spending through the roof:
One way to hold this down is to reserve a room with a kitchen and plan to cook in the hotel.
Your phone is your best friend here. Snapping unlimited pictures is fun and free.
The only way around this one is to travel light, but that will probably make for a more comfortable trip anyway.
You could avoid this extra by only visiting attractions without tolls. But if your favorite beach lies behind a tollbooth, consider buying a weekly pass for unlimited use at a reduced rate.
Higher-Than-Usual Household Bills
It’s inevitable that some of your utility and house maintenance costs will be up this summer. But with thought and care, you have ways to rein those in.
Cooling the House
The hotter it gets outside, the more frequently you’ll find yourself adjusting the thermostat downward. To keep your air-conditioner from blowing your budget to bits, cool off in other ways. Carry a huge bottle of ice water with you all over the house. Go swimming or water-skiing. Or go outside with your family and run through the water sprinkler in the backyard (preferably in swimsuits).
If you currently pay for this service, now’s a perfect time to take it on for yourself. A summer of cutting your own grass is not only good for your budget, it’s also a decent workout.