As the mercury creeps up in the summer months, so, it seems, does spending. With weddings to attend, vacations to plan, and outdoors activities to enjoy, the costs tend to add up. Before taking a dive into the deep end of the debt pool, read on for some tips about how to keep your summer budget in check.
1) Survive wedding season without blowing the budget
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Give a group gift: By pitching in with friends you can give a much larger, and possibly more meaningful, gift. A popular idea is to give an “experience” gift, for example a post-wedding or anniversary weekend away for the couple.
Get creative: While the current custom is to give enough cash to cover your plate, your budget may be outmatched by the swankiness of the venue. Plus, giving cash is not the most personal of gifts. Consider giving something a little more from the heart by making it yourself. Don’t have a creative bone in your body? Search on Pinterest or Etsy, you’re sure to find some inspiration.
Give a registry item a personal twist: Give them something that they actually want (they’ve picked it, after all!) and add a unique touch. For example, add a handwritten cookie recipe and a pair of monogramed oven mitts to a cookie sheet purchase.
2) Take a vacation without working your savings harder than necessary
Most of the internet generation would scoff at paying full-price for vacation expenses and with the online options available, it’s no wonder. Before planning your getaway, check online for the best deals.
FareCompare, a site that rounds up seat sales, advises that Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are typically the cheapest days to fly, especially the first flight of the day, or those falling over lunch or after dinner, so keep that in mind when booking.
Accommodations can be had a discount, too, so check sites like Hotels.com, Tingo, and BackBid for deals. You might also consider going a different route and renting a home, condo, or other privately-owned accommodation via Airbnb.
For all-in-one ease, try sites like Expedia, Hotwire, SellOffVacations.com as they offer discounted flights, hotels, and car rental booking.
3) Enjoy the outdoors without going overboard with spending
Take advantage of the free outdoor activities many cities and towns offer each summer. From big festivals, to public pools and beaches, to outdoor concerts and movies, there’s something for everyone.
If you’re planning to be out for the full day, be sure to pack a lunch and some snacks. Don’t forget drinks! All those little expenses can really add up.
If you’re a bit more of a homebody, perhaps a backyard barbeque or potluck is more your style. Make inexpensive finger foods like veggie trays with hummus, and ask each guest to bring a side. Avoid overpriced and over processed packaged food. Make it BYOB and set-up a cooler for guests.
Lastly, don’t worry too much about décor—let your guests enjoy the nature!
As you can see, with a little planning, and by following a few money-saving tips, there’s no need to sweat summer spending –reserve the perspiration for the beach.