The ‘arrival’ of summer means that the days are longer and the nights are warmer – so there’s more time to be out and about. For a lot of us, this also means that there’s more time for us to be out spending money.
If you’ve got kids climbing the walls, demanding something to do, you can be even more tempted to splash out on an expensive day at a theme park or a shiny new toy to keep them occupied.
So how can you budget for the summer? Here are a few little tips.
1. How much do you have to spend?
It’s really hard to budget it you don’t know how much you have to spend. You can work this out by looking at your household’s income, including any benefits you get. Then work out how much you need to spend each month – stuff like your mortgage or rent, bills, food, and petrol. After these essential costs, that leftover money is your ‘disposable’ income. But wait! Don’t just ‘dispose’ of it.
2. Decide what you’ll do
You can’t plan out every activity for the summer, of course. In fact, part of the joy of summer is doing things on a whim – getting invited to a barbeque at the last minute, waking up on a gorgeous Saturday and deciding to pack up the car for a road trip…
There are some things you can plan, though. For example, decide how many times you’re going to take the kids to the theme park, water park, etc. If your budget is tight, pledge to only go once for a special treat – or forego it altogether and find something cheaper / free (like going for a swim in the sea, if that’s an option).
If you don’t have enough for a holiday this year, consider loading up the car and going camping. When you get back, you can start planning early for a holiday next year – you might be able to save some money by booking early.
3. Do as many free activities as you can
It doesn’t (usually) cost anything to go outdoors, and kids tend to love it. Walking, cycling, or just chilling out are all great fun on a sunny day. If you take a picnic, you won’t have to splash out for lunch at a café (in fact, this applies to everywhere you go, whether it’s a local park or a theme park). Check out your area’s website for the latest news on what’s going on. Chances are your children and family won’t mind how much you spend on them, as long as you spend your time with them.
4. Put something aside
Whenever you can, put a bit of money into savings. Even the most carefully planned summer budget can hit unexpected hitches, so it helps to have something tucked away for when you need it.
5. Tackle your debt
Budgeting and saving are all very well, but what if you’re struggling to simply keep up with your unsecured debt repayments? If this is the case, you might be anticipating a stressful summer, but there’s no need to tackle debt on your own. There’s loads of information about debt solutions, as well as expert advice at Debt Advice Team. This could help you decide how to tackle your unsecured debts, so you can start enjoying your summer knowing you’re doing something about your money worries.
Readers: What do you plan to do to stretch your dollars this summer? Any brisk trips or inexpensive outings? Or maybe you’ve got some things you plan to do around the house? Please feel free to share!
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art