Money Hack—Tips for a Fun Summer That Won’t Derail Your Finances
Summer is here. The kids are getting out of school. A lot of us enjoy more time off work during this time of year whether you’re a seasonal worker, have summers off, or simply save your vacation days for the upcoming months. But with this increased time off to have fun, we can easily find our finances spiraling out of control. In fact, one EZonomics poll found that most people consider summer to be the most expensive season for their household.
Planning for a financially stable summer is essential to your family’s bank account. It’s hard to stash away cash all winter long, only to blow through all your savings come summertime. So here we are with another installment of “Money Hack” with tips for keeping your finances in order over summer vacation.
Save. Setting aside funds throughout the year to cover the expenses your family will accrue over the next few months is critical. This ensures that, come fall, your savings account isn’t in the negative or that you won’t have to turn down every fun opportunity that comes your way. Start a weekly or monthly fund. Depending on your family’s needs, this should cover the last minute adventures that pop up, at least. Bigger trips and vacations should be a separate account with a specific budget.
Prioritize. Determine your family’s goals over the summer. Make sure to include things that every member will enjoy, weeding through all of the options to find those that will benefit everyone. This helps you prioritize activities while still giving options. For example, if one of the kids has multiple interests for summer activities, encourage them to pick and choose wisely, because before you know it, the associated costs could overwhelm the summer budget.
Shop around. Always be on the look out for summer deals. Instead of a five-star hotel, you might find a great alternative three or four-star accommodation at a fraction of the cost. Look also for free events. Your local events calendar is usually a great resource for finding free or affordable family-friendly activities. Also, remember to leverage websites like Groupon, which offer coupons and discounts to places like museums and waterparks. Sometimes a little research can save you tons of cash.
Get outside. Summertime is the perfect time for getting outside and enjoying activities that you’ve been waiting for all winter long. And the best part is a lot of these are totally free! From backyard games and sports to swimming pools and lakes, there are ample things to do during summer’s long, hot months that won’t cost a penny. Make it a priority to spend as much of your time outside as possible, playing with chalk, bubbles, sprinklers, and other fun games. You can also pack the kids up for a day at the park or on a hiking trail.
Make trips affordable. Instead of the posh hotel or the finest dining, choose trip options that are economical. You can rent a cabin or yurt in the woods for reasonable prices or pitch a tent! Instead of going out to eat while vacationing, choose instead to get your hands dirty, making your own dinners above a campfire or packing lunches to take on the boat or trail. Not only are these recommendations affordable but also the kids will learn valuable life skills involving them.
Read. Finally, get involved in summer reading programs. They are usually free at your local library for readers of all ages—kids and adults included. These programs will help kids stay intellectually engaged over the summer months while away from school and you might learn a thing or two yourself!
Are you ready for summer? Are your finances ready for summer? If you want to make sure they are, follow this simple money hack list. Your bank account will thank you come fall!
 EZonomics. (2014). In which season do you spend the most money? Accessed April 7, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.ezonomics.com/polls/in_which_season_do_you_spend_the_most_money/.