Oh, the joys of summer are fast approaching; longer days, warmer weather, the kids are out of school or back home from college. The lazy days of summer are jam packed with grads, Dad’s Day, camps for kids, vacations, and outdoor entertaining. It is a fantastic season to get outside, attend celebrations, connect with family and friends, and travel to new and exciting places. But, summer can be a very costly season that can leave you with the summertime blues if you do not stick with a budget.
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend $5.6 Billion on graduation gifts, $15.5 Billion on Father’s Day, and $7.1 Billion on the Fourth of July holiday. Add to that, the cost of summer camps for kids and a vacation, and summer is sizzling with spending that could melt your budget quickly. To keep your budget in check, try the following:
Write down which celebrations you will be attending each month this summer, which parties or holidays you will be hosting, dates your children need to attend camps, where you would like to go on vacation and the cost associated with each. Use the following chart as an example to help you plan:
|SUMMER SPENDING BUDGET|
|Date of Event||Event / Holiday||Budget Amount for Gift(s)|
June / July
|Camps for Kids
(6 @ $350 each)
Next, review the figures and determine if the total amount is in line with the amount you had in mind to spend. If you have to go into debt to fund your fun, take the time to cut, trim and find alternative ways to accomplish the same goals. A little planning can save you a lot of money. Let’s take a look:
Summer Camps: Go online and research camps that are being offered through your school district, your city, or community college. Schools, cities and colleges typically offer a wide variety of camps that are both cost effective and fun for children. Additionally, staying local allows your children to attend camps with school friends and the opportunity to support your individual school.
Vacations:Whether you drive or fly this summer, vacations come with a costly price tag. In a study done by the financial planning company, Learnvest, nearly three quarters of Americans go into debt on vacation. On average, a family of four spends $4,800 per year on vacation. If you charge that amount, make the minimum payment (with a rate of 12%), it will take 253 months to pay off the initial debt not to mention the $4,244 in additional interest. That much needed vacation will set you back versus relax and recharge you.
Opt for a staycation this year and spend the time exploring the Bay Area. Take a day trip to San Francisco, a hike through Muir Woods, pack a picnic and spend the day on the beach in Capitola or Santa Cruz, or explore the local museums, the options are endless. Exploring activities in your own backyard can be fun, educational, and stress free as you don’t have to contend with packing bags, long security lines, and you can return to the comfort of your home each day.
Entertaining:Backyard BBQ’s and swim parties are a must during the summer and can create fantastic memories with family and friends. But shopping, planning, and preparing can take the splash out of the fun. If you are planning on entertaining this summer, create a theme and ask your guests to bring their favorite entrée, dessert, or appetizer. Guests always enjoy pitching in and showcasing their favorite seasonal dish and you may even pick up a new recipe or two for future parties!
Whatever you choose to do this summer, taking the time to plan and budget will allow you to thoroughly enjoy the dog days of summer and not end the summer with a spending heatstroke.