The lovely colors of fall bring so much beauty to the world around us. Then comes winter with it's chill and beautiful white landscape. Winter is followed by spring and the refreshing bloom of a new season. Oh, but when summer comes...we all love the summer time! Pool parties, beach trips, bar-b-q's, and so much fun. This fun, however, does not come without a price. Vacations, trips, and travel can quickly add up without proper planning and budgeting. Summer can be a particularly difficult season for families with the additional costs of childcare and summer camps to consider. To help take the hassle out of planning for this summer season, here are some nuggets of wisdom that may help.
Start the season knowing where you want to end up
Knowing how much money you will need to end the season with will allow you to backwards plan and budget appropriately. Most families with school age children incur a cost for school supplies and clothing towards the end of the summer season. With this in mind, it is wise to decide how much money you can afford to spend in advance. Remember that when you're living on a budget, any money that is "overspent" in one area is money that you are taking away from another. If you must spend more that you planned, carefully consider where you will make up the difference. Taking the "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it" approach to spending ultimately produces a lot of unnecessary stress.
The more you know, the less you'll spend
You don't have to be a know it all to save money having fun. According to Business Insider, apps like Decide, RetailMeNot, SnipSnap, and Groupon are some of the best ways to find discounts and save money when you're out and about. Gone are the days of having to know where to go and what to do on your particular budget. Now, you can simply browse based on the about of money you want to spend, where you want to go, your party size, etc. Everything you need to know will be right there in one spot and you can often make your ticket purchases directly within the app.
Eating has always been a social event as much as it is a source of nourishment. When family and friends get together, food is always a huge part of the festivities. When traveling and having fun throughout the summer season, trying new foods and establishments can be exciting. This type of fellowship can also become expensive. One way to clip the spending this season is to plan to prepare meals together!
Decide on a menu and purchase the required items in advance. After the main event, carpool back to the house and enjoy the fun of preparing a meal together. This is ideal for families with small children who don't do so well in a more formal restaurant setting. You may also like to consider having your meal before you go and simply grabbing a coffee or small desert after the festivities. This also helps to minimize spending but still allows you to savor your favorite flavors with friends.
Remember what's important
Whether you're out maxing out your spending this season or your on a tight budget that only allows for the occasional splurge, remember what is truly important this season, relationships. Take time this summer to enjoy your favorite people in some of your favorite places. Whether it be a planned vacation, an impromptu road trip, or a virtual video chat, spend less time worrying about your finances by planning and preparing using our tips above. This will give you the freedom to truly enjoy your loved ones this summer.