Summertime is a time for relaxation, vacations, and adventure. As the summer months pass, being cognizant of your finances can help prepare for large or unexpected expenses during fall and winter. Whether you need extra money for back to school, are working on eliminating debt, or simply want to build your savings, summer is the optimal time to focus on money.
Why summer is a crucial time to focus on money
Most people think about money at two points in the year: during tax season and the holidays. During the time between those points, we hope for the best. To avoid the stress of unseen expenses and all that inflation does to our pockets, summer is the optimal time to re-focus on your finances. Implement these five money strategies to improve your finances.
1. Perform a financial self-audit
Sitting down and auditing your finances may sound overwhelming and daunting. Scrolling through a 100+ line spreadsheet or sifting through bank statements with highlighters is the last thing on anyone’s summer activity list especially when you could spend your day sunbathing.
As the saying goes, don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today! Set aside an hour to look over your accounts. Make auditing your finances a part of your self-care routine by sipping your favorite summer drink poolside or by reviewing in a shady spot at the park. Wherever you decide to complete your self-audit, here are the essential steps to take to gain control of your finances.
Review your budget: Are you honoring yourself by following your budget? Does your budget need to be adjusted to accommodate an increase or decrease in income? Make sure your lifestyle choices are in line with your budget.
Cancel old subscriptions: Unused subscriptions slowly chip away at your balance. Instead of throwing away money on memberships to gyms and fitness studios you never go to, cancel it! Reallocate those subscription fees to savings or funds that will benefit from the extra dollars going to work.
Review your savings: Borrowing a few dollars from your savings account is common during the summer. There’s no shame in borrowing from your savings. It is important to plan how you will replenish your savings later in the year.
Analyze your spending: Every now and then, it’s important to ask yourself if you’re spending money on something that brings value to your life. Buying a new bikini or a few mojitos are non-negotiables. We must ensure that those few mojitos don’t turn into ten by the end of the week. QTNA: Will the way you’re spending now set you up for financial success?
2. Plan for summer and travel expenses
Summer is a time for spontaneity and travel. Whether you’re taking more trips to the beach or local water parks, planning out your expenses for summer is important. Additional summer expenses can include more air conditioning , more groceries, and increased gas expenses for road trips. Allowing yourself at least four weeks in advance to plan and budget can make a difference.
3. Take advantage of the end-of-the-season sales
At the end of summer, you notice most retailers ushering in merchandise for the next season. It is a perfect time to take advantage of these discount prices. According to The Balance Money, the demand for winter items is low in the summer. So winter items like coasts, snow blowers, etc, are on sale. Although it may seem counterintuitive, summer is the best time to get a good deal on winter essentials.
4. Increase your financial literacy
Do you have a summer reading list? Add some finance books that are easy to read and can help you learn about financial success. For the BAUCE babe looking to increase her money potential, we recommend the following:
Decluttering is one of those activities that can help you save and make money. Opportunities arise when you go through items piling up in your closet or storage unit. You discover things you might have been planning to buy. You also find items that are in good condition and can be sold. Before summer ends, take time to assess those stored away items and create an online post to sell.
Things to remember
Summer enjoyment doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Don’t overlook free events in your town or city. Many places offer free live music and summer fairs. Many churches and community non-profits host events and block parties with little to no entrance fees. Setting yourself up for a better future requires sacrificing today’s enjoyment for tomorrow’s comfort.