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Get Your Summer Budget in Order!

May 11, 2012 · 12 comments

in Personal Finance

The following is a guest post from Jenna at Adaptu.com:

Money looks a little different in the summer.  Between day camps and extra trips to the ice cream truck, your budget is probably going to vary a little from the September-May routine.  Taking time to create a budget specifically designed for summer can save you big once the final school bell rings.

Step 1: What’s going to stay the same?

Make creating a budget easier by first determining which of your monthly expenses will not be affected by summer vacation.  For example, your mortgage payment won’t go down just because your kids are at camp.

Step 2: Determine the budget busters

Between prime vacation season and special outings to the water park, it’s no surprise that many families see their entertainment spending increase significantly in the summertime.  Get a good calendar thrown together before you start allocating money to your entertainment budget.

Hint: While the amusement park is always fun, it’s also expensive.  Summer is filled with low-cost or free activities.  Picnics, free days at the zoo or museum, theater in the park—start your event calendar by looking at what will cost you nothing.  (From Kris:  my expenses go way up in the summer for the very reasons mentioned above.  Buying annual passes to places you may go to frequently can say you a lot of money.  For example, if I buy an annual pass at the zoo, it covers admission all year along with free parking.)

Another area where you should prepare your budget?  Transportation. Especially gas. Chances are you’ll be shuttling kids to and from camps, the beach and friends’ houses a lot more than you were in the spring.  Combine all that time in the car with rising gas prices, and you’re budget is bound to feel a little squeezed if you don’t plan ahead.

Hint: Carpool.

Step 3: Seek summer savings

Not everything costs you more between June and August.  If you pay for your child to eat lunch at school every day, you’re most likely paying a premium.  Making that same PB&J at home will save you a pretty penny.  And, if your kids go to sleep away camp — your grocery bill is sure to shrink (even more if you have teenagers).

Hint: On top of automatic summer savings, take advantage of farmers markets where you can get fresh food often times at a fraction of grocery stores.

Remember, while your cable bill may be constant, not all utilities are created equal.  If you don’t consider AC a necessity, be comfortable cutting back on your utility budget.

Hint: There are lots of ways to cut back on cooling costs. Apply coating to your windows to keep heat out, close blinds when you’re not at home, and use fans before turning on the AC.

Step 4: Set your budget and breathe easy

As the warm weather starts coming in, take some time to update your budget accordingly.  Utilize online tools like Adaptu to keep your budget updated automatically.  Make sure you check in to see how you’re doing, but don’t forget that it’s summer — take time to relax and have fun.

Hint: Once you have mapped out your budget for the summer, make sure you will have a positive cash flow.  That is, make sure you are making more money than you are spending.  Once you know you’re saving enough money, go enjoy summer!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance@MoneyLife&More May 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I don’t anticipate much changing for us this summer, but we also don’t have kids. Gas bill might go up a little if we end up going on motorcycle trips and we might plan a weekend away but other than that it should stay pretty ordinary around my house this summer. Trips to the beach are free for me 🙂

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Kris May 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I am so envious that you live near a beach, and that it is free!

Have a great summer!

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Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager May 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm
Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter May 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Since we are on a slight spending freeze while we build up cash reserves while we are having a new home built, we are definitely cutting back this summer. We’ve already cancelled two trips and are only going on two much cheaper ones that we already had tickets for. Our day-to-day fun will most likely be driving by our new lot and making sure they build our house correctly, lol.

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Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager May 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Since your building your dream home, here’s a great summer link for you: Save on Summer Cooling Costs: https://www.adaptu.com/articles/DOC-1456/save-on-summer-cooling-costs

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The Biz of Life May 14, 2012 at 8:13 am

I do budgeting the opposite way. I first take out the money we want to save and put that into the appropriate investment vehicle, then I don’t spend a tremendous amount of time worrying about the way the rest of the money is spend as long as I don’t go over that amount.

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Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager May 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Sounds like the envelope system, we have a whole discussion on that happening on Adaptu. Check it out here: https://www.adaptu.com/message/1834#1834

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First Gen American May 16, 2012 at 8:33 am

I definitely want to make my summer bucket list. Without planning it out, the time flies away and opportunities are missed.

I want to do some amusement parks and I’ve been really wanting to stay overnight in one of the nearby cities like Boston or NY so that it’s not such a long day in the car and super exhausting.

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Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager May 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm

@First Gen American – I love Boston! Let me know if you need any tips on what to do and were to eat. We’ve also got some ideas for Cheap Family Vacations over at Adaptu, check them out here: https://www.adaptu.com/articles/DOC-1421/cheap-family-vacations

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Ameriloan October 10, 2012 at 6:38 am

Not only summer budget needs special planning. It is good if you know how to manage and plan your expenses every month actually. It is not that easy when you do your first plannings but then, when it becomes a habit, you will see how much you can actually save or simply put aside for some things you want to buy. Summer is also important because of vacation time

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CashLoansOnlineFast November 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Summer rest and vacation are always the first priority for me. Still all the year round I create my monthly budget in the same way, first defining savings, then obligatory expenses and the rest is distributed to whatever I wish. The good point is that I manage to save money, the thing I want to improve is to increase savings, but sometimes it’s such a temptation to spend extra amount on something pleasant instead of putting it aside in addition to the means planned.

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