It’s common knowledge that Christmas is a dangerous time for budgets— but a lot of folks forget that summer is a season for overspending too. So how can you “summer proof” your spending and still enjoy the nice weather? It’s all about keeping the proper mindset— having some fun but remembering that budgets don’t take vacations.
In the warmer months, we want to get out more and that increases the danger of overspending but if you fail to plan, you can plan to fail. Budgets don’t take vacations— so here are some things you can do to keep your spending plan safe and still enjoy the season.
- Summer’s a great time for taking pictures so take a snapshot of your finances. Maybe several snapshots.
- Check your credit score. Is it where you want it? Get a free credit report from https://annualcreditreport.com. Make sure it’s accurate and there are no anomalies and if there are, get busy on correcting them.
- Update your budget. Do you have any new income or expenses since the last time you did a spending plan? Make sure your budget is realistic. You can’t spend money you don’t have— especially on fun stuff.
- Take a snapshot of your net worth. Is it heading in the right direction? If not, you need to think about reducing your debt before you add to it with summer spending. Maybe take care of some small debts to boost your net worth and your morale. Getting out of debt may not be a day at the beach but it does give you a warm feeling.
- Get out and enjoy the summer, just plan for it. Plan out and budget for everything you want to do. Beware of impulse spending.
- Write out a wish list of everything you’d like to do while the weather allows. Put a realistic dollar amount on each activity. Cross out the budget busters, keep the ones you can do without adding to your debt or interfering with paying your bills on time.
You can still be spontaneous about picking one from what’s left.
- Keep in mind that summer comes with some expenses that are not so fun. If you’re not on budget billing, odds are you’ll have significantly higher electric bills from running the air conditioning.
- Summer also brings obligations you don’t have at other times of the year like work-related parties, weddings, or maybe a church mission trip. You’ve got to make room for them in the budget.
If you do all these things— you can still enjoy the summer and not have to worry about what you spent the rest of the year.
Next, Rob and Steve tackle listener questions at 800-525-7000 and via email to Questions@MoneyWiseLive.org on a variety of topics:
- At age 90, living on Social Security and after giving to the church and giving to your children the maximum tax-free donation you can make per year, what should you do with about $200,000 to maximize the value of it?
- If you've just recently discovered you have a pension plan from 20 years ago, what is the wisest thing to do with it?
- If you're thinking of buying a house but have about $12,000 of credit card debt, is it wise to take out a loan to consolidate the debt?
- if you're 72 years old, in good financial shape and have a house that's too large, know of a house that's just right but needs improvement, what are the best options for funding the improvements?
- Is it OK to pay off your home from an inheritance even if it means you won't have much retirement?
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