Take Time Off This Summer, But Not From Your Finances
Summer is here, bringing all the fun that comes with months of warm weather and hours of daylight. As you plan your summer season itinerary, however, you might discover you’re juggling more expenses than just a trip to the beach.
For parents, there’s the cost of day camp or other child care. At home, you might be cranking up the air conditioner more often. Even that short beach trip can be costly after paying for gas, food and maybe a souvenir.
Unexpected summer expenses can impact your budget if you’re not careful. Common summer-specific costs to be aware of as you make your budget include:
- Child care and summer activities: Many parents have to make plans for their younger children when they’re out of school. Summer day camps are a great option, but they can be costly. If you prefer to hire a summer babysitter or nanny to care for your children in your home, the costs can be similar depending on how many hours the caregiver works and their hourly rates.
- Home maintenance: More time at home means more air conditioner use, which can drive up your utility bills. Your water bill might increase in order to care for your lawn and garden, which will need to be maintained more frequently. You may find more time in the summer for those home beautification projects on your list, but they come with a price.
- Travel: Most people will save in advance of a big trip, but it’s easy to get caught off guard by how much money you can spend at less costly local attractions as well. If you go to your county fair, prepare to shell out more than you might expect for a few rides and games. If you’re taking longer trips, the cost of transportation, lodging and multiple meals only add to your expenses. Even with the best advance planning, many people find they spend much more than they envisioned just doing things they enjoy.
Saving for summer
Knowing your savings timeline is key. Think about when you’ll need to start saving for summer costs and put aside extra money as early as possible, if you have that option. Also consider making a special budget for summer that includes some of the expenses listed above that apply to your lifestyle. Some budget suggestions include:
- Figure out the largest costs of your summer trip first and decide your bucket list “must-haves.” What experiences are most important when you’re making your itinerary? Budget for airfare, hotel, food and your dream excursions, and cut back on anything else that’s outside your budget.
- Check out freebies: Museums are often free on certain days in the summer. Plan a short day trip around those dates.
- Look for lower-priced or no-cost children’s daytime programs offered through local recreation centers, park districts, libraries and school districts.
- Input summer-specific expenses in an online budget calculator. If you’re doing an annual budget already, make sure to add these additional, summer-specific expenses so you know what to expect when it’s time to pay.
Doing the planning ahead of time and knowing what costs you’ll face to adjust your budget accordingly can help you enjoy your summer plans without worrying about how you’ll afford them.
For more saving tips, visit chase.com/personal/financial-goals/budget