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Now that the holidays are over, there is yet another season that you need to save money for - summer. You may find this confusing - especially if you are single or childless. But if you have kids, you know how much of a big deal this really is. This is the time when the school season is out and you have a bunch of kids feeling bored at home. You can expect that they will be sleeping late for a week or two but that will not last for long. Soon, you will find them restless and begging you for money so they can do something that will keep boredom away. According to an article published on 360FinancialLiteracy.org, 6 out of 10 Americans admitted that summer equal or even exceed the financial tension that they feel during the holidays. This data is according to the survey done by AICPA through Harris Poll. This means the expenses incurred during this season is high enough to cause them stress. It seems like having the kids at home instead of in school is more financially draining. The key to avoid a stressful summer for the whole family is to simply save money for it ahead of time. The thought of a summer vacation away from home is a great way to encourage the whole family to save. This is a great financial lesson for your kids too. Although the pressure is mostly on the parents, even childless adults should start to save money for this season as well. The hot summer months are perfect for traveling with your significant other, family or friends. It is the perfect time of the year to break away from your work-home grind and relax. Of course, if you will travel to relax, you need to save up some cash to spend during that time. Some of you may feel like relying on your credit cards for that future expense so you can procrastinate - think again. It is smarter for you to save money now so you can pay for your summer expenses in cash. This is especially true if you ended up with some holiday debt. Break the debt cycle by saving for your summer expenses in advance. That way, you can end your summer without worrying about where you will get the money to pay for what you just spent.
How to save up for the summer vacationOf course, making the decision to save money is easier said than done. If you are currently burdened with holiday debt, this can be a feat that is difficult to accomplish. But with determination, you can afford to include your summer savings in your budget at the beginning of this year. But how much should you save up for the summer vacation? That will depend on what you plan to do. So before you can calculate the costs, you need to set a plan first. According to TravelPulse.com, the average American worker allocates 1/3 of their vacation leave for the summer season. The survey featured in the article even revealed that 30% of those employed save more than 50% of their vacation days. If the trend in the past was to go to one long vacation, that is no longer practiced by the majority. 46% of travelers admitted to taking multiple weekend trips during this season - this could indicate that they plan to go to nearby trips - making their expenses more economical than one long trip with an offshore destination. It was not indicated in the survey if the average American planned their summer getaway, it is revealed that 60% of travelers admitted to exceeding their summer budget each year. Obviously, exceeding your budget would mean you have acquired debt during this season. You want to avoid this as much as possible and that means putting a lot of effort to save money so you can spend cash. With all the expenses that you will face this year, how is it possible for you to put away money that will be used a couple of months from now? Here are some tips that can help you out.
- Spring clean your home. Before summer is spring time and that is usually when we go through the whole house to see what needs fixing after the winter season. This is a great time for you to look at your possessions to see which ones can be sold at a yard sale. The proceeds of this can go to your summer fund.
- Save your end-of-the-day change. Every time you get a spare change in your pocket, you should put that in a jar labeled “summer funds.” Even if you are contributing a small amount each day, that does not matter. The important thing is you are saving every day. The change will soon become a significant amount.
- Rethink your Internet/Cable subscription. There are a lot of bundle packages that will help you save money on subscriptions. Instead of paying a lot on two different accounts, why not put them together? Some companies offer bundles to encourage consumers to get more than one product from them.
- Skip the beverage when you eat out. Opt for water instead. That way, you can save on the beverage costs. This can be around $5 off of your tab. If everyone in the family does this, that can give you a bit of savings.
- Cut back on entertainment. Since we are already discussing dining out, let us go on to entertainment costs in general. If you really want to save on household expenses, you need to cut back on eating out and other entertainment expenses. If you used to spend date night in a restaurant, you can just cook at home and have an intimate dinner when the kids are asleep. This should help you save around $50 to $100. Just be creative in your entertainment options. In the end, it is not the money you spend but who you spend it with.
- Get an online job. If cutting back on expenses is not enough to help you save money for the summer, you may want to get a second job. To be specific, an online job should give you the money that you need for your summer plans. It is convenient enough to do as long as you have a stable Internet connection and a laptop or desktop. You can do this in the comforts of your own home.
How to enjoy summer on a budgetDo not think that putting a budget on your summer activities will limit the fun that you and the children will have. That is not true. There are many frugal ways to enjoy your summer vacation. You just have to understand what will make everyone happy and the different options that you have. Here are some ideas that can help you enjoy your summer season without breaking the bank.
- Camp in your backyard. You do not have to go very far. You can even invite friends over and make use of what you have at home.
- Organize a neighborhood summer camp. Get a group of parents together and have them take out all the kids in a fun activity once a week. You can alternate weeks and that should help the kids have fun the whole summer. According to PsychologyToday.com, a summer camp is a great venue for kids to develop a lot of coping strategies. If enrolling in a summer camp is not in your budget, then talk to the other parents in the neighborhood and come up with activities that everyone can enjoy.
- Opt for staycation. Instead of traveling far, you can choose to visit a location that is only two hours (or less) from your home. That way, you do not have to spend a lot on the journey and the board and lodging. Go to the park or the nearest beach.
- Know the local activities. The community usually has a couple of events lined up for the summer season. Most of these are free or will only cost you a small amount. If you opt for these activities, you do not have to save money for this season - at least, you do not have to save a lot.
- Go to the library. This place is where you can rent out books and even movies. You do not have to spend a lot to entertain yourselves as long as there is a library nearby.