By: Darrell Castle
Summer is typically a time for relaxation, when things slow down just a bit, and we take a little more time to enjoy ourselves. It’s not unusual to kick back more, break away from schedules and habits and engage in activities that stretch your wallet.
Unfortunately, this free-season also leads to poor financial judgements and can lead to overspending on unnecessary costs. These actions lead to more money troubles, and broken budgets that can cause undue stress at a time when we are supposed to be ‘stress-free’.
Do you have trouble sticking to a summer budget?
Whether you’re recovering from a bankruptcy or avoiding debt at all costs, staying within your budget during the summer months can be tricky.
(Want to know what life looks like after a bankruptcy? Click here to download my FREE report, Life After Bankruptcy)
However, with a little guidance and good choices, you can enjoy an affordable and fun season. Here are seven summer savings tips for the summer months from our Memphis attorneys.
1. Go on a Staycation
Grab a quilt, pack a picnic and take the whole family down to the Mississippi Riverbank. You can even splurge on a nice dinner date or some summer blockbusters since you’re saving on travel and lodging expenses by staying at home this summer. There are free festivals throughout the summer and paying attention to event calendars will keep you in the know and entertained.
2. Entertain your kids for free
You don’t have to send the kids off to an expensive summer camp to keep them occupied. Take them to the local library to check out books and videos, and take note of free admission days at the museums in Memphis. Other activities include checking out parks that aren’t in your immediate area, or visiting new museums throughout town.
3. Cancel cable
During the summer, there’s plenty to do outdoors, so chances are you might not need that expensive TV subscription. For a few rainy days, there is always Netflix, which offers a free 30-day trial, and after that it’s just $8-12 per month. For local channels or news, you can rely on streaming through social media and company websites to keep you informed.
4. Bargain shop
It’s safe to say that summer savings and a full social calendar don’t usually mix. From fancy weddings to family get-togethers, you might feel the need to invest in some new outfits for the season. Evening attire doesn’t have to break the bank though. Resale stores, thrift shops, and garage sales offer clothes that won’t max your credit cards.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, a little pre-planning can help. Map out your expenses for special occasions, and look for bargains around major summer holidays when retail stores typically host major sales and offer steep discounts.
5. Don’t drive
On sunny summer days, sitting in traffic can be mentally draining. Save on gas by biking or walking your regular route, which also helps you squeeze some exercise into your schedule without spending money on a gym membership.
If you have a long trek to work and can’t walk, make conscious efforts to take shortcuts to save on gas and car upkeep, park between stores and walk between them, or consider carpooling to summer events with family and friends and splitting the costs.
6. Clip coupons
It seems simple, but in the spontaneity of summer, it’s easy to forget to look online for ways to save before you leave the house. Remember to browse Groupon and LivingSocial, which are trusted sources for deep discounts on everything from dining and shopping to education and entertainment. Many stores also offer online coupons that will save you up to 50% off of your purchase. A little extra effort to save money can bring in big rewards in your long term budget.
7. Travel tricks
Packing lunch on road trips means everyone eats what they want when they want, with less frequent stops and fewer food purchases. If you’re flying, remember many airlines charge for checking luggage, so try to limit packing to a carry-on bag. Rates for plane tickets, car rentals, and hotel stays are often cheaper during the week, so avoid weekends and summer holidays when planning getaways. Pre-paying for a rental cars might also save you some cash.
To maximize your savings, avoid going on high-traffic holidays or during peak seasons. Booking in non-peak times can save on average 30 percent on your entire trip, according to Yahoo Travel.
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Darrell Castle & Associates wants to help people in Memphis get out of debt and stay out of debt. We hope these ideas help keep you in the black this summer, but sometimes what we owe can greatly outweigh what we can pay.