With spring in full swing and summer on the horizon, many of us will fill our social calendars with activities. We might have a holiday already booked, weddings that we’ve RSVP’d to, and day trips that we can’t wait for. There may be some season-appropriate purchases we’ve got our eyes on too - garden furniture, outdoor plants, or a few pieces to add to our summer wardrobes. With so much to look forward to, how do you do it without hindering your finances? Continue reading for my top tips in this season of increased spending.
Save now, spend later
There’s no better time than now to start saving for all those plans. This can feel particularly daunting if your budget seems quite tight already, but even seemingly small amounts will surprisingly add up quickly. You might decide to put aside any money you’ve made from selling your unwanted items or choose to cut back on some routine spending habits for now, so you can use this money for your summer spending instead. Whatever you decide, make sure to keep it separate from your main spending account so you’re not tempted to use it before your plans begin.
Make your calendar your best friend
Add all your events and activities to your calendar so you can get a visual view of when you’re going to be busy or quiet, and when there may be an intense period of spending. It makes it easier to plan savings accordingly. Also include the last day for any free cancellations on things such as accommodation bookings so you’re not caught out if plans change. Not only will this help you to budget better, but it can also help you to spread out social activities and therefore, spread the cost of your spending too.
Customise your budget month by month
Rather than setting the same budget for every month, set a budget based on what you’ve got coming up in the month ahead. To do this, you might find it useful to set a rough budget for each significant event coming up. Look at fixed costs - such as accommodation - as well as any variable expenses that you need to factor in too - this will include things like eating out, petrol, what you’re going to wear, where the cost hasn’t been determined yet. This will help you to create a realistic budget based on your plans, and you can see where you might need to pull things back a bit too.
Add in a buffer
Realistically, there’s only so much forward-planning we can do. Costs increase or decrease, and we can’t foresee every expense. Plus, summer is usually about going with the flow – this is especially true in the UK when sunny days can be few and far between due to unpredictable weather. Having a buffer in your budget can take some of the pressure off when your friends suggest a last-minute trip to the pub garden on a sunny day, or when things end up being a little more expensive than you had initially planned.
See where you can save money
Yes, we might feel the hit on our bank balances during the summer but it doesn’t mean you can’t be savvy with your money. Cashback is an excellent way to get back some of the money you’re spending, and deals can help make days out more budget friendly. Mix it up with some more affordable activities too. I love having friends over for dinner in the garden when the weather allows, or heading to a local dog-friendly beach with our four-legged friends. Your list might be different to mine but find fun, affordable ways to see friends and family without breaking the bank.
Accept that you (probably) can’t do everything
It can be tempting to say “yes” to every invite that comes your way but before you commit, ask yourself: “is it something I can afford to do?” No occasion or event is worth the added debt or anxious feelings about money. But not everything is about cost so consider what you’re getting from it too. Declining the events you feel indifferent about, and choosing only the ones that make you feel genuinely excited will give you more room in your budget.
Don’t feel guilty about spending money
The end goal should never be trying to spend the least amount possible in life or feeling guilty about spending money on yourself. It’s easier said than done, but try to let go of any guilt and instead focus on spending your time and money on the experiences and people that matter most to you. If you’re spending in line with your values then it isn’t a waste of money.
No matter what you’ve got planned this summer, taking the time to organise your finances and to set up a suitable budget. This will help prevent any headaches or money-related stresses down the line. Then all that’s left to do is to enjoy every moment without worrying about how you’ll afford it.