Summer... It is the most anticipated time of the year. It’s a time for parties, a time for reflection and a time to catch up on old and new experiences. If you’re looking to have a little fun this summer but your wallet isn’t there to back you up, we are here with some tips on summer fun for even the tightest budgets.
Plan and Pursue.
Budgeting is not typically the way someone wants to kick off the summer. It’s the time to let loose and enjoy all the good things in life. Budgeting is far from one of those good things. However painful it may be, budgeting now will make for a better summer later.
Budgeting is better than stressing whether you can pay your rent or your way back home after a vacation. It may not be fun, but this essential task will give you a better idea of what you’ll need to accomplish your summer bucket list. If you are looking to take off one weekend to go snorkeling with your friends, cut back on the fast food, pack some coolers and split an Airbnb.
Making smarter choices leading up to summer will open the door to more experiences. You may not be able to take a month-long trip to Europe or shop through Time’s Square, but with a little budgeting, your summer can be the best one yet.
Dreams are made of...
It is easy to dream it, but it isn’t always easy to achieve it. After the plan and budget is set, it is time to execute the mission. It’s your mission. It’s your dream. Dreams are made from what’s in your heart and what’s in your mind. Are you craving something new, or are you eager to explore the world?
Your dreams can vary from big too small. Some are developed over time while others are dreamed in just a speckle of time. Some dreams are pursued for years. You may be saving every dime, or you might just be afraid to take that first step out of your comfort zone. Dreams are made from joy, made from curiosity and some are even made from fear.
Some dreams are compiled into a bucket list while others are carried by our side. Dreams can vary just as people do. Among all life’s worries, there are our dreams to hold onto. Dreams never seem as easy to accomplish when there is a budget holding you back.
Start small. If your dream is to fall in love, take this summer as an opportunity to put yourself out there. Go to popular local spots or take a day trip to a new town. Don’t be afraid to speak up and talk to new people. You never know where a conversation can take you.
Following your dream while on a budget is done through planning. Set aside a little money each week (or each month) to do something new. Do something out of your comfort zone. Go snorkeling. Hike a new terrain or go sky diving just because.
If your dream consists of a family vacation, put money aside all year. One less dinner out a week will accumulate vacation funds quicker than you think. You may not budget enough money for a vacation across the country, but you may able to do several weekend trips or one week-long cruise.
It is important to pursue your dreams- whatever that looks like to you. Budgeting may limit how high-class a trip may be, but it won’t ruin a dreamer. Priorities- check your priorities. Outside the necessities, what are you spending money on? Is it getting you closer to your dream?
Let’s be practical. You can’t just work, eat, sleep and repeat. Well, you can, but that is not truly living. You need to have a life outside of it all. Going out with friends and family is one of the best things about life. Time is not guaranteed, so why wait to do something fun with the people you love? The key tip to budgeting is not overdoing it. Anything and everything are fine in moderation, right?
TIP 1: Monthly Budgeting
Whether you love it or hate it, monthly budgeting is important. Budget down to zero. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should have zero dollars in your bank account. It just means every bit of money should be accounted for. Boil it down to extra spending money, savings and a padding budget for emergencies.
TIP 2: Accountability Partner
Whether it is your spouse, your roommate, your best friend or your parents, it is important to have an accountability partner(s) while budgeting. This is an effective way to stay on track.
TIP 3: MONTH to MONTH
Remember, every month is going to be different. If there is a holiday in the month, the money spent for that should be factored in. There are birthdays some months and repairs the next. It is important to be prepared for the good, the bad and the ugly.
TIP 4: Priorities First
First things first, everyone should be fed, rent needs to be paid and the essentials should be accounted for. Budgets get tight. It is ok to go into your savings when you need to but refrain until it is necessary. For the months with more leeway, set aside a little extra towards that summer vacation you are planning for.
TIP 5: Cut, Trim and Repeat
Don’t go into debt planning for a vacation that is way out of what you have budgeted for. If you do, make sure you have a plan as to how to get the budget back on track. Don’t be afraid to cut, trim and repeat.
TIP 6: On the Dot
Whether it is when to buy groceries or when to buy the kids new clothes, stick with the schedule you have set. A little leeway is ok, but don’t make it a habit. It is easier to fall into bad habits than you may realize.
TIP 7: BUFFER
You always, ALWAYS need a buffer. You never know when a medical expense or a new bill is going to come out of the wood works. Even when you don’t need it, a monthly buffer will accumulate over time, so if the needed funds are for your vacation, you’ll have it.
TIP 8: Avoid Interest
Credit cards can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It is so easy to fall under their trap. Just because you don’t see their immediate impact doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It is there and with a punch. Interest is no friend of yours. It tacks on. Pay the minimum amount here. Pay the full amount plus some there.
TIP 9: Cash over Credit
Who carries cash anymore? More people than not rely strictly on their debit or credit card for the day-to-day. It is more convenient. However, carrying cash is a great way to help stay on a budget. Once the cash is done, so is the spending.
TIP 10: Online Tools
This is the 21st century. You don’t have to write out a new budgeting worksheet. The online budgeting tool known as EveryDollar is a helpful resource. It allows you to plan and track a budget from your smartphone. Plus, you and your spouse can sync budgets. This keeps communication open, and everyone stays accountable.
Destination FUN this Summer
There are so many fun things to this summer, even when on a budget. Most of these activities can be done on the day-to-day. Let’s face it. Vacations are never long enough. Sometimes we need an hour to do a mindless act. Sometimes all we need is a good talk and something good to eat.
Bake this summer. Bake cookies for ice cream sandwiches. This is a great activity to do with the kids. You are teaching them about life and making memories in the process. If you are still single and mingling, make baking cookies for ice cream sandwiches a date night. It's a fun and playful date. Frankly, this can be enjoyed by every and any person. Who doesn’t love warm cookies with ice cream? Splurge for some toppings and go wild!
Another fun summer activity is berry picking. There are so many places you can go to pick berries this summer with your kids, your special someone or even when flying solo. It’s delicious. It’s cheap. It’s all the summer rage.
Paint nights are a year-round good time. You don’t have to be artistic, by any means, in order to have fun. Surround yourself with good company, and the fun is guaranteed. Melted crayon art is a great summer activity for the kids. It gets everyone involved, and they’ll get something cool out of it. All you need is a blank canvas, a pack of crayons (or several depending on the quantity of participants), hot glue and a blow dryer. It is an easy activity that any kid can do but with parental supervision, of course. Incorporate some paint and some *adult beverages* for a date night or a girl’s night at home. It’s paired perfectly with a cheesy rom com and pizza.
This is messy but a crowd pleaser, nonetheless. S H A V I N G cream Twister- Yes, shaving cream Twister may be just the game you’ll be looking for this summer. Summer is the time for sun and more free time than one may anticipate for. That means staying in the house gets old... FAST. Shaving cream Twister is done best outside. Trying to clean up the aftermath in your house is something best left imagined. The sun isn’t always a friend of shaving cream, so be prepared for it to melt. All you need is the game Twister and all the shaving cream you can carry, plus some. Keep an eye out for rowdy little ones. Playing in shaving cream is fun but falling on your bottom isn’t.
For the younger kiddos, the game of Twister might lose their interest. However, rolling around on the ground in shaving cream won’t. May we recommend sprinklers for after the game is finished? It will help clean off some of the residue before coming back indoors. Plus, they’ll cool off and wear themselves out! It’s a win-win.
There is NO age limit. Any and all these activities can be enjoyed at any age. A little mixed drink here and campfire there, date night is covered this summer.
Classic Summer Pastimes
The good ole’ fashion summer fun consists of getting wet to cool off. Who says you are ever too old to have a water balloon fight? There are plenty of fun games that incorporate water balloons. One of which is water balloon baseball! It’s a game anyone can get behind.
Make it a team effort. While you are washing the car or relaxing at the pool, take turns filling up balloons. Spray each other with hoses, set up a slip and slide and mark the bases. If you don’t have a whole team on hand. A foam baseball bat and water balloons will be enough to keep the kids entertained.
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If you are budgeting this summer, don’t limit yourself to branching out and trying new things. Don’t be opposed to avoiding the more minimalistic activities and embrace all that a little time and creativity can offer. Here’s to more memories, more time spent with loved ones, crossing off items on your bucket list and embracing nostalgic pastimes. Summer fun on a budget doesn’t have to be any less life changing.