Living on a budget: Summer fun edition

Don’t let your vacation dreams turn into an excuse to quit living on a budget or start racking up credit charges that you’ll spend months paying off. With a little smart planning now, you can enjoy a great summer without worrying about financial repercussions.

Plan within your means

If a week at an all-inclusive resort isn’t realistic, set your sights elsewhere. Don’t fall into the trap of considering your real-world options disappointing. Pitch your trip to your family as a great one from the start and remember that time spent with your favorite people counts for far more than vacation bragging rights.

Start saving

A good approach to saving for vacation is automatically putting money from each paycheck aside into a savings account. It’s a lot easier to save funds in an account earmarked for vacation when the money is automatically transferred for you.

Anticipate special events

May and June always bring graduations and weddings—and all the attending expenses for gifts, clothing, and travel. But most of us still seem surprised by the annual costs. Scan your calendar ahead of time and plan for the expenses you’ll incur for these events.

Look ahead to seasonal costs

As warm weather arrives, the lawnmower probably needs a tune-up. You’ll probably freshen up the landscaping and garden. The kids will want a pool pass. All these costs chip away at your carefully planned household budget. Plan ahead so that you don’t come up short over the summer.

Watch the sneaky expenses

Resorts, waterparks, and other destinations are clever about helping guests spend just a little more each day. It’s all too easy to add a few snacks, drinks, tours, and other amenities during your trip only to be shocked by how much you’ve spent when it’s done. Set a spending limit in advance and don’t get caught up in the excitement when you’re on the road.

Living on a budget and building savings helps you deal with fluctuating expenses, especially during the summer months when you want to get out and explore. Even if your vacation is right around the corner, it’s not too late to set money aside to pay for all the fun.

3 smart ways to trim travel costs

Use these strategies to keep your trip plans affordable:

  • Be flexible on dates. Prices on flights and hotel rooms can vary dramatically by day of the week and based on events happening nearby.
  • Don’t be shy about seeking discounts. Sometimes all it takes is asking for a discount.
  • Try rental properties instead of hotel rooms. Look online for vacation rentals and potentially save big over staying at a hotel.

Ready to start budgeting? Download Cobalt CU’s free monthly budget worksheet.