Summer is officially here, and with the sunshine and warmer weather people are more apt to plan activities, host parties, and get their kids involved in camps. And that means spending can get out of control fast.
Here are a few popular reasons why your spending habits tend to skyrocket during the summer months, along with a few tips on how to keep them under control.
Travel. Generally speaking, families tend to travel more in the summertime. Whether you are traveling within Michigan or outside of the state, and regardless of whether it’s a weekend trip or longer, spending can get out of hand fast. Some popular destinations, such as Mackinac Island, only operate during the summer months which means they can be a bit pricier than other vacation spots – but given that they are only open during the summer months, families typically want to make sure to pay them a visit during that time.
Curb Your Spending Tip: Check online for discounts and deals on popular activities throughout our great state. Blue Cross/Blue Shield and AAA both offer discounted tickets to places like Michigan’s Adventure and the Detroit Zoo. Be sure to check out the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website (www.visitdetroit.com) and sign up for their 2019 “D Discount Pass.” It’s free, and gives you a 20% discount on admission to many metro-Detroit destinations, including the Henry Ford Museum, tours of Little Caesars Arena, the Detroit Institute of the Arts and Legoland Discovery Center. Groupon is another popular app that often offers discounts on activities – even for places right here in Livingston County. Stopping at a state Welcome Center is also a great place to pick up coupons for activities. If you’re heading north in Michigan this summer, there’s a great welcome center just north of Clare.
Kids. With the kids home from school, it’s no surprise that your grocery bill goes up. Summer is also a popular time to sign them up for sports camps, art camps and driver’s education – to name a few. Historically, summer is also a popular time for movie makers to release “summer blockbuster” movies and for popular bands and musicians to go on summer tours, which also can add to your spending.
Curb Your Spending Tip: Let your kids choose one treat or snack from the grocery store each time you go – but no more than one (and stick to it). Keeping a blank sheet of paper on the fridge with the grocery store date on it might help – they can add their items to the list which may help keep their requests to a minimum. Consider setting a small amount of money aside earlier in the year – perhaps around tax time – for any summer camps you anticipate your child will do in the coming summer.
Weekends. Summer weekends are for parties, cookouts and late nights sitting outside by firepits. Summer is often a great time to gather with friends you may not have a chance to see during the school year. But all that party planning can be another contributor to an increase in your spending.
Curb Your Spending Tip: The next time you host a cookout on the weekend, consider asking your friends to bring a dish to pass. If you have frequent cookouts in your neighborhood, consider rotating the meal planning entirely. You can always offer to be the host house but let someone else provide the meal.
When it comes to planning ahead, summer is no exception. Planning for the future isn’t just limited to retirement and tax time – it can be applied to summer habits as well. As with anything, it’s always good to set a budget, watch what you spend and always set a little aside for savings if you can.