Everybody loves summer, right? School’s out. Students are graduating. Friends are getting married. And everybody’s thinking vacay! Trouble is, the costs for all that fun can add up and sink your savings goals in the process. The good news is that with a little planning, you and your family can enjoy all that summer has to offer, without busting your budget.
Consider these summer spending tips:
1. Visit During the Off-Season
If you couldn’t swing Thanksgiving in Arizona or Christmas in the tropics, summer’s your time to visit. Destinations like these, that draw big crowds in winter, tend to slow down in the hotter summer months. If you can take the heat, you can snag some great deals during the off-season.
2. Try Camping
If you stock up on all of the newest gear, even camping can be expensive, but many outdoor retailers rent all the basic equipment you’ll need for a campground getaway. Some even offer free workshops to show you the ropes of pitching a tent and using a cook stove. Take up fishing and save even more on meals while you enjoy the great outdoors.
3. Skip the Cash Gifts
While it’s true that cash is a one-size-fits-all gift for new grads, it’s not very personal. And if you’ve got lots of students to remember, you could easily zero-out your checking account. Instead, consider giving each of the students in your life a book that’s been influential in your life. One that teaches the basics of budgeting, saving and investing would be a great way to get the new grad off on the right foot financially.
4. Make it a Potluck
Backyard barbeques are a summer staple, but when you’re footing the bill for everybody’s burgers, sides, drinks and desserts, the tab can run a little high. Next time you play host, ask each of your guests to bring something. Most people love to pitch in on a party, and even non-cooks can help by bringing things like soft drinks, ice, and disposable dinnerware.
5. Give a Family Heirloom
If you’ll be attending the wedding of a family member, think about putting together a cookbook of family recipes. Or perhaps it’s time to pass on a family heirloom, such as a piece of jewelry.
6. Be First on the Registry
If you’re not related to the happy couple, their online registry will let you know what gifts they’d really like to receive. But don’t wait until the last minute to shop. The day before the wedding, the only “unclaimed” items on a registry are likely to be super-expensive items that only the rich uncle can afford.
7. Calculate Your Vacation Affordability
Now that you’ve got some great ideas and are ready to make your vacation a reality, make sure your wallet can handle the trip before you hit the road. Our financial education partners at Banzai have created a free-to-use vacation affordability calculator that allows you to enter your estimated costs for accommodations, travel expenses, transportation, and activities. Then, put in how much you’ve already saved for your vacation, any additional monthly savings amounts, and how long you have until your adventure begins. Banzai will then let you know if you’re ready to hit “book”, if you need to adjust your budget, or wait a little longer to get financially prepared.
Vacation Affordability Calculator
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The article, Summer Spending Tips, originally appeared on BALANCE.