Longer days and warmer weather mean summer is just around the corner.

Whether it’s because the kids are home from school or because you have summer vacations planned, changes in your spending habits are inevitable – but that doesn’t have to leave you stressed out (or with an empty bank account).

Here are 5 money tips to help you enjoy a sunny and stress-free summer.

1. Budget for summer fun ahead of time

Summer is fleeting, which is why it’s important to make the most of it! And you can be better equipped to do that if you have a bit of a budget set aside.

The best plan to create a budget for summer fun is (wait for it) – the rest of the year. If you can, put a little aside each month into a dedicated savings account specifically for summer vacation or ‘summer spending’.

If that hasn’t happened and suddenly you’re realizing summer is here but the budget isn’t, take a look at your current spending habits – can you cut back in some areas and funnel specific money towards summer spending? When you have a specific budget in mind, you’re less likely to overspend than simply putting everything on a credit card (which is never recommended).

Which leads us to our next point…

2. Save where you can

In order to make room in your budget for summer expenses, consider other places in your budget where you can reduce spending.

Here are some ideas to help with saving in the summer:

  • Reduce heating / cooling costs Open windows instead of running the air conditioner (and in the winter, weather-proof your home to reduce drafts and heating costs.)
  • Move budgets around – Shift your normal entertainment budget to your summer vacation fund. Going to the movies less often? Swapping restaurants for a backyard BBQ? Track those savings and move the money into a summer or vacation fund.
  • Save on food –  Enjoy foods that are in season or by visiting local farmer’s markets for the best prices – not to mention the freshest foods! Summer is also a good time to cut back on expensive meats and enjoy light salads and corn on the cob.
  • Cut back on gas – With the nicer weather, try to park your car and walk or cycle whenever possible. Especially with the crazy high gas prices right now, this small move can make a BIG difference to your bottom line.

3. Take advantage of free (or low-cost) summer activities

The best thing about summer is that there are loads of fun activities that you can do for little to no cost. Regardless of your savings, you can still enjoy the warm sunny weather!

 Some low-cost summer activities include:

  • Day trip to a local provincial or national park
  • Experiencing street fairs and markets
  • Exploring local parks or beaches for a family picnic
  • Backyard BBQs and potlucks
  • Rent paddle boards or kayaks
  • Borrow camping equipment and head out for a weekend adventure!
  • Hang up a bed sheet and experience movie night in the backyard

4. Consider a hobby that can help bring in extra income

As the days get longer, take advantage of the extra hours and maybe earn a bit of extra cash while you’re at it. Whether it’s something as simple as helping your neighbours with their yard work, having a garage sale, or even taking on a part-time job, a side-hustle can help alleviate the pressure from summer spending.

Not only that, but if you decide to stick with it, you could quickly have a solid summer fund set up for next year!

5. Important: Don’t forget your financial goals

It can be tempting, but Summer isn’t the time to throw all your financial goals out of the window. Whether you’ve been working on building an emergency fund or paying off debt, make sure to continue to prioritize these goals throughout the summer.

Even if summer spending means savings a little less than you would throughout the rest of the year, you should still be working towards any financial goals that you have. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself significantly off track once fall rolls around again.

Need some extra summer spending support – or help putting together a smart financial plan in general? Book a free consultation with Steven for summer budgeting and financial advice personalized just for you.