Looking for ways to save – or at least avoid overspending – this summer? You’re not alone. Far from it. Recent reports show that:
- 59% of Americans say the economy is impacting their travel plans.
- 82% are watching their expenses more closely ahead of their travel plans.
- 10% had to cancel or postpone a trip due to costs.
HIgher prices may translate to spending a little less here and there, or even rearranging plans to fit spending restrictions. In addition to providing convenient financial services, your local Community Financial Service Center (CFSC) has more than a few ideas for keeping your spending under control while still enjoying everything the summer has to offer.
1 Make a Summer Budget – and Stick to It
Staying on budget can be a challenge with so many temptations – and the weather to actually do all the things that weren’t available in the colder months. That’s why the summer season should also be a season of financial planning to keep you and your family on track. Outline a weekly spending plan for the next three months to keep from going over budget. That will help you factor in low-cost ways to have fun and enjoy socializing and outdoor activities that you love. Having a budget will let you know how much to spend on your next barbecue or whether that road trip should be shortened to accommodate for less cash on hand.
2 Find Small Ways to Cut Down on Everyday Expenses
Chances are there are ways to spend a little less here and there that won’t be painful, and might even be fun. U.S. News & World Report has a lengthy list of their own. Here are six of of their many ideas:
- Cut back on streaming services.
- Take advantage of free outdoor concerts and festivals.
- Enjoy free entertainment and kids classes at your local library.
- Socialize at picnics instead of restaurants.
- Travel by bike when possible.
- Enjoy activities through your local YMCA and other community nonprofits.
3 Take Steps to Spend Less Money While on Vacation
Whether you’re flying overseas or simply driving to the nearest national park, summer vacations don’t have to burn a hole in your wallet. These steps will help curb your out-of-town expenses:
Know your money boundaries.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but people control their spending on vacation by planning ahead and setting limits. This may include setting a spending limit per day or per week, or even per activity.
Travel with friends or family.
It always helps to have others help share your travel budget, provided that they’re responsible with their own money. Perhaps multiple members of your family can set aside a portion of their vacation budget for travel expenses – and then you can plan accordingly as a group. If money is tight, a little extra awareness can even help children gain some important financial education tips while on the road.
Use a Yes! Debit™prepaid debit card instead of a credit card.
Putting your entire vacation on a credit card can be a mistake when you’re trying not to overspend. Using a prepaid debit card like Yes! Debit™ means you’re spending money you already have, avoiding pushing you further into a cycle of debt. These types of debit cards can also help you avoid paying some of the fees that come with other forms of payment.
Travel when and where things are less pricey.
Want to plan a low-cost trip? Head to less crowded destinations at the end of the season when prices will be lower.
Use cash on day trips.
Like a prepaid debit card, using cash helps some people keep track of how much money is left so they don’t go overboard on unnecessary items.
4 Be Sure Your Passport, Auto Registration and Stickers Are Up to Date
You might be surprised how many people plan to hit the road, only to discover the necessary paperwork isn’t entirely in order. If you will be doing any road trips, stop by your local Community Financial Service Center (CFSC) to make sure your plates are up to date and take care of any other license services. Doing so may help you avoid paying unnecessary penalties for driving with expired registration or expired plates. At CFSC, we understand the importance of staying on top of your finances this summer. To set up a prepaid debit card or take advantage of our many financial services, find the nearest CFSC location to you and stop by to see how else we can help!