Summer’s in full swing and all this sunshine has shed new light on my budget. It’s got me thinking about the rules (ironic, since school’s out, right?).
In particular, am I giving Rules One and Two their full due? See, every summer, our patterns change—the kids are out of school so, naturally, the way we spend money changes.
With Rule Three, we’ve got flexibility to roll with the punches, true (and that’s good). But if we put a little thought into “summer-izing” our budget, could we get better at giving dollars summer jobs—and, as a result, help increase the age of our money (a.k.a., build a better, bigger buffer)?
Our “eating out” category has, pleasantly, gone down. I had to think about this one—it feels like we’re out and about more—how are we spending less? Turns out, it just feels like that. The truth is, we’re not rushing as much as we do during the school year. We have more time to cook at home, and we don’t find ourselves pinched for time and grabbing food on the go.
With the kids home, I expected our “entertainment” category to go up, but that hasn’t been the case, at all. It’s a funny thing about summer, the kids go outside and entertain themselves. And longer days mean more time outside, too, so we spend much less time huddled up with a movie. Another budget win!
So, what things are hitting the budget? We’re driving more to get to all of our summer outings. For the family car, at least, gas consumption is up.
This has been a big one—it actually caught us a little off guard. Scout camps, a craft thing for one our daughters, plus some swimming lessons (and then more swimming lessons because the kids were doing really well), added up. I thought we were ready, but I’ve been experimenting with how I break down the budget (you can hear about it on the podcast), and I didn’t have a keen insight into how all of the summer activities had added up. Because of that, we were not as prepared as we could have been. (Or really at all.)
I hope these examples help you reconsider how you budget for summer, so you can keep yourself away from the financial edge. Think about things that change for you. Utilities are an obvious example—we use less heat and more AC when it’s hot outside. If you were caught a little off guard this year, like we were, pay attention, make adjustments, and next summer you’ll be sitting pretty!
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