Summer is almost here! And if your month of May is anything like mine it probably feels more like Maycember – another December with 50 million things to do and you feel like you’re running at breakneck speed.
That’s why this week is the perfect time to sit down and nail down some of the basics of your summer budget. The summertime crazies and summertime blues are real! And if we’re not careful, summertime can completely wreck our budgets and reek havoc on our wallets. And according to a LendEDU study from 2018 Americans on average spend over $2,229 more than they normally would. So let’s make sure that doesn’t happen!
1. Vacation Sinking Fund
First, if you find yourself every summer sinking into debt just to pay for a family vacation, it’s time to open up a Vacation Sinking Fund. For us, we keep this as a separate bank account at CIT Bank. This way we can build up over time the money to go on vacation with and avoid sinking into debt. For more on Sinking Funds head here.
But how much should you budget for a vacation? Obviously, this is going to vary, but here are the basics of planning a vacation on a budget:
- Decide what region you want to visit (mountains, beach, lake, etc.)
- Then decide on a location where you’d like to visit.
- Research places to stay in those areas but make sure you go outside those immediate areas too. You don’t have to stay right on the beach. Be flexible in where you stay, and you can save hundreds!
- How much are you hoping to spend? $1,000? $3,000? Whatever the amount, divide it up by the number of pay periods you have before your desired vacation date. Take the amount and start putting it aside every paycheck into your Vacation Sinking Fund.
And if you want to read about our $1,000 beach vacation so you can get inspired to take your own frugal vacation, head here.
2. Summer Bucket List
If you follow me on Instagram, you heard me talk about this, this week. Every year, me, my kids, and my husband sit down and make out a Summer Bucket List of things we want to do during the summer.
Now, this doesn’t mean that we’re going to do all these things. It just gives us an idea to work with. What I do is create a spreadsheet with the activity and estimated cost of the activity along with the travel time involved. This way, I can pick an activity from that list that corresponds to our Quick Start Budget for that week.
Some weeks the activity is picking up Chic-fil-a and heading to a park with friends. On other weeks it’s a full-day adventure that’s two hours away. The point is, that you don’t need to stress about doing all.the.things on your list. It’s just a guide to help you beat boredom and keep that boredom from wrecking your budget this summer. So take some time this weekend to research your area and the fun things to do this summer. Then make a list and ask your family for their input!
3. Summer School
Don’t freak out. I’m not suggesting you do a full-on summer curriculum here. I’m suggesting to keep your kids from falling behind to set aside 1 hour for 4 days every week that is devoted to summer bridge activities. Pick 1 to 2 subjects that your kids are struggling with or need some extra help with. Do one subject one day and do the other the next and repeat. Again, you don’t need to make this a headache. This is meant to help you keep routine and order in the midst of summer chaos and help your kids not fall behind. If you’re worried that your kids are going to fight you on this, just tell them no screen time and no friends until it’s done. I mean, most mornings are pretty boring during the summer because it’s too early to go knock on a friend’s door so just get it done for the day!
This goes along with #3 above. If you want to avoid wrecking your summer budget and the summer blues or the summertime crazies, you need a routine. I know that flies in the face of “lazy summer days” but seriously. I’ve only been a mom for 10 years but I can tell you that my kids and I thrive when there’s routine. So decide this weekend what your summer routine will look like. It doesn’t need to be rigid or crazy just practical for your family during the hot summer months. (For more on how I set up and establish routines, I go into depth in my ebook Master Your Life, here.)
5. Plan Back to School Shopping Now
Yep. It’ll be school time again before you know it. So if you don’t already have a plan in place for how you’ll afford to pay for all the school supplies, school clothes, and extracurricular activities, now is the time to plan for it. Yes, I know you probably aren’t going to know the supply list yet. That’s totally cool. But I suggest setting up (you guessed it) a sinking fund and to start setting aside a little bit every paycheck this summer to that sinking fund so you have money ready to go when you do get that list. And a little bonus tip: look up last year’s list for your child’s upcoming grade level. Avoid purchasing anything super specific (like 1 red folder, 2 yellow folders) as the specifics may change. But the basic stuff like binders, pencils, highlighters, etc. should all be the same year to year. This can help you plan out your budget for the upcoming school year.
Also, plan in your budget during the summer to purchase the school clothes they will need this upcoming year a little at a time (one shirt here; a pair of pants there…). You can purchase them and set them aside until it’s school time because if your kids are anything like mine, they’ll promptly wear their brand new clothes outside and then jump in a creek. 😂
I hope you have an amazing summer, friend!