Summer is a time for getting out and making memories. However, that fun can put a significant dent in your savings, especially this year as more travel destinations and amusement venues reopen.
A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can help you develop and commit to a savings plan that lets you enjoy everything the summer has to offer without setting aside your long-term financial goals.
To get you started, first take stock of your current financial situation:
- Check in on your savings and update your household budget so you know how much is already allocated to essential spending and what is left over each month that could go toward summer plans.
- Think about upcoming income changes. If you have seasonal work or plan to change jobs soon, ensure your budget accounts for the potential loss or gain of income.
- Prioritize your needs before you decide how much you reasonably have to spend on summer activities. Make sure your bills and all basic necessities are covered.
- Don’t lose sight of your goals. Review your long-term goals and check your emergency fund. Continue setting aside money for these items, even as you budget for summer.
- Trim excess. As you review and update your budget, look for miscellaneous unnecessary spending. Do you have a subscription or streaming service you don’t use? Eliminate it to free up some funds.
Once you know where you stand, you can start planning for financially savvy summer fun:
- Set a budget for each summer activity to prevent overspending. Pick a number that includes any required transportation, lodging, food, tickets and miscellaneous items (such as gas or souvenirs) then make your summer plans around this budget.
- Find ways to save on transportation and accommodations. Traveling during off peak times, using credit card points, or taking advantage of deals that give you a free hotel night if you stay a certain number of days are all possible options to research.
- Take advantage of COVID-19 flexibility. Many airlines and hotels currently offer flexible booking options that let you cancel if health guidelines or your own plans change. This is a great way to avoid last-minute change fees.
- Look to local events. Summer fun doesn’t only happen far away. You can significantly reduce costs by taking advantage of nearby activities. Hiking trails, beaches, museums and festivals offer enjoyment without the cost of travel.
- Meet with a CFP® professional. If you haven’t already done so, consider talking through your short- and long-term financial goals and making a roadmap to reach your financial goals. You can find a CFP® professional at letsmakeaplan.org.
When warmer weather invites you to get away and explore, remember that summer fun doesn’t have to be a budget buster. Before you set off, think about your finances and make a plan.