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Start Saving for Summer

a beach hat and a pair of orange sunglasses reflecting palm trees with an ocean in the background

Ahhh, Summer! It’s right around the corner. Summer is the time for fun; for family vacations, road trips, concerts, bonfires, and long weekend stayovers. We can’t wait. But are you ready for it?

It’s very important that you also prepare your bank account for the next few months. We put together this list of smart saving tips for summer and ways to manage your money wisely so you can get the most out of this season! Let’s dive right in.

Summer Strategies for Saving Money

Saving money requires a bit of self-discipline and diligence. But it also takes a strong strategy. Lucky for you, there are numerous ways to save big. We wanted to share just a few of the best strategies with you to get you started.

Try to Become More Frugal

First, you should take a close look at your budget and research your major expenses. Review the numbers and details of every amount that comes out of your bank account each month.

You’ll want to gain an understanding of what the essential expenses are, such as rent, mortgage, utilities, groceries, medicine, or gas, and what the nonessential expenses are like entertainment. This is because every penny adds up. Developing this deeper knowledge of your spending habits can absolutely give you leverage when it comes to saving.

Look for anything that you could eliminate from your expenses. For instance, do you have multiple subscriptions to streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Spotify Premium? Are there any that you don’t use as often as the other(s)? With annual subscriptions increasing for most of the popular streaming services, they add up. Try making a list of the pros and cons of each subscription you currently have and use it to narrow it down to the top services you regularly use.

The same goes for other things like eating out. This one may be hard. There are lots of reasons to go out to eat; it’s convenient, new places are exciting to try, eating comfort food can be fulfilling (as can happy hour), and some nights you just don’t feel like cooking.

While ordering food from restaurants is convenient, it can definitely eat away (pun intended) at your finances over time. Sometimes, ordering out is inevitable or it’s the perfect option for a social gathering. But try to limit spending on takeout.

Instead, plan out your meals and challenge yourself with cooking new recipes. Meal planning can make life so much easier. Look at what you have in your fridge or pantry and try to think of creative ways to use up those ingredients. Aim to make enough so you’ll have two to three meals-worth of different dishes. Who knows – you may find a new favorite meal! The average American spends upwards of $300 a month dining out. That’s around $3,500 a year that could go towards savings, debt, or a beach vacation!

It’s important that you determine what types of major purchases (meaning anything over $100) each month. Are you making car payments or do you pay rent? Factor in these large expenses when you create your budget for Summer.

Start Making a Dent in Your Debt

If you have various forms of debt such as from student loan debt or credit card debt, now is the time to start tackling it. The best way to do so is to create a pay-off plan.

Go through and find out the interest rate of each debt. Experts say you should make the debts with the highest interest rate a top priority. It’s a good idea to pay the minimum amount owed on all of them. But if you have any extra money, you could put that towards the debt bearing the highest interest rate. Then once you’ve paid off that balance, jump to the following debts bearing the next highest interest rates. Soon enough, those debts will be cleared and you’ll have more financial freedom. More money to spend on Summer adventures? Yes please!

Save Any Spare Money

As we’ve stated previously, every cent counts – whether we’re talking about spending or saving. Anytime you find that you have some spare money, you should definitely consider saving it! No matter the amount, every little bit you can put away helps.

A terrific route to go would be to open a savings account with competitive interest rates. In a savings account, your money would be safe and in time, would earn interest. You could keep the money in the account in case you want to splurge on a rainy – or Summer day.

Another great way to allow your money to grow would be to look into investing apps. Acorns is one of the most widely used financial services in the app market right now. They specialize in micro-investing and robo-investing while striving to make investing and saving easier for the average person. Acorns is one of the more user-friendly options out there. They aim to make the experience educational for investors, and they offer straightforward low fees.

Saving money can be a challenge, but it’ll be worth it when you’re sipping on a cool drink and taking in your vacation views.

Manage Your Money

You’ll want to develop a budget so you can let your summer self have fun. Calculate your expenses and make notes in detail so you’ll have a solid idea of what you’re really spending on a regular basis.

You should work to find out if you have a monthly surplus or deficit. Determine the difference between your total monthly income and total monthly expenses. If the figure is positive, that means you have a surplus. A negative figure means that you have a deficit. You can avoid having a deficit by carefully spending and tracking your expenses, like we mentioned earlier. Recording your spending and tracking the progress on payments and savings can help the reality of your financial situation surface.

When you gain a better understanding, you should try flesh out a budget to stick to. Keep in mind that a good budget should allow for some wiggle room. Life is unpredictable and sometimes spontaneity calls. Be realistic with your budget.

Summertime Savings

Saving for your backyard BBQs, beach vacations, or cross country road trips can be pretty simple when you think about it. You could do any of the following to let your vacation funds stretch:

  • Book your flights several months advance to take advantage of early-bird discounts
  • Bundle your hotel and flights to get a better rate (use a site like Expedia or Kayak)
  • Get great deals and coupons through Groupon
  • Try staying in an Airbnb or a hostel to reduce costs and meet new people
  • Book your rental car(s) right away to get a lower rate

But if you haven’t figured out where exactly you want to go, here are a few affordable summer vacations:

Soak Up the Sun at the Beach

Take a fun day trip to a favorite local beach, lake, or creek or use this as an opportunity to go to one you’ve never visited before. You’re sure to have a blast catching rays and cooling off.

Visit Parks

There are so many beautiful parks and trails right here in Virginia that are worth visiting! Whether you spend an afternoon playing frisbee with your friends or campout overnight, you can have loads of fun while also supporting your local community.

Drive to Scenic Areas

Mother Nature is gorgeous. There are tons of scenic areas that you could drive to across the United States. Pack the cooler and go for a nice drive. Get your cameras ready – you’ve got to love a great view!

Have a Picnic

Who doesn’t love a good picnic? This is a wonderful way to get your family or friends together. You could even do a potluck. Most local parks and recreation centers offer pavilions for free or at a very low rate. Bring your best charcuterie board or try making something new!

Have an Amazing Summer

We hope your summer is one for the books! If you would like any more ideas on how to save money or need help with budgeting, your friends at Highlands Community Bank would be happy to help. Don’t ever hesitate to reach out to us. After all, we’re neighbors. Contact us today!

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