Tips For Planning Your Summer Budget
Well, summer's almost here and for many of us that's a glorious, exciting prospect! It means that freedom, sunshine, camping, beaches, pools, volleyball, and glimmering turquoise jewelry are all on the horizon. But don't get too excited and blow all your money during the first week. You need to establish a summer budget and before you do that you need to create some ground rules. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning this year's summer budget:
Get a seasonal or part-time job.
Summer is a wonderful time of year for seasonal work—camp counselors, lifeguards, babysitters, dog-walkers, and housesitters are all in high demand as families go on vacations and kids hunt for summertime activities. Or, if you're particularly ambitious you could look for higher-end internships and jobs offered by clinical research staffing and law firms. Depending on what your career path is, a summer internship can be a great career move, and it doesn't hurt to get paid for it!
Bring your lunch. Eating out is expensive, no doubt about it. Virtually any sit down restaurant is going to charge you two to three times what your meal is worth and that's before tax and tip. Every once in a while it's acceptable to treat yourself on a special occasion, but if you're living on a student or working class budget, eating out everyday is just not a realistic option. Bringing your lunch with you is a much better way to ensure you don't spend too much money and that you eat healthy. Keep track of your bank accounts and credit cards. Know what funds are being withdrawn from your credit cards on a monthly basis. You may have recurring charges from Netflix, Vogue magazine subscriptions, your smartphone data plan, your gym or yoga membership (hopefully!)—and this isn't even factoring in shopping splurges, which are just flat-out hard to resist in spring. Remember to save money for your schoolbooks so the folks don't start questioning that extra dough they gave you!
Look for discounts and deals.
Summer is always a great time for special discounts and rewards and that's never been more true than now—we're in the Age of Social Media! Hit up Facebook fan pages, Twitter feeds, Pinterest boards and Foursquare check-ins for great deals. There's seriously nothing stopping you from being the Mayor of Anthropologie. Especially for students, summer is the season of discounts.
These are just a few tips to think about when you plan your summer budget this year. The important thing is to make sure you get some much needed R&R while hopefully being able to squirrel away a few bucks. It's always good to prove to yourself and your family that you are financially responsible.
Anna is a freelance writer who enjoys writing on various topics across the web including personal finance, business, and career. She knows what it is like to be on a summer budget and will be working this summer as a clinical research staffing assistant. You can find more writing by Anna at PaidTwice.com