Summer is traditionally a time to let loose and enjoy carefree evenings and fun-filled weekends. Unfortunately, the nicer weather can be hard on finances. Between family vacations and weekly fun, summer expenses tend to add up quickly and create a dent in your hard-earned savings. Sunburn is bad enough, you don't need to burn through your money as well! Reel in your spending this summer by saying "no" to out of control spending.
Saving money doesn't mean your summer will be boring. There are lots of ways to enjoy the season on a budget. Whether you indulge in a getaway or stick close to home, consider these six ways to spend less while having fun this summer.
When You Travel
1. Make It a Road Trip
Epic summer vacations don't have to take you thousands of miles away. Explore what lies within driving distance and save big on travel expenses. While it's tempting to go all out with your summer plans, air travel can be expensive. Instead of spending almost $400 just to get where you're going, look at vacation destinations in your home or neighboring states. Find a hidden gem nearby and enjoy exploring a new place close to home just as much as you would halfway across the country or abroad. Initial travel isn't the only thing you'll save on, either. When you take your own car, you save on other big expenses like car rentals and public transportation during your stay.
2. Travel or Stay Together
The more the merrier, right? When you're planning your summer getaway, try to coordinate plans with friends or family. Carpooling will save on gas and other travel expenses, and getting one big vacation rental together will likely be cheaper than paying for individual hotel rooms. If you're traveling to visit friends or family, don't be shy when it comes to sleeping arrangements. If they have a spare bedroom and are willing to play host, ask if you can stay with them to save on lodging expenses.
3. Bundle & Save
If you don't have your heart set on a specific location, browse travel packages and deals for bundled experiences. Most offers include travel and lodging for one low price, and some come with special perks like free meals or discounted entrance fees to nearby attractions. Take advantage of the ultimate bundle opportunity when you book an all-inclusive cruise ship or resort stay. While the initial price might seem higher, once you add up hotel fees, meals, drinks, and entertainment, all-inclusive experiences often end up being cheaper than paying as you go. With any deal you find online, just be sure to verify its authenticity before you offer up your banking information.
When You Stay
4. Explore the Outdoors
Not only is it free, but exploring the outdoors is great for your health as well! Hike on local trails, ride your bikes instead of driving, take your kids to play at the local park, camp under the stars, or enjoy a day on and in the water at a nearby lake. Some parks and private recreation areas charge minimal facility or parking fees, but it's still far less than you would spend going to an amusement park or the mall. Best of all, it's an activity you can return to time and time again and every experience will be different and exciting!
5. Free Summer Fun
Summer is prime time for free community events. Music in the park, art walks, block parties, and holiday festivals offer family-friendly entertainment at little-to-no cost – and they bring you closer to your neighbors! With school out and a lot more kids to entertain, summer is also the perfect time to scope out restaurants where children eat free, or local businesses and organizations that offer free youth programming. Many hometown libraries have complimentary summer programming and museums frequently have days when they waive admission fees for kids.
6. Eat In
Dining out can add up to a big expense any time of year, but weekly restaurant spending tends to creep up even more in summer months. With patio seating calling your name and so many post-work activities to enjoy, it can be hard to maintain the discipline of weekly grocery shopping and nightly meal preparation. When you get the urge to eat out, stop and think about what fun activities that money could be spent on instead, or consider how you can make cooking part of the evening's entertainment. Enjoy a backyard barbecue with friends and family or keep dinner light and combine a picnic with a scenic view. You'll save money and eat healthier in the long run!
In addition to following these six money-saving tips, be sure to keep a close eye on your finances throughout the summer. North Country Savings Bank offers convenient mobile banking to all customers, which means you can keep tabs on both your checking and savings accounts and adjust your spending as needed. If you do plan to go away, be sure to notify NCSB of your travel plans to avoid unnecessary account freezes.