Summer is upon us and like always, these warmer months seem to go by pretty fast. I’m a planner by nature so I like to have most of my summer outings planned out in advance. Whether you plan or not, life doesn’t always go as planned and you will likely have some last-minute summer day trips or activities that come up. How are you affording summer fun this year?
Depending on what it is, you may have a hard time affording summer activities if you don’t free up room in your budget. Here are 5 easy ways to help you afford last-minute summer day trips and activities.
1. Have a No Spend Week or Weekend
I’m getting back into the habit of having at least one no-spend week each month. No, spend weeks are great for resetting your finances and lowering your unnecessary spending.
How it works is you don’t have to actually stop spending entirely. You can just set a few rules for yourself whether it means you can spend on planned bills and purchases but avoid everything else.
If there’s a week or even a weekend where I know I don’t have much planned, I’ll challenge myself with a no-spend week to see how much I can save. This frees up money to be used for other expenses or in this case, affording summer activities.
Also, no spend weeks or no spend weekends doesn’t mean I can’t do anything fun. You can just do free activities whether it’s checking out state parks, having a bonfire in the backyard, or checking out a museum on a free day.
2. Temporarily Cut Out One or Two Expenses Categories
If you know that you may have things like birthday parties, holiday events, or more brunch dates with friends this summer, see if you can cut an expense category from your budget to free up money.
For example, let’s say you have a gym membership for $65 per month. However, you decide to cut these expenses for the summer and switch to at-home workouts and running outdoors. Doing this can free up $65 per month for you to use on summer activities without draining your budget.
Another option would be to skip a few months for a subscription service that you have. My guilty pleasure is Stitch Fix but I won’t be using it this summer in an effort to save money.
If you choose to temporarily cut a budget expense category to help with affording summer fun, realize that what you decide to get rid of is totally up to you. There’s no right or wrong answer. Since summer only lasts a few months, you can always add the expense back in later.
3. Declutter Your Home…And Sell Stuff
Even if you missed out on spring cleaning projects, it’s never too late to reorganize and declutter your home. Odds are, you’ll uncover a lot of items that you’re no longer using but can be sold for extra cash.
You can sell stuff online or have a huge garage sale. What’s interesting is that the average American household contains more than $700 worth of unused items. As a whole, we’re keeping billions of dollars worth of stuff in our homes for no reason.
Selling some items you own for a few hundred dollars can provide you with some quick cash for a day trip or another summer outing. Last month, I was able to go to Michigan with my sisters for a day and used some money I made from selling stuff online to help fund the mini-trip.
RELATED: 5 Ways to Make Money by Decluttering
4. Earn Some Extra Money
If you know you’re going to want to spend extra money over the summer, you can always find ways to make extra cash. Cutting your budget can only do so much when it comes to affording summer activities. You don’t have to work 20 to 40 extra hours per week.
Instead, think of something you can do for a few hours per week during your spare time. This could be anything from babysitting for friends, tutoring students, or walking dogs while people go on vacation. Or, you can help people move, mow lawns, or freelance on the side.
If you can earn $100 to $150 per week, that’s $400 to $600 per month that you can add to your summer budget.
5. Split the Costs With Friends
Everything is cheaper when you share and split the cost with friends. If you’re having trouble affording summer activities without busting your budget, focus on more group events and activities. If you’re going on a day trip, see if you can carpool with friends and split the gas. You can also split costs for lodging and food as well.
Or, if you and your partner are going on a double date with another couple, try to split a meal or dessert to stretch your dollar. I recently went out with some friends for tapas and we split everything leaving me with only a $16 bill. Group outings can also be more affordable if you can get a group rate.
Summary: Affording Summer Fun is a Must
The summer season is such a special time but it often goes by too fast. We all have so many financial responsibilities but one thing you won’t regret is making memories with loved ones and friends. Oftentimes, this involves spending money to do various activities and that’s fine. Utilize these 5 tips to help make summer activities possible and fit in your budget.