How to Make Summer Fun Yet Financially Manageable

Q: I like to be out and about with my family and friends during the summer months. I’ve noticed that I reach for my credit card more and more often and I’m dreading what my credit card bills will look like in the fall. Can you offer any suggestions?

A: Many people find the summer months expensive. Ice cream and a bottle of water while at the beach; extra parking costs; stopping in at a friend’s for a BBQ; drinks on the patio after work — it all adds up and leaves many of us wondering where our money went. Those who also have children to keep busy over the summer break often shudder at what that might cost by the time school starts.

Here are a few suggestions to make summer fun more financially manageable:

  • Involve your family and friends when developing a summertime plan. It’s a lot easier to set a budget and stick to it if everyone is onside.
  • Be flexible and look for ways to have fun without going over budget — this is where kids can be your best resource. You might be surprised by what they want to do.
  • Know how much money you have to play with. Set an overall budget for the summer and then plan how much you need each week.
  • Try leaving your credit cards at home and using cash. You will be less inclined to buy things you don’t really need.
  • Research your options and balance more expensive activities with less expensive outings. For example, a trip to the waterslides and then a day at the beach. And always pack water bottles, snacks and any supplies you may need before heading out for the day.

The list of what you might enjoy doing this summer is endless, so don’t forget to include some low-cost favourites — you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time!