School's out and summer is well and truly underway. Although we can't guarantee the weather in the UK one thing is certain, our financial outgoings rocket during the summer holidays, especially if you have children. WIth that in mind, we're running through our summer financial wellbeing tips to help you keep your finances on track while still enjoying the summer months.
The summer holidays are totally different to how our lives usually operate. If you have kids, then they're off school, you're having to take time off work or plan for childcare, and you have summer activities to plan. On the other hand, if you don't have kids the summer months can be equally as busy with summer events, holidays and paid or unpaid annual leave.
These different times cause for a different budget. Why? Well, in normal circumstances your budget will typically work around your routine and everyday life. However, as we have already discussed, your 'everyday' changes to varying degrees during the summer months. Therefore, your budget needs to change with you, otherwise you will end up overspending, running out of funds for those all important summer plans or readying yourself for a winter of financial worry.
With this in mind, a summer budget should accommodate all of the above eventualities that summer will bring for you and your family. This way, you can plan what finances you will need ahead of time, avoid overspending and therefore truly enjoy your summer.
Sticking with the planning for a moment, let's talk about meal planning for the summer.
A meal plan is a fantastic way to cut the costs of your food bill and avoid food waste; this is all the more important during summer. If your kids are off school then you could find yourself having to arrange more meals during the daytime without school dinners - this is before we get onto the endless snacking! By planning your meals in advance, you can account for these extra meals, add them to your shopping list and finally prep them in advance where needed saving you valuable time as well as money.
Your summer meal planner should also account for any days out. After all, taking your own picnic is guaranteed to be a cheaper, and potentially healthier, option than eating out: win-win!
Speaking of days out...
Whether you have kids or not, the summer months can mean a busy period of days out, events and holidays all of which prove incredibly costly.
Without wishing to rain on your summer parade, remember that you don't have to attend every summer event and that it's ok to say no - either to yourself or the kids. Your summer budget should accommodate a set amount of money aside for days out and activities - remember to stick to this and prioritise the activities you really want to spend your allowance on.
If you are heading out for the day, don't forget to research any coupons or vouchers before you go. From off-peak public transport to kids go free activities, you'll be surprised at the savings you can make just from taking the time to research.
The summer months can (sometimes) mean warmer weather so make sure you capitalise on this with some free, or nearly free, fun in the sun.
Enjoy dedicated garden days, head to local parks or beaches or take a daily walk. Getting out in nature is good for your mental and physical health as well as your bank balance so it's well worth taking advantage of. Remember: if you are heading for a day at the park or beach, take your own snacks, drinks, meals and toys otherwise your free fun in the sun could end up proving quite costly!
Wherever you turn during the summer there's a summer sale. While these can prove great money savers (we're looking at you school shoes and summer party clothes) they can also be a cause of unnecessary expenditure and overspending.
Before you hit the sales, either online or in-store, make a list of what you really need and stick to it. If you don't need it or wouldn't have bought it out of the sale then put it back on the shelf.
If you can, it's also worth shopping around to see if that must-have bargain really is a bargain. That 'best ever price' may actually be cheaper at another retailer so always shop around.
Our summer financial wellbeing tips may be simple but the fact is when put into practice they can save you from overspending and ensure your summer of fun doesn't turn into one of financial hardship.
If you are worried about your finances this summer and are struggling to make ends meet, try our free online debt advice tool to see if our debt solutions can help.
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