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The Dog Days of Summer Spending

by Derek Sisterhen on May 25, 2010

Last week, I talked about the importance of preparing for vacations and travel so summer trips don’t follow you home. It got me thinking, though: summertime ushers in all sorts of expenses that aren’t typically found on the budget throughout the rest of the year. How are you preparing for them?

Aside from a summer vacation, many of us will travel for a wedding in the coming months. Taking the same approach with planning for travel – including transportation, food, lodging, and other costs in the equation – you also must determine how much you’ll spend for wedding gifts. I suggest standardizing your wedding gift spending with one dollar amount for all weddings and an option to scale that amount down for the weddings of couples you might not have a deep relationship with.

Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer, Labor Day marks the end, and Independence Day falls in between. If you’re planning any neighborhood parties, be sure to plan for the additional grocery expenses you’ll have. Likewise, if you have any annual family reunions during these holidays, remember that you can plan for that all year long by dividing what you would spend by twelve and saving that money every month.

If you’re planning to do any extensive yard work or home improvement projects this summer, be sure to plan accordingly. Rather than fall for a 0% interest credit card at your neighborhood home improvement megastore, begin setting aside money now for the projects you’d like to accomplish. Even if you have to wait until the fall to get started, you’ll avoid the debt trap to-do lists can snare us in.

And don’t you just love back to school shopping? Ending the summer with clothing and school supply purchases can put you on unstable footing as you head into the fall. What can you save over the summer months in order to be prepared for that shopping spree? What can you wait to buy after school begins?

A little bit of forethought and a good monthly spending plan will help you manage your money and avoid the financial dog days of summer.

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