June 14, 2024
9 Ways You Can Beat Spending Traps and Save More This Summer, According to Experts

Summertime is ripe with opportunities for spending on things like vacations, theme park tickets and backyard barbecues. However, if you open your wallet to every warm-weather whim, you’ll soon find your credit card debt rising and your bank balance shrinking. 

Here’s advice from experts on how to beat summer spending traps and save more.

Also see extra ways you can save on summer travel this year. 

Build a Summer Budget

“Building a budget that includes how much you have to spend on travel, food or clothing is important to avoid overspending for the summer,” said Annette Harris, accredited financial counselor (AFC) and founder of Harris Financial Coaching.

She explained that creating a budget for travel could include what you’re willing to spend on hotels, events and food throughout your trip. 

“Summertime food expenses can also increase, especially if you have kids home from school,” Harris said. “You can find that your grocery budget can triple due to having to provide three meals a day compared to one when school is in session. Similarly, you want to plan for a few new outfits for the summer for growing children or even your wardrobe.”

“Having a pre-planned annual budget for these types of expenses can ensure that you don’t overspend in each area,” she said.

Plan Travel Wisely

Not only should you plan how much you want to spend on summer travel, but you should also look for ways to save money. 

“Be smart about how you plan your holiday travels,” said Erika Kullberg, attorney, personal finance expert and founder of Erika.com. “Purchase tickets well in advance where you can for flights and accommodations. Travel during shoulder seasons, if possible, to take advantage of both the lower airfare and lodging costs and look for local destinations or take a road trip to keep costs even lower.”

Evaluate Your Daily Debit Spending Limit

Alejandra Rojas, a trauma-informed finance professional, founder of The Money Mindset Hub and host of The Money Mindset Show, said to check your daily spending limit on your debit cards and reduce it if possible. 

“This will help you stay within your budget and avoid impulse purchases,” she said. 

Take Your Credit Cards Out of Your Wallet

Rojas also advised leaving your credit cards at home as much as possible. “If you have not planned to use them for a planned purchase, you don’t need them with you,” she said.

Reconsider Your Subscriptions

If you subscribe to boxes, streaming or even a gym, Rojas said to review them and cancel any that you haven’t used within the past month. 

“Many times, we forget about subscriptions we don’t use,” she said. “Now, in summer, may be a great time to review and cancel.”

Plan Ahead

“Plan ahead for your week, including outings and outside activities,” Rojas said. “The less space you leave in your mind to wonder what to do at the moment, the more chances you have of saving. When you have a plan, you’re less likely to spend on spontaneous activities that add up quickly.”

Avoid Impulse Purchases

During June, July and August, summer deals are plentiful. Rojas suggests that before you buy any summer deal, you should consider whether it’s worth it for at least one day before making your decision. 

“This cooling-off period helps you avoid the purchase rush,” she said. 

Take Advantage of Free Activities

“Look for free events happening throughout the summer,” Rojas said. “Many communities offer concerts, festivals and other activities at no cost. These can be just as fun as paid events and are great for keeping your spending in check.”

Spend More Time in Nature

Rojas explained that choosing to spend more time in nature is a great way to rebalance and you’ll likely find that hours fly by unnoticed. Plus, she added that there’s not much spending involved in this activity. 

“Nature walks, picnics and beach days are enjoyable and budget-friendly,” she said. 

Avoid ‘Spaving’

If you’re not familiar with “spaving,” it’s the practice of spending money to save money, like buying something to get another item free — also known as a BOGO offer — when you had no intention of buying anything before you saw the deal. 

Lori Gravitt, assistant vice president and branch manager at Addition Financial Credit Union, said she’s guilty of falling victim to spaving. 

“I do most of my shopping online and have a hard time thinking I am missing out on a deal or paying for shipping,” she said. “Nearly all online stores now offer a deal if you spend a certain amount to get a percentage off or get free shipping. Your intention from the start might be to buy one item and by the time you’re done, you might have a few items in my cart and are spending more than you planned.

“What I have learned and will advise people now is to stay disciplined and resist the urge to fall for this practice,” Gravitt said. “You end up overspending and getting impulse items you might not need or even want. It’s not unlike the temptation of the candy at the checkout line at the store. The retailer is profiting from it, but you, as the consumer, are financially losing out. In some cases, the retailer may have increased prices to even offer the deal in the first place.”

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