Okay, okay, okay...the vaccine rollout is happening and the weather is warming. So what are we gonna do this year? It's safe to say that last year many of us took the more conservative route and so we're probably itching to go out and paint the town red.
But when you're a budget-conscious person you may also become anxious about spending your hard-earned coins on something so...pleasurable. Never fear! There are plenty of ways to have a TON of fun this summer that don't require getting hit by an overdraft fee.
Pick your splurge and stick to it
When it comes to vacation and the summer holidays there is plenty to spend money on, but not all purchases are equal. Maybe you want to road trip with your best girls and plan to eat sandwiches out of a cooler the whole way. Great! But you can also plan to treat yourself. Key word here is P-L-A-N.
No one knows how you tend to spend your cash more than you do. It's good to determine how much you'll spend per day on food, gas, souvenirs, etc. You can also give yourself an additional $100 (or however you deem appropriate -- this is YOUR money, after all) for that beautiful piece of jewelry that catches your eye. For me it's inevitably a piercing or a new bathing suit to wear. Regardless of what it is, don't be so tight with your money that you forget you're off to have fun!
Set a short-term savings goal
Do you really wanna enjoy your summer vacay? Start cutting your budget down today. The more you save today means the more you can spend on fries and soda at the beach. Estimate how much money your trip/activity will cost, round up a little (^^see splurging plan^^) , and set that as your vacay savings goal.
Keep in mind: this is only a short-term savings goal. Whatever you do to bring in extra income or pinch pennies between now and vacation day won't last forever. But the memories of what a wonderful and exciting trip you gave yourself WILL last forever.
Tip: If you cannot save any extra for now, consider selling items around your house (books you can part with, old electronics, perhaps chachkies) and have a good, old-fashioned yard sale. I realize you may not have a yard, but you can sell nearly anything through the Facebook marketplace or other websites.
Cash in your rewards points
It's difficult to NOT receive rewards points on your credit cards these days. While I always opt to use my points toward paying down my balance, there is another benefit for points...if you use them. What better time than summer vacation to reward (get it??) yourself for managing your points so effectively all year.
Don't have enough points for a full plane ticket? Call the airline with your desired flight information handy and ask them to split up the cost between points and cash. Half or even a quarter of a flight is still worth it if you're ready to part with the points you've accrued.
God with God...or your friends
You needn't take vacation alone. You absolutely can and should if you need a break from everyone. But if you can stand the company this is an excellent exercise in cost-sharing. Hotel rooms, rental cars, parking, group meals...these add up and the more people you have with whom to split the costs, the more you as a collective group can afford. Hillary told us it takes a village.
Other than an effective means to save it's also an incredible experience to visit a new place with others. Long car rides blasting Wicked and sharing canned wine spritzers on the beach are among a few of my favorite (cheap) summer trips I've made in my short lifetime and I wouldn't trade any of those memories for a fancy hotel room in New York City.
The most important thing I can say is whatever you do: have fun! Strict budget or not, it's been a wild and stressful year and you have earned an enjoyable few days this summer!