What is it about summer that makes our spending go into overdrive? It's as if the sunshine imbues us with a dizzying sense of optimism that all the cocktails, dinner parties, and weekends away take place in a parallel universe—until the check arrives. A Maven survey confirms this hunch. According to their data, millennials spent an average of $1300 on socializing and attended 37 events, a steep increase compared to fall and winter.
And 62% of respondents said they're more spontaneous and adventurous in summer, despite the impact it has on their bank account. You don't need to sacrifice your social schedule to save money in summer, though. Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest, says that by following a few spending tips, it's possible to manage your finances and still enjoy the warmer months. Here are three small, actionable money tips she recommends to make the most of your summer, without a stifling bill at the end.
Try the "PERK" System
Now's the perfect time to do a quick review of your spending to get a realistic understanding of where your money goes. Von Tobel recommends the "PERK" system. "Think about everything you're spending money on this summer: Gym memberships. Pedicures. Netflix," she says. "Whatever you're spending on, now is the time to review all expenses and categorize them." Write down your main expenses, and then assign them to one of the following categories:
Postpone until a later date
Eliminate from your budget
Reduce going forward
During this process, question which expenses are essential and optional. "Can you reduce your gym membership for the summer and take advantage of the warm weather for outdoor exercise?" she asks. "You'll be surprised by what you can eliminate, reduce, or postpone without sacrificing your summer social life."
Save $5 Bills
Working toward a big-picture spending goal can seem intimidating, so von Tobel recommends taking a micro approach. "One of the easiest ways to save this summer is to keep every $5 bill you get," she says. "You'll be surprised by how these add up over time. This trick is an easy way to build an emergency fund and still allows you to go out and enjoy the summer."
Make It at Home
Few financial advice is more frustrating than being told simply to skip a meal, outing, or event. Rather than view saving as restricting yourself, think of it as a compromise. "Rather than spending money on takeout lunch you'll eat at your desk, or a coffee you'll drink on your way to work, make it a habit to make these things at home," she says. "The money you save can be put toward doing things with friends, like happy hour drinks after work or a weekend getaway." The bottom line: "You don't have to make major lifestyle changes to save," says Von Tobel. A few minor tweaks to your spending habits is a great place to start.
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