5 Tips to Cool Down Spending and Enjoy Summer

Summer is in full swing. It's a popular time for fun and relaxation, yardwork and household projects, barbecues and beverages, and traveling with family and friends. How can you enjoy it all without going overboard on your budget? Here are five tips to keep in mind as temperatures start to climb:

1. Budget First, Then Play
5 Tips to Cool Down Spending and Enjoy SummerExpenses for things like vacation, camp and entertainment can be a shock to your wallet if you're not prepared for them. Make a list of everything you'd like to do this summer, and figure out what it will cost. You may need to make some adjustments to your budget (hopefully you have one!), but that's okay because planning now will help you avoid overspending and having to face credit card debt come fall.

2. Find Free and Reduced Activities
A lot of communities host free concerts, plays and movie nights in the park during summer. Just pack a blanket, some drinks and snacks, and enjoy. And many museums and tourist sites offer reduced fees on particular days or during certain hours. Also, look for street fairs, nature hikes, art shows and other activities that cost little or nothing to attend.

3. Invest in Fun
Is there a theme park, zoo or kids' park you plan to visit multiple times this summer? If so, consider a season pass or membership, which typically offers a significant discount on admission.

4. Carry Cash
Give your debit and credit cards a vacation from swiping. Instead, set a daily spending budget, and use cash to pay for your purchases. This may seem "old-school," but using cash puts a hard limit on your budget. Since you can only spend what you have in your wallet, you may be less apt to buy things you don't need or truly want.

5. Keep a Little Happy in Your Day
If you enjoy a cold-brew coffee on the way to work, get one. You can keep your budget in check by thinking carefully about what matters most to you and spending on things that bring you joy (within reason, of course!), and then offsetting that spending by cutting back on other nonessentials.

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