The Season of Savings
As the heat settles in and the summer season kicks into full gear, many are scouting for ways to beat the heat with a little extra shopping, a few more nights out or even a summer getaway to a tropical destination. It may be the season to let your hair down but just because you’re relaxed, doesn’t mean your spending habits should be too.
This summer, challenge yourself to turn around your personal finances and make it the season of savings. Healthy financial habits can offer lasting benefits and give you the extra cushion you need for emergency situations or your next big purchase. Through a little effort and consistency, you can achieve your savings goals without substantially altering your daily routine. We’ve put together a few pointers on how to ease the brakes on spending and rack up the savings.
Write a budget
Achieving your savings goal is a process that may takes months of financial preparation. Your first order of business is to find out exactly how much you are spending per month and create a budget accordingly. It’s important to be thorough when calculating these expenses, because an accurate representation will create a realistic budget. As a safety net, it’s best to account for an extra 10 to 15 percent in your expenses to plan for the unexpected, such as car repairs or gift shopping.
Your budget is your own, and it will simply depend on your income, expenses and your preferred amount of savings per month. A good rule of thumb is to dedicate at least 10 to 20 percent of your monthly income toward your savings. And the more you stay loyal to your budget, the easier it will become to cut out miniscule expenses for a bigger savings reward.
Pack your lunch
With a busy schedule, the motives to pack lunch often become slimmer, and the temptations to eat out become higher. But cutting out the cost of buying lunch every day is a small change that makes a big difference. For example, if your average takeout lunch costs $10 per meal, that totals to $50 per week and an astounding $2,400 a year. To put it into further perspective, buying a ready-made sandwich can cost anywhere from $5 to $10, whereas assembling your own will cost you on average $3 to $5.
Dedicating just two days out of the week to meal prep for the week can cut your costs by nearly half. This will not only help you stay health conscious, but it will also save you time and money. And if you’re worried about your food going bad, you can save your prepped meals by storing them in the freezer to eat at a later date.
Plan a staycation
With airfare, hotels, food and activities into consideration, the average vacation costs $1,145 per person. And as your vacation approaches, it’s easy to forget about the last-minute expenses like hiring a house/pet sitter and parking fees at the airport. This year, instead of planning an extravagant summer getaway, reward yourself for prioritizing your savings by booking a staycation. This “at home” vacation not only cuts your costs in half, but it will also fulfill your relaxation needs without the hassle of planning travel logistics.
The best part about staycations is that it can be whatever exudes that feel-good feeling for you. Whether it’s a spa day or a day trip to a neighboring city with friends, selfcare activities are fun, stress relieving and easy to plan. Staycations eliminate the heavy costs of airfare and hotels while giving you what you need to get the travel bug out of your system.
Building your savings is like sticking to a fitness routine—it can be a long but rewarding journey. Cutting out small expenses, whether its packing a lunch or sparing the grand vacation, will help you achieve your personal goals—whether it be saving for retirement or putting a down payment on a house. However you choose to save this summer, you will be sure to thank yourself in the long run.