Most Canadians see summer as the time to relax more, catch up with family and friends, throw backyard barbeques, and possibly even a reason to treat themselves to a summer getaway (if a trip fits into their budget). And let’s be honest, money is the last thing you want to be thinking about in the summer, while you’re supposed to be relaxing.
We all get swept up in the nice weather, wanting to be outside curled up with a good book or hanging out on a patio, and as a result, sometimes our budgets suffer. So, how do you keep the family entertained and your books balanced? Clean up your finances. Cleaning your finances regularly will help you reach your goals (be it budgeting for a summer trip, paying off debt, or saving for retirement), with the least amount of stress. Here are 5 ways you can simplify your finances for summer (and any other time of the year!):
1. Plan ahead.
Budget, budget, budget. Think about what you have lined up for the coming months, and prioritize. If you know you have a big bill on the way, factor that into your budget. If you know you’re going to be out of town for a few nights, plan how much cash you’ll bring with you (and commit to that number!). It will be a lot easier for you to navigate summer plans if you know what your budget allows for.
Also consider the last time you reviewed your budget. Is it up to date or did you forget to make changes to your budget when your financial situation changed? Account for your living expenses accurately, and make sure you’re contributing 10% of your budget to your savings.
2. Have a “Summer Budget” bank account.
While you’re working through your summer budget, consider setting up a separate bank account solely for your summer cash flow. Having a separate account will help ensure you’re not overspending and biting into your other budgets (or savings).
3. Set up electronic payments.
If you haven’t already set up automatic payments for your bills, now is the time to do it! Setting up electronic and automatic payments will give you more downtime this summer, and less financial stress in general.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to commit to electronic bill payments – you can cancel them anytime if you find they don’t work for you.
4. Cancel any memberships you haven’t used yet this year, or aren’t enjoying to the fullest.
Maybe joining that cheese club seemed like a good idea at the time, but now you realize that it was a waste of money, and workouts (it’s ok, most of us have been there).
Take the time to cancel your least used (or least favourite) memberships. It will only take a few minutes to have a phone call, or write an email (or an old fashioned letter), and it will be well worth the time.
Also, don’t give into FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). You’re not going to miss out on anything by canceling your membership – depending on the membership, you may even get a credit or refund (goodbye financial burden, hello summer savings!).
5. Stop creating new debt!
Debt management 101: If you have a balance on your credit card that you haven’t paid off, stop adding more debt to your card. Give yourself a weekly cash allowance if you need to, and please, leave the plastic at home. You can also check out our blog post on How To Tidy Up Your Finances if you’re curious to learn simple ways to reduce your expenses and bring mindfulness to your spending.
Summer doesn’t have to be expensive. Clear your mind, prioritize your expenses, and enjoy the nice weather. What better time to start than today?