With summer already half over, it's time for a financial health check-up. It's so easy to allow days to slip into weeks, and before you know it, September will be here. Set aside time this week to take an honest look at how your spending has been thus far, what you have coming up, what you'll need soon, and what you're going to do to make sure you're ready.
I have 9 summer spending tips to help you plan ahead, save some money, and have a plan for fall… all before the craziness of end-of-summer vacations and back-to-school time.
(1) Hit the grocery store and stock up. This is a good sale week for school and work lunch foods – especially at Meijer. Clean out the freezer, clear a shelf or two, and start your lunch stockpile.
(2) Get the family fun budget finalized. As you plan the rest of your summer – whether it's a vacation or other family fun activities – make sure you know exactly how much money you'll need and how much you've already set aside. Do you need to be more intentional these next few weeks to make sure your fun is fully funded? By being intentional to be fully financially ready, you avoid taking on any additional debt.
(3) Balance your bank accounts and pay your bills. Make sure your bank accounts haven't gotten out of control and that you haven't gotten behind on paying any bills. Then, look ahead if you are going on vacation in the next few weeks and schedule your bills to be paid automatically, or make another plan for ensuring your bills will be paid on time while you're gone.
(4) Intentionally go on a clothing hunt. Don't wait to hit the mall or department stores, online shops, and secondhand boutiques for the clothing you'll need for fall and winter. Shopping early not only gives you the opportunity to hunt for the best deals, it also gives you the chance to get the widest selection of clearance or limited bargains – before everything is picked over.
(5) Calculate your worth to keep spending reined in. Every time you consider a purchase, no matter how small, calculate how much it costs you in work time. Something may be only $3, but don't look at that as small or insignificant. Instead, think about how much time it takes you to earn that amount, and whether or not that thing you want to buy is worth time it takes to earn the money. You'll find yourself spending a lot less when you consider that one meal out is costing you 2-3 hours (or more!) of work time.
(6) Cherry-pick the best back-to-school supplies bargains. Don't allow this week to fly by without snagging the best school supplies of the week. In fact, I highly recommend you purchase the bargains each and every week from now until school begins (or until you've completed your needs list).
(7) Start a back-to-school list and plan. Along with beginning your hunt for clothing and cherry-picking the best bargains, it's time to figure out what else your students will need this year. Are they playing a sport again but will need equipment replaced? Will they be joining a new extracurricular group or learning an instrument? Don't wait to purchase the things you know they'll need. Summer is an excellent time to find gently used equipment or supplies or to comb over online deals and local coupons.
(8) Evaluate your monthly obligations to see if you can save anywhere before fall.Often people think more about their finances during the colder months. But right now is a perfect time to see if you can trim your monthly bills. Can you save on your cell phone bill? Are there services or memberships you're not using right now that you could put on hold? Have you evaluated your insurance pricing in the past year?
(9) Schedule fall maintenance to be done early. Annual maintenance you do each fall can be less expensive if it's scheduled earlier than you might have in the past. This is because companies that offer fall and winter services, like furnace companies or snow blower repair and maintenance, aren't as busy as they will be once it gets cold. And some companies, such as lawn and leaf businesses, might offer you a better deal if you contract with them early, rather than waiting until they have customers lining up.