In the UK, the summer is highly anticipated after months of rain, cold weather and wind. But while the sun brings smiles and outside freedom, it can also bring a strain to our finances. With extra barbecues, pub garden visits and holidays, summer is rarely cheap – and you may have already started to feel the effect. But just because summer tends to be more expensive than the short days of winter, it doesn’t mean you can’t still save effectively.
The key to saving well is saving within your means. It can be tempting to transfer almost all of your income into your savings account after you get paid. But this rarely helps you manage your money because you end up transferring most of it back into your current account as your balance runs low throughout the month. In order to manage your finances and save money competently, you have to adjust your budget from month to month and make exceptions for times when your expenditure increases. Christmas often brings financial difficulties, but it’s only a few days of celebration. A good UK summer can stretch from May to September, but even in poor weather, many could still make use of saving hacks for school holidays to manage their finances throughout a financially challenging six weeks.
When dealing with your finances, it can be easy to fall into a repetitive rut with how you spend your money. While this can help you stay on track and make the task of managing money easier, it becomes flawed when you experience changes in your day to day lifestyle and in those months where your expenditure is naturally increased. For example, if you set your budget in the height of summer, you probably won’t have factored in the increased costs of heating during winter. This can cause temporary cashflow shortfall when your energy bill comes in significantly higher than the previous months.
At times you may find yourself looking for an instant loan, however there may be another way to budget for your spending.
During summer, it’s often not our priority bills that increase, but leisure spending. There’s nothing wrong with spending more throughout the summer – as long as you are still living within your means – but you might have to make some budget adjustments. If you’re eating out or going to friends’ barbecues, your grocery shop won’t need to be as high, but you will need more disposable income. You may even want to consider reducing the amount you put into savings to allow for your increased expenditure. It might feel counterproductive at first, but it’s better to save a little less from time to time than to use credit which accrues interest instead. You can always make up the difference in months where your expenditure is much less, or your income is higher than normal.
Another issue people commonly face when setting up saving targets is aiming too high. While you should never underestimate your potential, having a saving goal which feels unattainable from the start can demotivate you. If you’ve already started on your savings journey, make alterations for months you typically spend more. For example, if you have a month with a particularly high number of birthdays, or if you go on holiday every June. It will be harder to save the same amount in these months so by decreasing your goal for that month, you can reduce your stress levels both mentally and financially. Being flexible when it comes to saving (and budgeting in general) can be hugely advantageous.
While it’s acknowledged that spending more over summer isn’t unusual, this doesn’t mean you should give in to every spending temptation. It can be easy to get carried away so it’s important you try to stick to your budget where possible and don’t make any decisions that lead to unnecessary spending. If it’s not in your budget or financially plausible to go away for a last-minute weekend trip, then don’t stunt your finances to do so. Managing money requires willpower and rationality, which unfortunately means sometimes turning down exciting plans, so we don’t fall into financial difficulty. Ultimately, your priority bills and essential expenditure has to come first. Try to make adjustments to accommodate last minute plans or extra social activities, but don’t risk arrears or debt to do so.
While summer can be a financial challenge, there are simple ways to manage the increased expenditure and day to day changes. Successful money management takes time and practice, and it’s important you are flexible and realistic in your goals so that you can achieve them without losing motivation.
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