Money·3 min read

7 Ways to Keep Your Summertime Spending in Check

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Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
April 27, 2023

Though prices are falling, you can still expect to spend a pretty penny on summertime staples. Like vacay flights and groceries for hosting a barbecue (thanks, inflation). But that doesn’t mean all the trips, weddings, and activities that come with the season have to drain your budget.  

How can I slow down summertime spending?

Start getting ready ASAP by spring cleaning your finances and reviewing your budget. If there’s not enough room for the summer costs you’re planning, make some more or start negotiating. Can you bring down some bills? Is there anything you can cut? Think: Buh-bye, cable. Hello, streaming service.

And once it’s summer?

Fun in the sun doesn’t always have to be expensive. Hint: Local fairs, festivals, and outdoor concerts are often low- or no-cost options.

Throw a backyard bash.

If you're up to DIY party decor, a summer bash can be a fun and frugal summer event. Think: a neighborhood potluck. 

Boost your budget by carpooling.

Carpooling to events with your friends can help you save money on gas. If you prefer driving, emptying your trunk is another way to cut gas costs.

Any ways to save on going to weddings?

Start with a spending limit for yourself to make sure you don’t go overboard. Or try creating a savings account just for wedding season

What do I do with the kids this summer?

You can find ways to save even when it comes to entertaining the kids. Like heading to a museum when entry is free for kids or playing a card game. There are plenty of budget-friendly kids’ activities everyone in the family will enjoy.

And when you need someone else to entertain your kids, prep your budget. If you have a dependent care flexible spending account through your employer, don’t forget you can use those funds for nannies, babysitters, and yep, even certain summer camp fees. As in, for day camps, but sorry, not sleepaway camps.

If you don’t have a dependent care FSA, consider signing up for one during your next open enrollment period. You can use it to set pretax money aside for covering childcare costs and save.

Wait. What about summer vacay? 

Traveling this summer is set to be expensive. That means creating a budget — and sticking to it — is going to be more important. Tip: You can cut travel costs if you can be flexible with your travel dates. Read: Do you really need to take that trip in the middle of July? Because lots of people avoid traveling right before school starts. And basic economic rules apply: low demand leads to lower prices. So waiting until August is another great way to save. Because timing is everything when it comes to traveling.


Summer fun doesn’t have to drain your wallet. And you shouldn’t skip the vacation, either. Because it helps with happiness, and you need to use that PTO. Instead, create a plan in advance and stick to it.

Updated April 27th to include information on flights and inflation.

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