As we spring into Summer, each and every one us gets
enthusiastic and creative about our ideas for increasing our
fun while it is warm.
The days start earlier and end later. Our warm weather reality
is that we are all more active and excited about life in the
spring and summer. I mean, which of us doesn’t welcome the
opportunity for activities with family and friends? Compound our newfound exuberance with our ability to toss away the cares associated with our children’s academics, the daily schedule of homework and after school activities, along with our personal need for a reprieve from our careers and we have a perfect warm weather financial storm.
What Is The Cost Of Your Summer Dreams?
Have you ever truly looked at what happens to you financially in the summer? The average family’s summer includes:
- Kids Summer Camp
- One Major Trip
- One Major Extended Family Outing
- Two Theme Park Trips
- Kids Summer Clothes
- An Increase in Movie Trips
- An Increase In Dinning Out and/or Grocery Purchases
Sounds exciting!!! However, the idea that fun is free is rarely the case. It is May and you are probably just recovering from your holiday spending and the stress of tax season. School is almost out and now we are thinking about the time we want to spend away from work, along with the unexpected times we may have to be away, now that the kids are home. My number one question to you is “What is your vacation allotment?” Depending on your vocation, you may not receive vacation pay or you may have had to use your vacation days for family emergencies. Whatever the case, vacations and summer activities should be in your forethought, planned very carefully and pre-funded.
I know what you are thinking; you already know how to plan for your summer trips, family outings and extra summer spending right? I believe that you do, I mean who doesn’t know who to create a list of expenses for the activities they have planned for the summer!?! The problem is we know what the task is, what it means to us when we do it, but we don’t execute! So let’s take a serious look at planning and financing your summer.
This first and most obvious step is to identify the activities and events that you want to include on the calendar over the next three months. From theme parks to Grandma’s house, you will need to include anything that is not considered a part of your monthly core bills or personal spending.
What is the cost of each summer event? Just like your regular household budget, knowing the expense of your planned summer activities is half the battle. When creating your budget include total activity costs, dining, spending, travel cost, time away from work, and any other special needs that you may think of. Subtract any prepaid funds that can be applied to each summer activity. For example, down payments, money that you may have saved in your vacation club at work or your credit union and gift certificates.
- CREATE YOUR SAVINGS CALENDAR
Now that we know our plan and how much it will cost, it is time to start setting aside the money that is needed. The key to this is to match your money to the time frame that you will need the money. That means we need to look at the calendar!
Start by posting all of your planned activities into the calendar. Look at the remaining balance due for each activity (what your budget says you need) and divide that by the time frame of the funds needed per event. For this we will take a look at Family X.
|7||8 Camp Courageous||9||10||11||12||13|
|14||15||16||17||18||19 Water World||20|
Camp clothes $100
Lunches $5/day $75
Sitter(Pickup until a parent gets home) $450
Staying at Gma’s one week (no sitter) -$150
Camp Total $725
Ferry Tickets- 2 adults, 2 children, 1 car $64
Groceries for cottage $50
Dining Out $100
Park tickets and attractions $200
Water World Total $404
So if this is May 1st and Family X knows they have to pay for Camp Courageous and a trip to Waterworld in June, the Calendar will show then that they have five (5) weeks or to put aside the extra money to pay for camp and seven (7) weeks for the trip.
$725/5= $145 $404/7= $57.71 (round up to $58)
Family X would need to save $145 a week to pay for camp and $58 a week for the trip for a total of $203 a week. Depending on their pay periods they would need to set aside these funds from their discretionary income (the money left over after paying monthly core bills and spending).
$203 a week can be an overwhelming amount of money depending on the income and size of your family. Looking at Family X’s June calendar we’ve only dealt with one child’s activity and one trip. There is a lot more summer and other activities, outings and trips to fill it! We have not even begun to factor them all into Family X’s calendar.
Plan Plan Plan
Summer fun funding is regularly overlooked. This calendar is scarce in comparison to our own real lives. That is why it is important to start your planning early. The reality is that when you properly handle your summer planning you can make each summer an extremely fun time. Strategically map out every detail and keep to your plan, your family and your finances will thank you.
To have Smart Money Management help you with Vacation Planning your summer expenses vs. income, just click here