11 Surprising Ways Summer Can Blow Your Budget

Stephanie Booth | Jun 17, 2016 Money
11 Surprising Ways Summer Can Blow Your Budget

woman unhappy with empty piggy bank

School's out and you know what that means! Nope, not gloriously lazy days at the pool, poorly written beach reads you still can't put down, and Popsicles dripping over the back of your car/couch/hand. (Although all these things are TRUE.) Summer's also primo time for screwing up your finances.

Don't believe us? Click through to see the top reasons your checking account overheats during this time of year.



Image via lithian/Shutterstock; unsplash/Cameron Kirby

  • BBQs


    Image via VectorLifestylepic/Shutterstock

    "The standard food requirements for a barbecue with 10 guests includes up to four pounds of meat; one pound of vegetables; five six-packs of beer; four liters of soda; and about 20 pounds of ice," says consumer and money savings expert Andrea Woroch. Tasty? For sure. But spendy, too, so making your next backyard BBQ a BYO event, advises Woroch. "Have every guest bring a dish to share, something to grill or their favorite beverage."

  • Summer Clothes Shopping


    Image via Olesia Bilkei/Shutterstock

    Obvs you need to hit the mall to stock up on this summer's must-haves. (We mean you, espadrilles and aviator sunglasses!) To prevent sticker shock, shop at second-hand stores or hit lower-priced clothing stores like Target and Old Navy. "If you just can't suppress the siren song for a new summer staple, use coupons from CouponSherpa.com to offset your expense," Woroch says.

  • Sunscreen


    Image via Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

    Hey, all that SPF doesn't pay for itself. If you're using as much as you're supposed to -- i.e., a shot glass over your entire bod -- you're going to go through it FAST. "Generic sunscreen works just as well as the name brands," says Woroch. (But costs a lot less.)

  • Pool Toys


    Image via Jerric Ramos/Shutterstock

    Rafts. Kickboards. Wacky noodles. Beach balls. Inflatable whatnots. Those pool toys add up, sister. (Especially if you have forgetful kids who constantly leave 'em behind at the pool.) The least you can do is buy your pool accessories from a discount retailer. Stores like TJ Maxx and HomeGoods sell items for up to 60 percent off, Woroch says.

    More from CafeMom10 Things Women Have to Pay More For Than Men Do (PHOTOS)

  • Summer Camps


    Image via John Wollwerth/Shutterstock

    What lucky kiddo wouldn't want to go to horseback or tennis or sea kayak camp? "However, your budget may not have room for the average $271 to over $700 monthly camp expense," Woroch notes. A cheaper alternative? Pick up an America the Beautiful Pass from the National Parks Service. For $80, your family can visit over 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges and protected lands across the US.

  • Family Fun Parks


    Image via liewluck/Shutterstock

    A 1-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom? $105. Universal Studios? $102. Disneyland? $99. And that's per person, BTW. NOT per family. Some museums and zoos aren't a whole lot cheaper, so if you want to keep your kids entertained without breaking the bank, check out free or discounted summer activities in your area, Woroch says. Kids Bowl Free, for instance, is a nationwide program offering two free games each day over the summer.

  • Family Vacations


    Image via michaeljung/Shutterstock

    According to a 2013 survey conducted by American Express, the average family vacation costs a whopping $4,580. (If you just threw up in your mouth a little, you're not alone.) Save your bucks and pull off a staycation -- which can be made a lot less lame by truly exploring your hometown. "Research free events, walking trails, nature hikes, and art walks in your community," suggests Woroch.

  • Family Reunions


    Image via RonTech3000/Shutterstock

    "Depending on how far you're traveling, this could end up being a costly trip," says Woroch. Not that you should forego it, of course. But if you have a say in the matter, "make it part of your annual vacation by extending the trip a few days and exploring other attractions nearby," Woroch suggests.

    More from CafeMom: 15 Moms on Their Smartest Money Moves After Having Kids

  • Weddings


    Image via Shmeliova Natalia/Shutterstock

    If you received an invite to a summer wedding (or are in the bridal party), "get ready to spend anywhere from $600 to $1,400 on a single celebration," Woroch warns. You can slash some costs by sharing hotel with friends or family members or (gulp) wearing an outfit you already own.

    More from CafeMom: 'I Regret Spending So Much Money on My Wedding'

  • Patio Furniture


    Image via GUIDENOP/Shutterstock

    More sun = more time outdoors = hmmm, isn't it time to replace that sagging picnic table in the backyard? Yup, and that's how you drop a couple hundred -- or few THOUSAND -- bucks fast. "If you can hold off," advises Woroch, "the best deals come after the season ends in September.

  • Air Conditioning


    Image via anekoho/Shutterstock

    Wanna guess how much Americans spend on cooling costs every year? We'll just tell you. It's $11 BILLION. You can cut YOUR bill by looking for energy-suckers like duct leaks, dirty filters, and broken window seals. Then, "Consider investing in a programmable thermostat which learns your schedule and only operates the cooling system when someone's there to enjoy it," Woroch advises.

    More from CafeMom: 11 Money Saving Tips for Feeding Hungry Families on Vacation

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