I always think that I’ll spend less in the summer, but somehow, it’s always more expensive than I expect it to be. You’d think I’d learn from that. So, in my attempt to do just that, I’ve come up with some theories about why summer spending patterns are higher than expected.
Fresh Summer Food
Grocery budgets for foodies and regular eaters alike go up in the summer. It’s hard not to buy all those new fruits and veggies. Of course, some foods are available year-round due to global food imports, but foods that are in season in your region taste better because they’re not shipped as far. I recently switched to the farmer’s market to get even fresher food. Even though it’s usually a bit cheaper, too, I buy a lot more of it. I can’t resist the cherries, strawberries, nectarines, and peaches after months of living on citrus and apples. And so, my summer food budget goes up.
Summer Home Improvement Projects
In many regions, some DIY home improvement projects can only be done during the summer. Even if you can do them at other times of the year, summer seems to be the season of projects. Although these projects will improve the home and last a long time, they aren’t free. Paint, drapery, plants, etc., all cost money.
I don’t own a home, so my summer projects are limited, but I did get it into my head to make produce bags and slipcovers. Certainly, both are cheaper to make than to buy, but these aren’t expenses I factored into my original summer budget.
Yesterday I listed several free or nearly free summer cultural events, and I listed nine ways to entertain a couple weeks ago. Even if you do both, you’ll probably spend a little more than planned on party or picnic food. Dining out with friends is also more enticing during the summer. It’s hot inside: who wants to turn on the over or stand over a stove when outdoor cafes beckon?
Many people with children travel during the summer to avoid missing school. Hopefully you budgeted for your vacation, but you’ll probably need to buy a few unbudgeted things before you leave. Most people also spend a little more than anticipated while traveling.
To compound the problem, summer is the season of weddings, which means traveling to them (unless they’re local). This summer I have a wedding, bridal shower, and bachelorette party to attend. I’m not upset about that, but it is something that I had to work into the budget.
This summer we’re not taking a full vacation, but I do attend a conference every July, and that also adds to my spending.
The only way to curb your spending is to become more aware of what makes you go over budget and curb those habits, or budget for them by reducing spending in other areas.
Do you spend more in the summer, and if so, what makes you go over budget? Tell me in the comments.