Want to get in good financial shape for summer? Take a look at these easy tips to help you save for fun in the sun.
Thankfully, the sunny summer months are nearly upon us. Bright blue skies, long hazy days and warm evenings are on the horizon… We can almost smell the barbecue now!
Many of us like to take advantage of the summer sunshine, enjoying days out, trips abroad or simply sipping a cold drink in the local beer garden. But this comes at a price.
In fact, research suggests that Brits’ spending spikes in summer, with 57% of people typically forking out £154 extra each month. So, as much as fun in the sun can fill us with joy, it can also be a bit of a drain on our bank account.
If you’re feeling the pressure to strengthen your finances for summer, worry no more. Just follow our five ways to get financially sorted in time to soak up the rays.
1. Create a budget
One of the best ways to become financially stable is to set a realistic monthly budget. This will help you manage your fixed outgoings, save money and reduce frivolous spending. If you’re wondering how to make a budget that works for you without spending hours each month crunching numbers, it really is simple.
Start with your monthly income. Subtract your fixed outgoings such as household bills, car finance payments and mobile phone contract. This will leave you with the amount you have left each month. No matter how little or large this number is, it will allow you to figure out how much you can realistically save or spend.
2. Ditch your debt
Many of us use credit to pay for essentials, whether that’s using credit cards, loans, overdrafts or store cards.
While these can make big purchases much more achievable, it can also lead to multiple debts with multiple lenders. This can be hard to keep on top of and lead to confusion about how much you owe to which company. If this sounds familiar, then it may be worth consolidating your existing debts.
This usually involves taking out a personal loan to repay everything you owe. It moves all your current debts into one loan, so you make one payment per month and have one interest rate to keep track of.
Not only does this make your repayments more manageable, it can also boost your credit rating by showing that you are effectively managing your finances.
3. Learn to save
The key to a happy and healthy bank balance is saving. There are lots of easy ways to save money that you can adopt in preparation for the summer season. For starters, try to avoid splashing your cash on things you don’t really need, like a new pair of shoes or a posh coffee every morning.
Just think, a £3 morning coffee habit, five times a week, will be cutting into your bank balance by £60 per month. That’s around £720 you could save each year!
If you struggle to save, consider creating an automatic savings plan. This involves setting up a direct debit or standing order that automatically takes a set amount of cash from your current account and puts it in a savings account each month.
4. Understand your finances
The path to well-managed finances involves understanding. By knowing exactly how much money is coming out of your account and where it’s going, you can figure out if there are any costs you can cut. For instance, are you signed up to Netflix or Now TV? Will you be using them over the summer months? If not, it might be time to cancel to boost your bank balance.
It’s also important to track your spending to see if you’re being accidentally overcharged for a subscription or service. Last year, around “four million people [were] charged for mobile phones they already own, spending £500m extra on contracts”, according to Citizens Advice.
Keeping on top of outgoings could be the difference between affording a sun-drenched weekend away or a rainy daytrip in the UK, so it’s definitely worth it!
5. Purse-friendly activities
Want your finances to thrive rather than dive this summer? Then opt for purse-friendly activities instead of splashing the cash on full price tickets.
Many of us are quick to accept paying the top price for days out, whether we’re heading to the zoo, a theme park or any other family-friendly activity. But there are loads of discount days out to take advantage of, including family offers, 2 for 1 deals and free activities across the country.
Money Saving Expert offers tips and tricks for getting cheap days out this summer, including how to get 2 for 1 Legoland, Alton Towers and Thorpe Park tickets. Plus, there are lots of free kids’ activities to choose from, such as McDonalds’ free football sessions, Apple’s summer camps and weekly park runs. Fun doesn’t have to cost a fortune!
Getting to a point where you feel in a strong and stable financial position isn’t always easy. But by taking these simple steps, you’ll see your finances flourish before the warm weather arrives.
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