Time for a midyear check-in! How well are you sticking to your monthly budget and savings goals for the year? Summer is a fun season, but it can also make it tricky to stay on budget with vacations, kids out of school, and other spontaneous outdoor activities. Now’s the perfect time to reassess your spending habits, and brainstorm new ways to stay on budget. Your checking account will thank you.
Using Cash Instead of Credit Cards
There are a lot of advantages to credit cards. They’re convenient, and you can earn great rewards. However, using credit cards can lead to overspending if you’re not vigilant. There are so many fun events during summer, and after months of hibernation, you want to get out there and enjoy yourself. If you’re planning to go out, consider bringing along cash. This allows you to set a spending limit right up front, and helps you avoid any impulse buys.
Keeping Track of Expenses
This is something you should be doing year-round! But now that you’re taking stock of your budget, it’s also time to take stock of your habits. After a few months, it’s easy to be “out of sight, out of mind“ when it comes to your spending. Thankfully, with checking account features like online or mobile banking, it’s easier than ever to keep an eye on your spending. Consider using a mobile feature like Quick Balance to keep a regular eye on your checking account, and review your account history each month to identify areas where you’ve overspent against your budget.
Reexamining Monthly Subscriptions You Aren’t Using
Cord-cutting is all the rage these days! You get rid of an unused cable subscription for one or more streaming services. But do you have other monthly charges that aren’t benefitting you in any way? Maybe it’s a magazine subscription that you don’t get the time to read, or a gym membership that you never take advantage of. Summer might be the perfect time to put a pause on a charge like a gym membership, since you can exercise outside instead. If you trim expenses, you’ll also have more wiggle room for all of the fun stuff you’d rather be doing.
Revise to a More Realistic Budget
At the start of the year, it’s easy to be overly aspirational when making your budget. How are you doing 6 months in? If you’re struggling or missing your spending goals regularly each month, the budget you made might not actually be all that realistic. Take the time to sit down with your current budget, and revise as necessary to better match your needs.
Take Advantage of Fun, Free Activities
Have a great time with no financial consequences! One of the great things about summer is the number of free events available. Check out your city’s parks and recreation department or tourism bureau for a list of free concerts, festivals and art shows to take advantage of – while still having an enviable Instagram feed.
Reward Yourself For Staying on Track
Sticking to a budget is hard. One of the ways to inspire yourself to stick with it? Give yourself a reward here and there! While you shouldn’t go overboard, the occasional splurge will help you stay on track and continue to crush your spending goals for the rest of the year.