Summer is the perfect time to relax — but that doesn't mean you should get lax with your budget, especially because there are some extra expenses that pop up during the warmer months. Here are 15 expenses you'll want to think of as you get your budget ready for the summer.
Your place doesn't have to feel like a meat locker, but you'll be boosting the air-conditioning to beat the heat. That said, here are a few ways to lower your AC bill during the summer.
2. Travel fees
There are a lot of different fees you encounter when you're traveling that you wouldn't otherwise, like checked baggage fees, skycap or even mobile data fees when you're out of range. These are all things to think through ahead of time (and some may even be travel fees you don't need to pay).
3. Banking fees
While we're talking fees, let's mention ATM fees and foreign transaction fees. If you travel somewhere where your bank doesn't have ATMs and you need to get cash, you may get hit with a fee. If your credit card doesn't waive foreign transaction fees, you'll want to build that expense into your budget.
You can skip a lot of fees, though. Here are 14 fees you should never pay — and how to avoid them.
Yes, I know we're supposed to be using sunscreen on the daily, but the amount you use goes up in the summer. The good news is some FSAs will cover sunscreen as long as it's SPF 15 or greater, so check with your provider to see if you're eligible.
5. Bug spray
6. Barbecue supplies
From propane or charcoal to cleaning brushes, you'll certainly boost your use of the grill during the summer.
Genius tip: Instead of buying a new set of outdoor cooking tools, see what multi-purpose items you already have in your kitchen.
7. Yard care
Flowers, veggie gardens, lawn and tree care ... all sorts of yard work comes with the warmer temps. Plus, everything will need to be watered, boosting your water bill.
Genius tip: If you need to have a landscaper come in, be sure to get several estimates so you don't overpay. Vet companies online, too, so you know their track record.
Packing up and heading out on a road trip will mean you're boosting the miles on your car, as well as your fuel bill. (A good gas credit card could at least help you net rewards on filling your tank.) Plus, when you're on the road, you'll probably spend more on ...
9. Convenience store stops
Chips, drinks and other road trip essentials aren't usually taking up a line item on your budget. But who can have a road trip without 'em?
Genius tip: Stock up on supplies from the grocery store before heading out. They'll likely be less straining on your budget than gas station items.
While we're talking driving, once you get to your destination, you'll need to leave your car somewhere and that can be costly. Some hotels offer free parking to guests, while others don't, so this may be a factor in choosing where you stay.
11. Car rental insurance
If you're renting a car when you get to your destination, you'll want auto insurance. That said, it's a good idea to check ahead of time to see if you already have coverage, as your personal insurance policy or even your credit card often covers you.
12. Activities for the kids
The kids will need things to do during the day when they're out of school but also when you're traveling. Every summer, my Mom had new travel games or books for me for the long car rides to the lake. Whether you're driving or flying, you'll probably wind up buying something for the kids to do while traveling.
13. Beach rentals
Many resorts or beaches offer umbrellas, chairs or cabanas for a fee. The fee is usually pretty reasonable, and worth it if you can't bring your own supplies, whether because you're coming from far away or because the resort won't allow it. Be sure to ask what the charge is, though, so you can compare apples to apples when deciding what hotel provides the best value.
Being away from home often means going to restaurants or getting delivery and, unless you're going to a Danny Meyer style restaurant, you'll need to add in a tip. Also think about tips for maid services in hotel rooms and cruise ship gratuities when setting your vacation budget.
Goodbye, boots and sweaters. Hello, flip flops and tank tops! Stick to the essentials and comparison-shop for must-have apparel so you don't overspend.
Not everything you do during the season will cost more. In fact, here are 50 things you can get for free this summer.