Summer is here! While that may mean having some extra time to relax, your credit card may be working overtime. As the temperatures get warmer, consumers typically spend more on travel and leisure activities. The cost of beach vacations, trying new restaurants, and plane tickets tends to add up quickly. In a recent study that surveyed 1,000 Americans, summer was found to be the second most expensive season of the year. Over the summer, consumers spend an average of $2,229 as opposed to the less expensive spring months, when they only spend around $1,952.
How can we take back control before breaking the budget? The first step is to recognize it. Overspending is becoming more normalized as we continue to grow accustomed to inflation and the high price tags that go along with it.
The Wall Street Journal references a phenomenon known as “gradualism,” where the longer it takes to lower inflation, the less likely it is to happen, and the more likely our wallets are to adjust. This period of adjustment, while necessary in the short term, can be dangerous in the long term as it acclimates consumers to a prolonged period of overspending.
Another way to limit spending is to avoid summer “FOMO,” which translates to “fear of missing out.” The Motley Fool addressed this concept in 2019, describing how consumers spend more out of the fear of failing to capitalize on the freedom and activities associated with summer. Summer FOMO is still hard to avoid, but here are some tips to help keep summer spending in check while you continue to make the most of the next few months:
- Have a staycation! A staycation is a great way to spend time with family, explore their city, and save a few extra dollars.
- Host a potluck. Grocery bills tend to add up in the summer, so instead of hosting a cookout, potlucks are a great alternative so guests can bring dishes to share.
- Another way to combat grocery prices is to start an at-home vegetable garden! Not only will you save on produce, but you’ll have a fun family activity.
- Set a firm spending limit on your summer and stick to it. Research shows that people are more likely to overspend when making individual spending decisions. Don’t think of every vacation expense as a separate decision. Think of them as all components of the same expense.
While summer fun can get the best of our finances, a little money mindfulness—and discipline—can help you and your family make the most of this season of spending.
 Brown, M (2023). A Study of Seasonal Expenses: Do We Spend More During the Summer?, LendEDU
 Ip, G. (2023). We May Be Getting Used to High Inflation, and That’s Bad News, Wall Street Journal
 Kline, D (2019). Got FOMO? Americans Spend More in Summer, The Motley Fool.