Summer is supposed to be a chance to get away, add a little color to that sun-sheltered skin, enjoy the hot sun at the barbecue, and get some much needed rest and relaxation. Instead, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) reports that most Americans equate summer with financial anxiety. According to the AICPA survey, 6 in 10 U.S. adults said their financial tension during the summer matches or exceeds the stress they feel during the year-end holiday season. This is mainly because of the costs of summer, but there are some helpful tips that can be used right away to help summer stress melt away.
- Set the Budget Now – No one likes to hear the word budget, however, it’s absolutely critical to live, work and play within your financial means. Sit down and review the numbers to get an idea of how much you’re able to spend.
- Vacation Cash – How much cash can you save before your vacation if you work hard to eliminate unnecessary expenses and impulse purchases? Use the vacation as your motivation to cut spending and save as much cash as possible for your trip. It’s like the pre-vacation diet for your wallet.
- Avoid the Weekends – The weekend rush cuts into valuable vacation time and costs more. If you’re travelling for your golf game while the kids are going to the amusement park, remember that most courses and parks are less expensive mid-week. Same goes for flights, hotels and rental cars.
- Vacation Time vs. Travel Time – Nothing is more valuable than time. This has never been truer than when you’re on vacation. Spend time looking for new destinations or experiences that are close to your home. This strategy will give you more vacation time and lower your overall vacation costs.
- Home Rentals vs. Hotels – Many times, renting a vacation home is cheaper than a couple of hotel rooms to accommodate a family. If you regularly vacation with multiple families or several couples, this may be a very cost-effective option. A vacation home may provide a more relaxing experience than a busy hotel and allow you to stock-up on food and beverages at the local grocery store, for substantial savings on restaurant meals.
- Travel Discounts – Every industry, including tourism and travel, has been affected by the down economy. Spend time looking for the best deals on hotels, airfare, excursions, etc. Don’t be afraid to call up and ask for additional discounts from hotels and activities before booking them. Letting them know you’re shopping for the best deal and they’re competing for your business may reduce your rate significantly.
- Get Rid of the Clutter – It’s the perfect time of year to put up the garage sale signs and list the unwanted furniture on Craigslist. Make it a family event and encourage everyone to get rid of some unused possessions to help raise some quick vacation cash.
- The Value of a Moment – Often, the most memorable moments created with friends and family are from the simplest activities. Take a sunset walk on the beach, roast marshmallows over an open fire, enjoy the sunrise over the mountain. Use your imagination and remember that many times, the best moments are completely free.