Summer is the season for socialising. From outdoor festivals and beer garden pints to sunny holidays, fun road trips, and spontaneous nights out. Worried all that summer socialising will gobble up your bank balance and make your hard-earned cash vanish quicker than you can say ‘beer garden happy hour’? Don’t fret. With a few smart hacks and some savvy swaps, you can save money this summer without sacrificing on fun.
Plan in advance
Ever heard the phrase ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’? Keep it in mind because it’s about to come in handy. First on the agenda? Set aside a summer-specific savings target and start putting away a few pounds here and there on a regular basis.
You’d be surprised how quickly throwing your spare change into a jar can make a difference, but if sticking with a new habit isn’t your strong suit, consider setting a reminder on your phone to stash some summer cash on a particular day of the week or even set up a standing order into a separate pot. You could also try teaming up with someone who can keep you accountable. Bonus points if you’ve got a shared goal like a holiday or festival tickets in mind.
Do you really want to go to that two-day festival your friend asked you to go to? Are you really fussed about going to your second cousin’s wedding? Be honest with yourself about the events you’d – truthfully - rather forgo. When you do, you’ll free up your budget for the events you’re really excited about.
For an accurate overview of your social commitments, grab a pencil and pop all your proposed plans onto a calendar (paper-based is best for this example). Make sure to get everything out on paper, from that hen party weekend with your pals to your family’s annual trip to the beach. Once you have everything written down, rub out the events you’re happy not to attend, and put an estimated spend under the rest. Doing this not only gives you a clear picture of what you have on — allowing you to make informed choices — it also gives you a realistic idea of how much you should budget. It’ll help you decide when an event is truly not to be missed and when you can safely stay home without FOMO.
Jetting off somewhere abroad and want to land a budget-friendly deal? First things first, if you can be flexible on your dates and suss out the cheapest time to fly. Here’s a handy hack: On some websites when searching for flights you can select the ‘whole month’ function which allows you to see the individual prices of every outbound flight departing that month, which means you can select one according to your budget.
For extra savings, consider booking out of peak season. Prices usually start to taper off from mid-September onwards but usually the weather remains sunny if you're planning on a hot holiday. Where accommodation is concerned, rental properties instead of hotels may be your best bet, especially if you can share the costs with a group of friends. Check out our other saving tips when it comes to holidays.
Plan lots of free fun
Who said you have to spend money to have fun? The great outdoors provides an abundance of opportunities to enjoy yourself while spending next to nothing – and summer is the perfect time to get out and about.
Stuck for ideas? A hike around a local beauty spot is cheap and cheerful. Likewise, planning a day at the beach can be easy on your wallet when you load up your car with plenty of drinks and homemade snacks. Even a picnic in the park can be a fun way to relax and catch up with friends. While you’re at it, keep your eyes peeled for free events in your area, be they cultural festivals, walking tours, concerts, or craft fairs. They’re sure to keep you busy and on budget.
Review your subscriptions
Hands up, who wants to be stuck indoors bingeing Netflix when it’s sunny outside? Or working out in a stuffy gym when you could be getting fresh air in your lungs with a jog ‘round the park? That’d be virtually none of us, right?
As the seasons change, so do our habits, so have a think about how you’ll be spending your time this sunny season and consider opting out of anything that no longer serves you. Many subscriptions have a ‘cancel at any time’ policy, so check your contract and, if the fine print allows, opt out and save yourself a few quid. Don’t panic: You can always subscribe again come cosy season.
The sun is shining and that can only mean one thing: eating outdoors is the new eating in. The good news? Outdoor dining doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag if you DIY.
Consider swapping a pricey café lunch for a delicious picnic or an alfresco spread in your backyard. Or organise a BBQ at home with friends and family instead of making reservations for dinner. If everyone brings something — like a salad or a serving of meat — you’ll save plenty of cash and have just as much fun.
Meanwhile, pre-drinks on the patio are an excellent substitute for the bar. Ask your friends to BYOB and make an evening of it at yours before hitting the town.
Summer is the time to soak up the sunshine and let your hair down with friends: not a time for financial stress and worry. When it comes to your budget, a little forward planning, smart swapping, and prioritising can go a long way.
Pass us the suncream!