By: Ada Muqqadus — Correspondent
Many people might see budgeting as something that keeps them from doing what they want or spending their money the way they want. “But that couldn’t be further from the truth! A budget doesn’t limit your freedom–it gives you freedom! It’s really all about being intentional with where your money goes,” said YouTuber Rachel Cruze.
Think of it like this: it’s not going to kill you, rather it helps you get you what you want and where you want to be. A budget gives you a plan and a clear frame of where your money is ending up each month. It can help achieve your goals.
Don’t overlook your budget this summer. Summer is a season where most of the spending happens. Susannah Snider, senior editor for financial advising says that “Summer is a minefield for wayward spending. Weddings, vacations, summer camps, and bored kids at home are all attempting to separate you from your money.”
One way you can save more is by simply “cutting the cord.” This is the time to start using Wi-FI streaming choices on different apps like HBO Max or Amazon. “Use Wi-Fi streaming options to find lower-cost entertainment on platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Or, better yet, use the warm summer temperatures as an excuse to get outside, go for walks, do yard work, and enjoy other television-free activities,” added Snider.
Find summer freebies as a new hobby. Binge around and just relax. “Summer is prime time for street festivals, outdoor concerts, craft fairs, and other community freebies,” said Snider.
Over time your sister or brother may collect junk and all you want is for it to go, well a good solution for that is having a garage sale. Sell all the things your sister or brother don’t use anymore and have a cleaner garage. “Throw open the windows and start decluttering the house. Resell any valuable or vintage items to a local second-hand shop or at a garage sale,” Snider said.
One thing I beg my sister to do is to go to the library at least once, and she never did. Visit your local library. Jonathan Stroud, a British novelist says that “your community library contains a wealth of free entertainment, from books to DVDs, kids programming and storytimes.”
Stop using your car more than you need to. You may love your car, but your car won’t love you back until you give it a rest. Ditch your car. “Not only is ditching the car healthy for you, but it will also save you money on gas and reduce the wear and tear on your vehicle,” Snider added.
Many people and families are planning a vacation after being cooped up for a year, and they should be thinking about how to budget for their vacation. “The last thing you want to do is put your vacation on a credit card (unless you’re collecting points and plan to repay it immediately). Make a spending plan for your vacation and promise not to go over the budget. Start saving now, if you haven’t already, so you have cash on hand when paying for your summer trip,” said Snider.
Stop taking out fast food joints and start eating fresh. Have a better lifestyle. You can do so by signing up for CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You can order fresh ingredients right to your door without having to go anywhere like Stop & Shop. “This will help avoid impulse purchases and temptation at the farmer’s market. If it seems like too much food, consider splitting the cost and the produce with a friend or a family member,” said Snider.
Consider FSA, Flexible Spending Account, for dependent children. This is very helpful and common in most workplaces. Jonathan Cagan, a professor at Mellon University says that “a flexible spending account for dependent care is typically offered through your workplace. Employees put pretax money aside for qualified child care expenses, which provides a tax break. Use those funds to pay for summer child care such as summer camp.”
Make sure to look into your tax credit. You can do this to see if there are any available dependent care expenses. “The child and dependent care tax credit is available to offset the costs of qualified child care services for dependents under age 13,” said Snider.
Consider trying out for a summer job as a part-time employee. You can earn more this summer by doing so. “Earn extra money this summer with a part-time job. Side hustles may include delivering groceries through an app, running errands on TaskRabbit, or house sitting and pet sitting for summer vacationers,” Snider said. You could be the useful one here this summer.
Go to more parks and playgrounds. You don’t have to go to a fancy theme park when there is a park right next door to you. “Ditch the pricey theme park for a more affordable state park, national park, or local campground. Pack activities, lunch and let the kids tire themselves out,” Snider said.
image from travelpulse.com