Sweet summertime has rolled around, and with all this nice weather, you’ll notice I have not posted in a little while. In the coming weeks many other universities will let loose thousands of young people ready to pack as much fun as they can into the next three months. With this will come increased spending, a phenomenon that seems to occur in many people during the warm summer months. Working people are not immune to this, as summer often means increased vacations, travel, and cookouts!
If you happen to live in place that is warm year round, your spending habits may not change. For everyone else, you may be wondering, how do I combat this increased spending? The answer is that you don’t. Frugality is a habit that becomes built right into you, it is not something to turn on and off at different times of the year. Every monetary decision you make is met with the same careful thought once you understand the true value of your time.
As long as you are keeping your long-term goals in mind, your spending will fall in line with your happiness. For example, you may experience more dollar employees flying out of your wallet on the boardwalk during a beach vacation than you would hanging out around your house on a snowy winter day. If you are like me and financial independence is important to you, then the warm summer weather will not encourage you to do anything that would threaten those long-term plans. Summer vacation is a good time to practice hitting that magic balance between living in the moment and planning for the future.
And like I said, if you have the proper motivation to save, you will save. There are many ways to enjoy time off, not all of them involve five-star hotels or jet ski rentals. If you are planning some vacation time, I would suggest living like a local instead of a tourist. Not only will you avoid wasting weeks of your time to a mandatory working career, you will likely find you enjoy your vacation more. We spend so much of our normal everyday lives cramming as much as we can into the day. Remember that vacation is about slowing down, so no need to fill every minute with shows, fancy dinners and putt putt golf. Make a point to spend some of your time away doing absolutely nothing, the savings will put you on an endless vacation sooner, and besides, you deserve a real break.
I myself am getting ready to embark on a week-long road trip with two friends of mine to the grand canyon. For many people this is at least a thousand dollar trip. With hotels, tours and dinners, it is easy for any form of travel to seem like it is only for the rich. My two friends and I will be completing this trip for a grand total of $200. How, well, with a little bit of hypermiling and keeping a good food stash, $200 will cover all of our gas and food (split three ways). We will be stopping in Oklahoma city to stay with friends, as well as Albuquerque, New Mexico, where we will explore the sites where Breaking Bad was filmed. Finally, we will be camping out at the Grand Canyon and hiking the trails. I may even nab some bikes off Craigslist for us to ride around the northern canyon trails in Utah, then sell them for a profit on our long bleary eyed drive home.
How much you spend on summer vacation does not depend so much on what you do or where you go, but rather what your mindset is. By living like a local, many places are suddenly open for exploration.
Fun things do not have to be put off in order to keep long-term savings goals in view. The only thing that must be kept in mind is that you are not allocating a penny to anything that does not contribute to an efficient and happy lifestyle.