Spring is finally starting to show up in much of the country and while spring is definitely something to be celebrated, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.
Some of us on the Financial Conversation Podcast are spring allergy sufferers, which is something we are not excited about. Another thing about spring that’s not always good is that the warm weather also presents new spending temptations.
Here are 4 common spring spending temptations we’ve faced, and how you can avoid them in your own budget.
Without a doubt, one of my biggest spring spending temptations is new clothes. After a dreary winter full of black, gray, and other dark colors, I’m always excited to see the new lighter colors hit the stores in spring. As much as love fashion all year round, spring is when I’m most tempted to purchase new clothes.
Now that I’ve learned this about myself, I try to combat it by avoiding the temptations found in the shopping mall. I avoid going to the mall unless it’s absolutely necessary during this time of year. Even still, online shopping can be a temptation too. Another part of my strategy to avoid overspending my budget is budgeting extra for this spring spending temptation.
It might sound like I’m “giving up” on controlling my spring spending temptation, but at least by making it part of my budget I’m recognizing that I’m not perfect and I’ve saved up for these purchase so I don’t have to derail other savings goals to make up for extra spending.
I think the biggest spring spending temptation for me is all the endless possibilities of entertainment. Outdoor concerts, bars, coffee shops, cafes – anywhere there’s food, music, or beverages and an outdoor atmosphere, basically! Now that the warmer weather is here, I feel myself getting cabin fever if I don’t get out, and getting out for most people typically involves spending money.
It doesn’t have to, though. One of my favorite things to do with friends is gather around a bonfire at night and talk. Sometimes we’ll play games like Werewolf, other times we’ll just relax after a day at the beach. Outdoor parties can be had potluck-style with people bringing a bunch of different snacks and appetizers for lighter fare.
It’s likely that there are also a ton of events that are happening for free in your town, like arts and craft fairs, concerts in parks, festivals, etc. Worse comes to worse, gather your friends or family up and have a picnic somewhere! When it comes to having fun, I always say the people you spend your time with matter more than what you’re actually doing.
My family doesn’t do much traveling throughout the year, but when the weather starts to warm up we love to take small day trips and maybe even a modest vacation. Travel is expensive no matter how you look at it, but the key to avoiding the temptation to travel during the spring and summer is best when I prioritize my goals for my finances. I would recommend this for anyone who seems to have been bitten by the travel bug.
Last year I decided to take a week off work and do a staycation during my son’s spring break instead of booking a vacation because it was the right thing to do financially since I was still paying down high interest debt. It’s important to allow yourself enough time to relax and regroup and seeing other places is nice, but you can do it on a budget.
Another way to avoid spending a ton of money on travel this spring is try a road trip or day trip to attractions at a nearby town or use credit card reward points to book a few nights out of town.
It’s common to be temped to spend money on dining out year-round, but when spring and summer hits, people want to go out more and that often leads to eating out more. Maybe you like to plan lunch or dinner dates to catch up with friends, or maybe you’re out enjoying weather with your family and decide to dine out since you’re already out. Regardless of the reason, spending inflation on dining out can creep up on anyone during this time of year.
One of the best ways to combat this temptation to spend on pricey restaurant food is to eat well before you go out and bring snacks with you – especially if you have kids. You can also stick to your budget for dining out by storing coupons in your car and taking advantage of weekly deals and specials at your favorite restaurant. Groupon is a great app to download on your phone to help you score coupons and deals on dining out at popular restaurants in your area.