How to Budget for Summer 2020

How to Budget for Summer 2020

By Jacqui Kearns

Back in January, you could never have imagined that Summer 2020 would be like this. The COVID-19 crisis continues throughout the U.S. – even if it’s waned in some parts of the country – and the economy is only slowly reopening. Consequently, millions of families are spending what is normally a season of fun and frivolity with much-diminished savings and backlogged expenses. But all is not lost! Here’s how to budget this Summer in a few non-burdensome and totally fun ways.

tablet and hat

1. Take a "staycation." One of the biggest let-downs of Summer 2020 might be that you can’t afford to take the usual family vacation, both because of strained finances and ongoing travel restrictions (such as mandated quarantines1 for out-of-state visitors). Travelling on airplanes and staying in hotels may also be an unappealing option right now, due to the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus. But now is a good time to follow long-standing personal finance advice and instead take a “staycation,” meaning a trip close to home rather than to an exotic locale. There might be an interesting place in your state, county or even your town that you’ve heard about or passed by while driving to work, but never took the time to explore. If you can’t think of any off the top of the head, do a quick Google search on the best staycation destinations in your state. Alternatively, you can take a week off from work and just hang out around the house. Investing in some new outdoor furniture costs a lot less than plane tickets to the Caribbean!

2. Opt for free activities. Though Summer has the potential for scorching heatwaves, generally it’s a good time of year for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, biking and kayaking. Your family might already enjoy these types of recreation, but if not, it’s a good time to start since these activities are mostly free. Instead of going out to eat at a restaurant, to the movies or to the stores, go hiking for the day and bring a picnic lunch. You’ll be budgeting and having great, healthy outdoor fun at the same time!

3. Grow your own food. The COVID-19 crisis has led to an uptick in the cost2 of many essential foods, and experts say those high prices are here to stay. This can strain families’ already delicate budgets, but there is a partial solution to high grocery costs: growing your own food. Since Summer offers warm weather and plenty of sunlight, this year may be a great time to take up gardening. You can plant vegetables, investing in seeds and gardening equipment, and substitute homegrown food for costlier items from the grocery store. You can grow food even if you don’t have a yard; go to your local gardening center and buy window boxes3, placing them wherever they will get the appropriate amount of sunlight. Gardening could have the additional payoff of your family eating healthier, and can also be another fun, free activity like those described above.

4. (Responsibly) utilize cash back rewards: Of course, you probably will decide to splurge at some point this Summer, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But when you do, make sure you maximize your savings through cash back reward credit cards that allow you to earn while you spend. Make use of these cards if you already have them. If you don’t have one, you can find out more about Affinity’s Cash Rewards Visa® Signature Credit Card here. But just remember that spending so much money that you can’t afford to pay off your card for the month can result in your interest payment outweighing your reward. So, as always, spend responsibly!

We at Affinity Federal Credit Union wish you a happy and safe Summer 2020. And don’t let your financial situation get you down; budgeting can save the day!

                                                   

For additional information and updates from Affinity about COVID-19, please visit https://www.affinityfcu.com/banking/we're-here-for-you.aspx

This information is for informational purposes only and is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice. Each person’s circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, and/or legal counsel to discuss your specific needs before making any financial or other commitments regarding the matters related to your condition are made.  

1 Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/24/us/new-york-coronavirus-travel-restriction/index.html

2 Retrieved from https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/us-food-prices-historic-jump-stay-high-70969164

3 Retrieved from https://www.bhg.com/gardening/container/plant-edible-window-box/