Summer is two months away — Monday, June 20, making a Monday worthwhile for once — and there are some summer expenses worth preparing early for.
Two months isn't that long in a financial life, so hopefully you've already done some advance planning by saving for some of summer's expenses early. Here are six:
Whether you plan a summer vacation six months early or a few weeks early, now is the time to start saving and even paying for it.
Other than returning to work after a summer vacation, there's nothing worse than coming back to a bunch of bills from your vacation that you now have to pay for. A credit card bill can be a bigger headache.
Depending on where you're going, making early reservations can help you get the best prices. You can pay for some of it ahead of time and try to save as much of the cost ahead of the trip.
For example, my family is going on two short in-state vacations this summer, mainly due to extra expenses this year for a bathroom remodel. We're using credit card reward points for two hotel night stays, and are renting a home for part of each trip. For the home rentals, I've already paid deposits for the reservations and plan to pull money from our vacation fund to pay for the rest.
Planes, trains and automobiles
The same vacation savings account for your summer expenses can be used for how you get to your destination and how you get around while there.
Even if you won't need a rental car during a summer vacation, you may still need money for other transportation such as Lyft and Uber, or a maybe a bike rental. Make airline reservations now for your trip for the best prices.
Of all of the summer expenses, this may be the smallest. But it's worth considering in your grocery budget.
Most summer fruit isn't expensive, but there's so much available that even the low cost of buying what's in-season can add up.
We go to a local farmer's market each week, and during the summer there's so much great fruit available that we buy a lot. Some things are more expensive than others, such as berries and cherries because they're labor-intensive to pick, so I try to limit those.
The end of summer may be the best time to get deals on things you need or want during summer — towels, swimsuits, patio furniture, and shorts and sandals. But spring, I've discovered, is also a great time to find some deals. Why wait until the end of summer if you'll need these things soon?
Costco, for example, has already gotten a jump on the summer selling season and has lots of gardening supplies at good prices. We recently bought a swimsuit there for $12.
We're shopping for a gigantic umbrella for our back yard, and within the past month we've found sales at Costco, Home Depot, Restoration Hardware and Bed Bath & Beyond for patio furniture, umbrellas and other summer supplies.
Small summer expenses
Some small summer expenses will likely pop up, and while they probably won't bust your summer budget, planning for them now can make them a lot easier to deal with instead of just plopping them on your credit card.
Sunscreen, sunglasses, drinks, ice, flipflops (to replace the ones you somehow lost), Internet fees at hotels, high gas prices and movie tickets to see the summer blockbusters all add up.
Set aside $20 a week or so in a summer slush fund to pay for these, and by summer you'll have $160 or more to pay for such incidentals in cash.
From a day out at a nearby city you haven't explored much to an annual pass at a local waterpark or amusement park, now is the time to save for these daytrips or pay for them outright.
Summer or annual passes to waterparks, for example, may already be on sale for low prices you won't see the rest of the year. Costco also has deals on these passes, or at least throws in an extra such as a step up in pass benefits.
What are the summer expenses you're planning for now? Is it too early to plan for summer fun?