July is full of summer fun. No more school, Fourth of July, and lots of great weather. So what does that mean for your budget? It probably means a lot of challenges. Here are a few unexpected July costs and how you can manage your budget to avoid personal credit card debt.
Avoiding Credit Card Debt- Predicting Unexpected July Costs
Summertime offers a lot of free activities while also tempting us to spend a lot of money on fun. Even the thrifty ideas add up quickly. Here are three unexpected July costs and ways to save money as you plan for the month ahead.
Amusement Park Tickets & Expenses
A whole day of fun for $20-50 seems like a pretty good deal. And it is! however, that does not include food, drinks, gear, locker rentals and any other essential purchases. You have to add a big buffer as you estimate the costs of a trip to the amusement park. If you are trying to manage credit card debt, it’s essential to have a realistic idea of the total cost.
Therefore, you are going to have to find ways to save money to make this work. Lots of parks allow you to bring your own food. There might be designated areas to eat or you might need to tailgate. Bring empty water bottles to fill at water fountains. Try to remember sun tan lotion and the like. Finally, tell the kids there are no hats, shirts or toys coming home. Everyone should understand the expectations.
Extra Ice Cream Treats
July is hot. You, me and everyone you know are probably eating some cold treats. Popsicles, ice cream, Italian ice, custard… the list goes on and on. When the ice cream truck comes by, it’s hard to say no. How do you pay for it all?
Try and set an actual line item in the budget or increase your dining out category. Next, look into making your own treats. Between ice cream makers and simple popsicle molds, frozen treats are super easy to tackle. This can save a lot of money. Don’t forget to pick up that 100 count box of popsicles. That will last a long time and is super cheap! Not the healthiest, but we all need a little fun, right?
Baby Gear: Pools, Strollers and Toys
Finally, as babies and kids get older, you need to change up the toys. The same is true for the seasons. You may need a new stroller for both kids or something to get through park paths. Check out yard sales, Facebook Marketplace and other local consignment options.
Summer toys look a lot different that winter ones. Or do they?!
Basically, kids want to get dirty and they want to play in water. Buying a simple kiddy pool, or a somewhat larger one for older kids, is a great inexpensive way to stay cool. You can use this most days rather than paying to go to a public pool.
Buy a bag of dirt or sand to make them a mud kitchen. Use containers you would be recycling, old pie tins and other simple utensils to give the kids hours of fun for hardly any money.
Remember these unexpected July costs and stay on top of managing debt by preparing your budget every month.
For more financial education resources, visit consumercredit.com or call one of ACCC’s certified credit counselors at 800-769-3571.