With the freedom of summer just around the corner, many of us are counting down the days until we get to have our fun in the sun. Your day dreams may be filled with beachside picnics, poolside resorts, or even just some time away from the office, but the season is full of harsh realities that can ground your flights of fancy. Between the rising cost of utilities and our children’s day care, there are a lot of hidden fees associated with the supposedly carefree season, and these extra costs can burn you as bad as the sun.
The Cost of Gas Rises With The Mercury
We’re used to gas prices fluctuating at any time of the year, but you’ll notice how they seem to peak during the summer months. This is bad news for anyone who’s scheduled a road trip this year, as you’ll roll up to the pumps only to find the price per gallon is a lot higher than you were expecting.
There are a couple of reasons why we have to pay more at the pumps. For one thing, demand is naturally higher thanks to more Americans travelling during these months.
It also has to do with the type of gasoline that’s sold during the hotter months. The blend of fuel has to be tweaked according to the climate and time of year because temperatures and humidity levels affect its ability to evaporate. Summer blended gasoline has a different balance of low vapor compounds and hydrocarbon so that it functions properly in the heat. It just so happens that these low vapor compounds are more expensive to create than their wintertime alternatives.
To find some relief from these prices, download the GasBuddy app, which helps you locate the cheapest station in your area.
Air Conditioning Can Wrack up Bills
Just because your heater’s been turned off for months doesn’t mean you get off scot free this summer. Your future holds temps that soar into the 100s, and once they do you’ll be turning on your air conditioner for relief. The cost of turning up the A/C may seem insignificant compared to your immediate comfort, but you’ll be in for a surprise when your bill comes.
Nearly two-thirds of the country has an air conditioning unit in their homes, and these appliances consume roughly 5% of all of the electricity produced in the country. While the exact cost per kilowatt-hour will differ depending on where you live, the overall cost to run A/C for the entire country is $11 billion.
To avoid spending more on cooling your home, make sure you’re using your appliance properly. Energy.gov suggests setting your thermostat to 78°F when you’re at home and keeping your house warmer when you’re away. By setting your A/C 7–10° higher while at work, you can save as much as 10% on your bill.
Don’t Forget About Childcare
Kids free from school may be looking forwards to the summer vacation, but working parents are a lot less enthusiastic about the season. Depending on your financial situation, enrolling your kids into summer camp, daycare, or other child minding programs can be a huge a toll on your finances — but there are ways to save.
If your neighbors are in the same boat, consider sharing a sitter between all of you. While a sitter that offers these services will cost more up front, you’ll end up paying less because you’re splitting it more ways. You can also consider opting for a younger sitter with less experience and a lower rate in order to save on child care costs. Just be certain the younger sitter you choose is one you trust.
Unexpected Expenses Can Throw a Wrench in Summer Plans
Once you add up all of these expenses, summer no longer looks like the fun time you remember from your youth. It can put strain on your budget, but your financial plan will hold up if you use the above methods to cut down on needless spending. Unfortunately, the season may just bust your budget in ways you weren’t expecting with unforeseen household repairs or renovations. You can’t exactly choose between fixing the car you drive to work every day and your child’s babysitter.
If you ever find yourself a little short of covering these seasonal expenses on your own, consider applying for an online payday loan for help. A payday loan rarely surpasses $1,000, so it’s ideal for non-recurring, seasonal expenses like a broken car or a surprisingly high utilities bill. It’s also incredibly easy to apply, so you don’t have to sacrifice much time or effort in order to see if you qualify.
Keeping to your budget during the summer may be a challenge, but it’s one you can overcome as long as you stick to this advice. Save some extra cash by using the right app, temperature setting, and sitter this summer, and remember a payday loan can work in a pinch when these techniques don’t work. It can help you keep on financial track when used together with budget-friendly tricks this summer. It may not be the summer you envisioned, but at least you’ll survive the season with your finances intact.