Summer is the word that everyone wants to hear all through the year. You get a break from school and work (hopefully) and you get to spend tons of time just lazing about with your family and your friends. On the other hand, your summer may be adventure- packed and you will find yourself backpacking your way through Europe or going white water rafting in Kenya or Tanzania. Whatever it is that you plan on doing with your time, you have to be very careful because with all the fun in the sun comes little, hidden expenses that you are most likely to forget about until your bank account is overdrawn and in the negatives. Below is a list of 20 hidden expenses of the summer that if you didn’t think critically, you could easily miss:
1. Dining out, or even in
It’s summer time and everyone is off work and school. It’s time to relax and have fun with your family and friends and fun involves a lot of food. Here’s a hidden expense you probably didn’t think about. The problem is everyone is home! And if you’re home and not actively engaged in anything, you are most likely going to eat out of boredom. That’s more food than you budgeted for. Also, do not forget the times that you’ll have friends over. Oh, and the family visiting from across the country that you wanted to take to see that new expensive restaurant downtown? Ah yes, your daughter’s squad basically living in your basement. That’s a lot more food than you budgeted for! You can avoid these costs by starting a garden in your backyard during the spring and planting staples like tomatoes and zucchinis. Gardening will also be a good family activity to do while you pass the days during the summer and everyone will eat a whole lot less once they have something to do. Also, get a membership for a wholesale club such as BJ’s or CostCo. Everything is cheaper when you buy it in bulk.
Ah, a summertime favorite. There’s one on every block you turn and you thought you’ll have one too. It’s a nice way for some good old community bonding and getting to know those neighbors that you have been too busy round the year to introduce yourself to. But there are some hidden costs involved in this seemingly harmless community gathering. You probably forgot that it is indeed the summertime and the sun is blazing every second of every day. This means that you will need ice…lots and lots of ice. Ice keeps tempers down when the heat is making people act up. You probably also didn’t quite get the number of families on the block right (it happens to the best of us) and you didn’t take into account that they had family visiting as well. That’s extra on plates and napkins, condiments and hot dogs or steaks. And if you host barbecues only three times in the summer, these little costs can add up really quickly. Ask your neighbors to pitch in when you have a barbecue. Some people may not want to be so forward but it is in your best interest to ask them to help out so that all of you can have a great time. A lot of people will not know what they could bring. You can suggest a few things. Ask for someone to bring the mac and cheese, ask for another to bring the beers and another the lemonade for the kids. People are willing to help out. You just have to ask them.
3. Hostess’ gifts
So the party is not at your house. Be a gracious guest and send over a bottle of wine for that dinner party you were invited to. There are some cheap options, but I bet you forgot these hidden expenses. It’s summertime. Everyone has a dinner party that you absolutely must attend. That is 10 bottles of wine that you probably didn’t know you were going to have to buy. And dinner parties means that there are kids at home really late all by themselves. Don’t forget the babysitter costs. It is not mandatory to carry a bottle of wine to a dinner party. Depending on the kind of party it is and they kind of friends they are, you can get away with bringing a casserole instead, or maybe even a pie. That is much cheaper than a bottle of wine. If you absolutely must bring a wine along, you are better off buying a whole case instead of wines in singles. Also, you can sign up with a wine service to receive a complimentary bottle of wine every month in exchange for a small payment at the beginning of the month. Store these bottles and you are good to go with wines. For babysitting, you can pay your oldest child a meager amount to take care of the house when you are gone. If your oldest is not old enough, find a neighbor’s child. It is much cheaper than paying for a professional babysitter from an agency and you only be gone a few hours.
4. Camp costs
So you are through with your leave and you have to get back to work. You want to engage your kids so that they do not kill brain cells sitting on the couch and binging in Netflix and Cheetos. You hear of day camp and you’re thinking it’s a good idea. It will probably cost more than you initially thought.
What you thought: You were going to pay the enrollment fee for day camp for your children.
What you forgot: Day camp entails more than just attending. For one thing, your children will need a lot of snacks throughout the entire summer for when they get hungry at day camp. Don’t forget that day camps also come with little extra costs like trips to the zoo and pool days. Also, your child has to get there somehow. Think about the extra gas costs that you hadn’t budgeted for.
How to avoid these costs:
If your neighbors’ kids are in day camp too, you might want to try carpooling. This will save both families a lot of money since you are heading in the same direction anyway. For snacks, like all foods, buy them in bulk to be able to save some major cash. Or better yet, make them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to pop an apple into their bags. These are generally cheaper than store bought snacks and they will keep your child healthier.
5. Gifts for every occasion
The beginning of the summer is when everyone graduates and when everyone has prom. If you have a child that is graduating high school, the costs may add up faster than you think. You managed to forget that prom tickets are pretty expensive and your child is probably going to need two of them. You forgot about the limousine rental, the hair, and makeup or the haircut, cap and gown for graduation as well as the graduation party. I bet you didn’t see that coming. Let your teen pay for them, of course. During their senior year in high school, encourage them to start fundraisers or to find a part time job around the community. This will teach them critical skills in saving and budgeting as well as make them a little more independent as they ship off to college.
6. College Road Trip
So your child is going off to college. The summer before college is when the school hosts a boatload of activities for prospective students. Thes include accepted student days, school tours, pre-orientation programs and much more. And you wouldn’t want your teen to miss those, would you? What you forgot: If the college is out of state, you’re out of luck. You forgot that you would have to buy a lot of gas for these frequent trips to and from the college. At the college, your child is going to want to buy as many school memorabilia as possible and those tend to be very expensive. Also, schools take this opportunity to solicit funds from parents to pay for upcoming projects. Beware of these costs. Not all trips to the school are necessary ones. Sure your teen is excited and doesn’t want to miss a thing but it is almost definite that the school will have an orientation for new students at the beginning of the semester so all those extra days in the summer will be for nothing. Any information that you may need concerning the school can be received via a phone call and it is easier to ignore petition emails than in-person petitions (but you can still donate if you want to).
7. College costs
While on the topic of college, you are going to incur much more losses than you originally planned for. At the end of the summer, when your child is getting ready to head out to college, you forgot that you would need to buy everything for him/ her to build a new life outside of your home. We’re talking full kitchen, bedroom and bathroom accessories. Aside from that, the costs of tuition, room and board, expensive meal plans, student groups, spring break travels and phone bills are there to be worried about. Encourage your kid to try and be artsy and make some of the things that he/she needs from scratch. For room decor, DIY projects are always a cute idea. Also, if you have an old fridge or coffeemaker lying around, you can just give that to him/ her instead of buying new appliances. An old set of plates and cups, an old TV and old winter clothes will also help you cut costs. If you don’t have those, try looking through pop-up garage sales in the summer for things that they could take to school that you can get at a fraction of the original price.
8. Back-to-school kits
How about if you have kids that are not quite ready for college yet? You forgot that you would need to purchase a whole new set of clothes, stationary, accessories, text books and devices for when your child needs to go back to school. Never fret, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Buy stationary from a dollar store around you. It is guaranteed to be much cheaper than in department stores. Also, your child can still use the same backpack and lunchbox from last year if they are still intact. It is never too early to teach a lesson on recycling. Buying a few sets of uniforms can be cheaper than actually getting a new wardrobe for the next school year.
9. Mowing/ Garden Care
A lot of people forget that they have lawns that need to be kept up and they do not budget for this. The grass still grows in the summer and whether or not you plan on hiring a lawn treatment company or doing the maintenance yourself, you’re going to have to spend more money than you initially thought. Try hiring a neighborhood kid to mow your lawns. It will be cheaper, plus he/she would be getting valuable real life experiences and be earning a bit of cash on the side. If you love to mow, invest in a good mower and do it yourself. It might seem expensive at first, but it will pay for itself after a few years.
Are you going on vacation for the summer? I bet you forgot about your four- legged pal who has to stay at home because he’s not allowed on airplanes. You would have to get a dog sitter or take your dog to a family member or some sort of facility for the period of time in which you are gone. A lot of costs can be associated with pets from food to toys to doctor’s appointments and regular grooming. You may want to try leaving your dog with a family that also has dogs because they are less likely to ask you for money to keep it. If there is no one that you can trust enough, you can take your dog to a dog home until you come back. Register about 6 months ahead of time to get reduced fees from early enrollment. Also, ask the facility if they have any promotions or if they are willing to negotiate their prices. Small businesses will always be open to negotiation to keep you as a client.
11. Flight fees
12. All- inclusive hotels
Ah, the famous all-inclusive that cajole you into thinking that you have a good deal. This is rarely the case. You will find that there are a lot of other things that you have to pay for once you arrive on the premises! Make sure to read through the terms and conditions well before spending any money on hotels. Make sure that the basics such as room change protection, three meals daily and airport pickups are covered. Will you get the most out of your buck in all-inclusive hotels? Probably not because they are so expensive. You could, instead, consider renting a vacation home which will tend to be much cheaper than hotels. You can also rent a car online to be picked up at the airport which will make touring simpler and cheaper than expensive hotel cabs.
I am sure that you knew your summer would be filled with activities, most of which involve water. You have to note that there are some hidden costs associated with amusement and water parks. Even if you buy a day pass, you will still need to buy expensive park food as well as pay for parking and locker spaces and everything. The best thing to so is to take public transportation to the park so that you can avoid the heavy parking rates. If your house is nearby, you can walk instead. Also, you can take packed lunches to the park to avoid all the expensive food and drink costs. If it is a water park, wear your bathing suit under your regular clothes and take a big beach bag that you can put all your clothes in to avoid renting locker spaces.
14. Beach costs
You are planning beach trips during the summer and they seem pretty straight forward. But have you thought about the little things that can cause you to spend extra? Aside from the food and drink that you can always take with you, there will always be an incident where someone loses a flip-flop or someone forgets a hat and gets terribly sunburned. Avoid this by taking extras so that the beach does not make its profit off you by selling you overpriced beachwear. Also, remember to take your own umbrella as rentals tend to get very expensive.
15. Moving costs
About half of the residential moves that happen in America occur in the summer, so you are most probably moving homes in the summer. It should be very simple; you hire a moving truck, load it up and move. Wrong. Some costs are secretly lurking in the shadows waiting to jump out at you. For instance, you have to think about the costs involved in fixing busted sinks or toilets before you move. Then, cleaning might be hard when everything is a mess so you might be tempted to ring up an agency to do it for you. You also have to remember to tip the drivers or the moving company that helps you move. Avoid this by starting way ahead of time. Go to your local department store and ask them for boxes that they do not need anymore. Months before you move, pack and label your stuff bit by bit so that it does not overwhelm you when you actually move in the summer. Fix all the broken things yourself to avoid paying for a plumbing service. Also, you should try renting a moving truck and not an agency so that you can avoid the extra costs as well as the tipping. When packing up is done over time, you will avoid the extra costs of a cleaning service because cleaning will also be slow and easy.
16. Cooling costs
Depending on where you live, the summer heat might probably be melting your brains out. A cost that you probably did not consider is the extra power that you would need to keep the air conditioners and fans on 24/7. Avoid these costs by investing in rechargeable or battery operated fans that you can have in every room. These are a way cheaper option than the air conditioner which could do real damage to your bill at the end of the summer.
17. Ice needs
You didn’t think of this, but you will find that you will need tons and tons of ice in the summer just to stay cool and keep everyone sane and calm. Depending on how big your family is, you will have to buy more bags of ice from the corner store than you initially thought. Avoid this cost by investing in a handy ice maker. These machines can run all day on very little power and can produce ice in as little as six minutes. It may be expensive to buy one now, but in the long run, it will pay for itself a thousand times over.
18. Road trips
We already covered college road trips, but did you consider family trips across America that you might want to take? These are usually spare of the moment decisions that you think are harmless but can end up making you lose a lot of money unnecessarily. For instance, crossing states will mean that you will have to buy a lot of gas and pay a lot of tolls. You may also need to pay for hotels if the road trip extends past a day’s drive, Avoid this by making plans early and driving in the direction of family and friends. You can map out the living location of your close friends and family so that you have free accommodation for the nights. Also, you might want to consider purchasing an automatic toll payer such as EZPass as it ultimately saves you a lot of money. Pack snacks in your car and avoid stopping at McDonalds and Starbucks because those bills add up quickly.
You are ready to go on the summer trip of your life, but have you forgotten that you have subscribed to many things that you still have to pay for? I bet you forgot all about those. Ranging from magazine subscriptions to Hulu and Netflix accounts, going away for the summer may mean that you are paying for a lot of services that you are not going to use. Cancel them all and reinstate them when you return home to save some extra bucks.
20. ATM costs:
These little things are sure to drive you nuts when they add up really quickly. They are also very easy to forget about. When you leave the country for the summer, keep in mind that you are probably going to have to deal with currency differences and the odds will forever be stacked against you. You will be charged outrageous fees on your Visa card when you try to take out money from a foreign bank ATM. Avoid these little costs by planning ahead. Call up your bank to convert the money you think you will need into the currency used by your destination country and a little extra for emergencies. That way, you would not be cheated by wicked ATMs.