Every time I leave the house, I manage to spend more money than I expected.
I’ve tried leaving my credit cards at home, only to succumb to using Apple Pay to give myself a sweet little treat. I take a different route on my Hot Girl Walks to avoid Starbucks, then stumble upon a new neighborhood shop filled with snacks or trinkets. And even when I have to do horrid things like going to the dentist, I somehow just have to peek into Target (and leave with bags and bags of clothing), or I reward myself for that grueling session in the dreaded dental chair with lunch (mouth still numb …).
Summer is the most treacherous season of all because I’m constantly out-and-about. And while my spending habits in general have gotten better due to intense tracking — no more late-night Instagram-inspired, impromptu shopping sprees is a gigantic win — it’s the little purchases that all seem to add up.
To balance out those teeny treats, I plan on spending less when I intend to go out. Since I’m not willing to relinquish all my happy little spending moments, I compromise by skipping those huge splurges that don’t yield huge rewards. I’m talking nights out where I barely remember anything but those $20 cocktails.
This is my golden rule for smart savings: cut out the things you can live without and keep the things that matter.
My priorities are as follows: planning for future travel, keeping up my summer skincare, and not losing out on my daily dopamine spend. All else must fit into my budget. But that doesn’t necessarily those items have to be boring.
Summer is chock-full of thrilling adventures that suit any budget. There are activities for everyone with every interest every day of the week — you just have to be creative and know where to find them.
Here are the summer activities I’ve added to my calendar that save money without sacrificing on fun:
Picnics and Potlucks
I’ve already had a fair share of picnics this summer, and I anticipate plenty more. Picnics are the ideal summertime entertainment. The potluck aspect inspires me to cook for my friends (or repurpose my leftovers). It’s a completely low-stress opportunity to see my friends in one fell swoop without springing for a costly dinner. Simply text your chums, lay out a blanket, and drop a pin — magic!
A city isn’t a legit city without free summer concerts. Usually held in public parks, they’re a fantastic nighttime outdoor activity. Find out where these hidden gems are, plan ahead, and be sure to nab fabulous seats for a free show!
Art! Get some culture!
Warning: Museums can be pricey. But luckily, most museums host a few free nights a month. Check the summer calendar and enjoy the art. There are also wonderful events when you can meet others who are intrigued with arts and culture.
Another way to get in some free art is to do a gallery-opening crawl. There’s generally wine and snacks gratis, plus bustling crowds of lovely people.
Get your steps in
My solo Hot Girl Walks are some of my favorite activities, but taking a stroll or a hike with my friends has become a treasured hobby. Whether we’re just strolling aimlessly around the city, or hiking a local trail, it’s a marvelous way to chat with your friends without shouting over a club’s super loud sound system.