5 Easy Steps to a Summer Budget
Summer is the time for sunny vacations and travel with friends and family.
You'll have fun days out on the town and at the beach. But all of this fun probably comes with a cost. No matter how you spend your money, it's important to keep track of it. At the very least, you don't want to find yourself stretched too thin when fall comes around. Breaking down a budget can be difficult though. Here are a few easy steps to follow.
1. Assess your budget needs
How much can you spend this summer?selflender.s3.amazonaws.com
The first step is figure out how much you need to spend over the summer. Think of this as your daydream number. It might not be what you'll end up spending, but it will include all the things you want to do. Total up the possible expenses of all the trips you want to take and all the places you want to visit. Write this number down for later. If it seems high now, don't worry. This is just your daydream. You'll probably need to cut down on what you want to do in order to get amore affordable figure.
2. Figure out how much you can afford to spend
Examine your finances and figure out how much funds you'll have available. Include all the money you're willing to spend. This can include what's in your checking, savings, and maybe even the limits on a few credit cards. Be careful with the credit though. You don't want to overspend and have to worry about higher minimum payments later on. Once you've figured out how much you can afford to spend without going bankrupt, compare the number to your daydream number. If it's more than or about the same as your daydream, then you're golden. If it's less or you just want to save more money, then you'll need to think about cutting back on your summer plans.
3. Trim the fat first
Do you really need to visit three different cities? How many concerts do you really need to go to? Maybe you don't need to spend so many days at the beach. Get rid of the most expensive or least important items from your itinerary. This is up to your discretion. Maybe you definitely want to attend several differenttheatre shows. Prioritize that, but you'll also need to cut out something else if you want to stay inside your budget.
4. Consider your transportation options
Another way to save money is by switching from flying to driving. You can also takepublic transportation at your destination instead of renting a car. If you're planning a lot of local beach trips, maybe you can carpool with a friend and split the gas costs instead of driving separately. However you want to do it, transportation is likely going to be your biggest expense. Any way you can bring that total down will help you stay in your budget.
5. Lastly, think about your food costs
Food is may be your next most expensive item. We all have to eat, right? But you can still cut this back by limiting restaurant trips and stocking up on groceries instead. Of course, you'll still want to go out with your friends, but you definitely don't need to eat out every week. Limit this to the most important restaurants or occasions to minimize the impact on your budget.
About 10 years ago,coworking spaces were considered a strange solution for freelancers. But now, they're almost ubiquitous within the work-from-home community. Most major cities have at least one coworking space available for entrepreneurs, freelancers, or just anyone who wants an office away from home.
Recently, specially-themed coworking spaces have been popping up in metropolitan areas the world over. Some are geared toward engineers or creatives, and others arefocus on offering space for women exclusively. If you're looking for a pleasant work environment where your fellow women can lift you up, these work spaces might be your best bet. But what are the benefits of a women-only working space? Are there any downsides? Here's a few pros and cons to consider.
Pro: Female-focused career support and panel discussions
Networking and finding support in career development is key to survival for a freelancer,. Specifically addressing the hurdles women face in the workplace is also a great idea. It's women who often havedifficulty negotiating for a higher salary orstruggle with childcare. Or maybe have to navigate a boy's club environment in their chosen career path. Many of these spaces will host panel discussions of these issues with experienced speakers. Some have one-on-one mentorship programs. Others have dedicated career centers to help spruce up your résumé, practice your interview skills, and even train you in salary negotiation. A few even offer childcare for working mothers. No matter what it is, it can be nice to have a network to fall back on if you're running into challenges in your career.
Con: Most female-centric spaces are incredibly focused on single women
It's great to have networking and support for your career, but the majority of women's co-working spaces are specifically geared toward the young working professional. There aren't many workshops on balancing home and work life with a family. And for many working moms, visiting a co-working space might not be an option with their young children. There are a few spaces that do offer childcare on site, including Play, Work, or Dash in Virginia. But this is definitely not widespread and, given the tight regulations surrounding childcare, it's unclear whether this kind of service will catch on elsewhere. For working mothers, maybe a co-working membership just isn't worth the price.
Pro: Work around like-minded women and have the space to speak
When you're in the coworking space, you'll be around a lot of women who have the same goals and dreams as you. Maybe not in specifics, but at least in how much time they want to spend cultivating their career. You know when you walk in the building, you'll be surrounded by women who are working just as hard as you are. That can be motivating and comforting. Another plus for an all-women space is that you won't have to work to make yourself heard. Several studies have found that men dominate conversations in the workplace. This can be because men interrupt women or women just chose not to speak up. But in a female-focused space, there will be no men to take over the conversation. You'll be able to speak your mind freely and be heard.
Con: Women-centric clubs have been the center of controversy
These spaces have offered many resources to working women, but they don't come without controversy. Some critics argue that limiting membership to females only is discriminatory. The New York Human Rights Commission was reportedly investigating The Wing (a coworking space in NYC) for discrimination. Legal experts even say that preventing men from joining could be seen asa violation of the same anti-sex discrimination laws that were meant to protect women. But an attorney representing The Wing has said that the space follows the history of the laws' purpose empower women and level the playing field. So therefore, it is not violating any laws. No one is suing just yet and so far no complaints have been reported, but this new brand of coworking could be sitting in dicey legal territory. The debate could eventually end up in court.
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How to Spring Clean Your Finances
Every year, you probably take the time during spring to clean and organize your home. But that's not the only important aspect of your life. If you didn't spend time on your finances, make it a priority now. Take the time to cancel subscriptions you hardly use or cut back on things you don't really need. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Check your credit score and look at your report
How did you score?www.mybanktracker.com
You can request a credit report from all three major credit reporting agencies once a year. It's recommended you space out your requests so you can keep tabs on your credit throughout the year. (This shouldn't affect your credit score as it's just a personal report for your records, unlike a loan or credit card application.) Along with your score, you'll also receive a detailed report with your loans and credit cards listed. Pour over this list. This is the best way to determine if there has been any illegal activity on your account. Report anything that you don't recognize. It's also a good way to keep tabs on loans you've taken out. Make sure you pay on time every month to keep your credit score in top shape.
2. Clean up your wallet and key ring
Do you even know what's in there?c1.staticflickr.com
How many loyalty memberships do you have? Do you really need all of them? Probably not. Take all of those cards from your wallet and your key ring. Figure out which ones you actually use and get rid of the rest. Take it a step further and examine which memberships you could probably cut. Maybe you don't need to spend so much at your local bookstore. Also, you should check out all your credit card accounts. There might be a couple that you don't need any more and can cancel. Limiting how many credit accounts you have will also help your credit score.
3. Go through your recent bank statement
Check your bank account for recurring charges, like Netflix or a gym membership. Cancel any subscriptions you have that you don't use. This also might be a good time to cut back on subscriptions you don't really need. Maybe choose between Netflix and Hulu. Or cancel that gym membership you honestly never use. (Financial health is just as important. You probably don't need a treadmill; you can always run outside.) While you're looking over your transactions, maybe also think about other purchases you can cut to save your budget.
4. Examine your bank accounts
Stay on top of your finances www.waterfordbankna.com
It's likely that you have a checking account and a savings account. If you have more accounts, do you need to close any? Do you need to open another savings or checking account? Maybe you want to start investing in your retirement or save up for a trip. Whatever your purpose is, streamlining or organizing your bank accounts will help you keep your life in order.
Staying on top of your finances is the best thing you can do for yourself. Don't let some gym take your money if you don't use your membership regularly. Keep track of your credit score so you don't get caught off guard when you're applying for a new card, or a place to live. Physical and mental health are very important, but so is your financial health.
Summer is here. Long days, warm weather, and relaxing vacations. The summer months bring an increased demand for travel, but you don't have to pay through the nose to have a great holiday. Here's a few tips to plan your next getaway on a budget.
1. Avoid the beach.
The beach is a great location, but it's a popular destination. Everyone and their mother will be headed to the shores. This will likely drive travel prices way up. Don't even think about your hotel or even renting a place to relax near the waves. If you're really dedicated, you can find a lesser known beach. But if you really want to save money, it's probably better to choose a less popular destination.
2. Don't worry about a rental car.
If you're headed to a big city, consider all your transportation options before booking an expensive rental car. Many cities have affordable public transportation options. Maybe you can save money by finding a hotel within walking distance of places you'd like to visit. You can supplement anything with Uber or Lyft. There's no need to drive on your vacation. Save money and leave the car in the park.
3. Minimize your restaurant eating.
There's no need to eat out for every meal on your trip. Yes, there will definitely be restaurants you'll want to experience. But you can cut back on your spending with a light grocery run when you arrive. Try to find a hotel that offers complimentary breakfast. You can easily make a sandwich in your hotel room. And then dinner can be your once-in-a-lifetime experience. Limiting your restaurant meals to one a day during your trip can cut more expenses than you think.
4. Find affordable, less popular attractions.
Everyone wants to go up the Empire State Building. That's what makes the tickets so pricey. There will definitely be expensive attractions that you can't miss, but not all of them have to break the bank. Look for cheap or even free places to visit. Public parks and museums are a couple examples. The best part about these places is that you can make your own adventure. Explore lesser known attractions to make a unique trip while saving money.
5. Plan a staycation.
If you can't afford to leave your city, don't wallow at home. Chances are there is plenty you haven't seen in your hometown. Do some research. Find the hole in the wall places you haven't been to yet. There's probably some kind of small restaurant, used book store, or even a vintage arcade to visit. You'll never know if you never look.
No vacation has to cost a fortune. If you just take the time to examine your options and budget accordingly, you can have a great trip for much less. While you might want to spend a lot on an amazing destination, getting back home without too much credit card debt will be a much better reward.