The Summer of Saving

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The Summer of Saving

By: Derika Crowley

A lot of parties, brunches, and vacations happen over the summer, but these three months of warm weather are also a great time to save money and adopt new habits before the fall. This summer, I want to make saving a higher priority. There’s so much temptation to spend and instead of conforming, I want to aim to lay a foundation for the next steps in my life.

My Last “Money Memory”

The last time I could honestly say I was a “saver” was when I was about 11 or 12. I don’t remember how much money I saved exactly (maybe about $100 or so), but at that time it was a LOT of money.

Long story short, I kept all my money in my wallet and ended up leaving my wallet behind at a Burger King. Once I realized I didn’t have my wallet, I went back to the restaurant and thankfully got my wallet back…but, unfortunately, had all my money taken out of it.

That was the last time I can remember actively saving.

How often do you think back on your “money memories” (i.e. those moments that shape how you view money)? If you don’t think about them often, you should start. I’ve been thinking about my own perspective of money a lot lately. Right now, I’m at this place where I want to save and prepare for so many future chapters in my life, so I’ve had to continuously force myself to back into that “savers” mindset I had when I was 11 or 12.

Saving is hard…

I don’t know about you, but for me saving is still a chore. I know I must do it, but I don’t really want to. Plus, living in a city like D.C. – where there’s ALWAYS an event going on or a brunch to attend – can make it even harder since you’ll always find yourself in those awkward moments when you must say “no” while everyone else is saying “yes, let’s turn up!”

As hard as it is, especially in the summer, this season I want to challenge myself to stick with a budget and aggressively saving. After digging around Pinterest and various articles from Google searches, I’ve discovered five tips that would work well to still enjoy summer, but also remain on track with saving.

Keep in mind, I’m in the very early stages of putting these tips into practice, but I do plan on keep you guys up to date with my progress throughout the summer.

Accept this may be your “Summer of Being Basic”

Believe me, when I say that I understand the desire to want to look great all summer long with your “hair done, nails did, everything did”. But, when your focused-on saving, those are the first things that must be volunteered as tribute for sacrificing. If anything, pick one thing and cut out everything else.

For me, I chose to splurge on my hair this summer (because it’s hot and I don’t have the patience to deal with my natural hair during summer activities), so I’ll have to my nails and everything else by myself. That means doing my own mani/pedi, waxing, and brows. Yes, I’m overwhelmed at the thought; however, you got to do what you must do. Who knows, maybe I’ll get so good at doing things myself that I’ll never want to spend money on those services again.

Cash Only Method

Apparently, the “cash only” method is a good way to prevent yourself from overspending. I want to put this to the test this summer. I don’t know how realistic it is for me, but I’m up for the challenge. I’m going to start with taking out $126 a week (about $250 a paycheck) and go from there.

Before You Buy, Try to DIY

I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who can make their own skincare products, cleaning supplies, and hair products. I don’t know how successful I will be, but I have my Pinterest boards prepped and are ready to give it a shot!

I also want to get into painting and drawing. I used to draw all the time when I was younger but fell off. Since I’ll have tons of personal time this summer, I’m going to use it as an opportunity to get back in tune with my old hobby.

Utilize the EveryDollar App

Summer activities and vacations are going to happen, so preparation is key. The worst feeling is having to drop a couple of hundred dollars unexpectedly and not having enough for other bills. I started using the EveryDollar app and it’s been helpful in making sure every dollar is accounted for.

Find Free Events and Activities

Thankfully, D.C. has a ton of free events and activities over the summer to take advantage of. Instead of opting for brunch or ticketed parties right away, look for free happenings within your cities. For those in D.C. here are a few events and festivals worth giving a try:

  • Night stroll around the monuments and memorials

  • Outdoor movie screenings: National Harbor, Chinatown, Georgetown Business District and Union Market

  • Visit the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens (Open daily 7 am - 4 pm)

  • Cool off in the Kogod Courtyard (between the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum)

  • Farragut Fridays

  • Under 30? Enjoy free admission to The Phillips Collection

  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall runs from June 27 – July 1 and July 4-8

  • Jazz in the Garden Concert Series (June 1, 2018 - August 24, 2018 5:00 PM - 8:30 PM)

  • July 4th- Fireworks on the National Mall

  • Sunday, September 9, 2018 - Adams Morgan Day