My wife gets a summer break from her job in the schools. I typically get to take a little vacation with the family each summer as well. So giving our finances a summer vacation as well is something we like to try to do.
It’s nice to have a little time away from the skullduggery of keeping up with the family finances, even for someone like me who tends to enjoy such work most of the time. So when it’s time to take a vacation from our finances, here is how we keep them working even while we’re not.
A slow DRIP keeps the financial pipes from freezing
I’m a fan of dividend reinvestment plans. I personally have my retirement account invested in such a fund and it helps reduce some of the risk that goes with investing in the stock market. Such a fund can continue to fluctuate with the moves of the market, gaining or losing share value with market moves; but with regular dividend payments, it can also continue to build share value and dollar cost average with fluctuating market prices. In this way, it’s kind of a win/win situation. If share prices go up, so does the overall value of my fund. If share prices go down, I’m buying more shares at lower values with monthly dividend reinvestments.
A helping hand watching our finances
We have several systems in place to help keep an eye on our finances over the summer when we may be more occupied with having fun than fiscal responsibility. First off, we keep a monitoring system in place that helps make it easy to ensure there are no issues with our credit. We have also built close relationships with our banking representatives at our local branch which makes it easier should an issue arise with anything related to our bank accounts or credit. And finally, we review our home and auto insurance to ensure that we have proper coverage limits when we may be outside the home and driving more should an accident or issue – at home or on the road – occur.
But since summer is a time in which we tend to be out and about and spending more money, we also try to do a few simple things that still allow us to cut costs but without much effort.
One super-quick way we do this is by visiting GasBuddy.com to find the lowest area gas prices. While it might only save us ten to fifteen cents per gallon, over the course of the summer when our miles traveled tend to go up, spending a minute or two to check prices before we fill our tank can equate to some nice savings over the course of the summer.
Meanwhile, when it comes to our utilities – another budget area that can add up during the summer when temperatures soar and the whole family is at home for summer break – we do several simple things to trim our costs as well. Our main push for cost effectiveness in this budget category comes with our cooling efforts. Rather than using the air conditioning (except when it’s really hot or humid), we tend to use fans for the majority of the summer. Through ceiling, oscillating, and box fans, we can draw in cooler air from outside (especially at night) to keep our condo cool without the use of central air. This cuts our cooling costs dramatically and reduces the wear and tear on our AC system.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.