Money Matters: Keep summer spending in check

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Summer means warm weather and fun activities, but all the excitement can add up quickly.

Barry Bigelow with Great Waters Financial said more than half of Americans plan to "treat themselves" as COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift.

He told people to be prepared that with gas prices near $4.00 per gallon, summer road trips and boating excursions cost more. Dining out and grilling in the backyard are also popular summer pastimes, but food prices have increased 8.8% over the last year.

Bigelow offered three tips to save money this summer.

  • Find Free Opportunities
    • Keep your eye out for local community events like concerts, street fairs, or outdoor movies.
    • Zoos, local parks and libraries are great places to take kids for some free adventure.
    • Instead of paying for a concert ticket, enjoy free live music at a patio or restaurant to make the most of your dining experience.
    • As the old saying goes, the best things in life are free.
  • Rent Instead of Buy
    • Summer is a popular time for ATVs, jet skies, and boats.
    • Even though it may sound fun to own a boat, the maintenance and insurance can cost up to $5,000 per year, so consider the benefits of renting this summer instead.
  • Utilize One-Time Costs
    • Look for one-time costs that can save you money in the long run.
    • For example, buying a summer pass to one swimming pool will be more cost-effective than visiting multiple pools throughout the summer.
    • If you know you’ll want to visit a few state parks, buy a year-round pass once for $35 instead of purchasing a pass each time you park.