As the seasons change, so do our interests, activities and obligations. Summer may inspire beach vacations and stops for ice cream cones. Winter often calls for holiday presents, hot cocoa and cozy nights in. Season changes bring new experiences for you and your family. However, seasonal spending can wreak havoc on your budget if you aren’t careful.
When you create your budget, it’s a good idea to take seasonal expenses into account. As the weather changes, you’ll spend more on some things while saving on others.
Preparing for season changes in your budget
To help you prepare, here are four spending traps to watch out for during the changing seasons.
Expensive Seasonal Clothing
When the weather changes, you’ll likely need to update your wardrobe to suit the new temperature. Summer demands cool clothing, swimsuits and sandals. And whether you like it or not, you’re going to need a coat and boots in the winter if you live in a place where it snows. Buying seasonal clothing is necessary and important. However, you shouldn’t spend a fortune buying clothes as the seasons change.
When the temperature starts to shift, many consumers buy all their clothes suddenly after realizing they don’t have the pieces they need. Clothing retailers know this and often charge more at the start of the season.
To save money, experts recommend you plan ahead and buy clothes during the off-season. Get a coat in late winter and buy next year’s swimsuit just before fall. Though you might still need to buy a few pieces when the seasons change, being aware of costs can help you avoid excessive spending.
Shifting Oil Prices
You need to budget for gasoline and heating oil to ensure your household keeps running throughout the year. However, fluctuations in oil prices might make this difficult. Though you can’t prepare for all shifts in oil prices, you can prepare for seasonal changes.
Supply and demand factor heavily into oil prices. When supply is low and demand high, prices soar. This means that shifting seasonal demand influences how much consumers pay for oil.
In the summer, more people pack up their cars and go on vacation, increasing demand for gasoline. As a result, gasoline prices tend to increase during the summer. In the winter, on the other hand, demand for home heating oil increases as people need more energy to keep their houses warm. Subsequently, heating oil prices increase when temperatures drop.
To save money on heating oil, try to stock up when prices are low. Pay attention to price fluctuations and place an order when you see a good deal.
Last-minute holiday shopping
Winter brings lots of holiday celebrations. And those celebrations require gifts, decorations, travel and fancy meals. Though of course you want to enjoy the season, last-minute holiday spending can easily hurt your budget.
Instead of cramming your holiday shopping into one month, spread out spending throughout the year. If you know you’ll need to spend a lot, consider setting a separate budget for holiday purchases and break it down into categories like gifts, drinks, cards and other notable expenses. By planning ahead, you can keep yourself on track.
Pricey New Year’s Resolutions
In January, many people rededicate themselves to their goals by making New Year’s resolutions. While well-intentioned, these goals might rack up expenses that don’t fit in your budget.
Around New Year’s, consider what resolutions you might make if any. Then consider any necessary expenses like gym memberships, equipment or subscriptions. Make sure to incorporate these costs into your budget for the new year. As a bonus, budgeting money for your goals could help you keep your resolutions long-term.
Enjoy the season within your budget
You don’t have to deny yourself every seasonal delight in order to save money. Instead, by planning for seasonal expenses and taking steps to save when you can, you and your family will be able to enjoy every season without straying from your budget.