The season for lavish outdoor parties, concerts, weddings, and all sorts of summer shenanigans is nearly upon us. And there’s nothing that a beautiful summer day doesn’t make 10x times better, more fun — and more expensive.
Because while Girlboss is based in southern California where the weather’s sunny year-round, we’ve gotten word that the shift toward warmer weather signals a major social-life uptick for those of you in other climes.So what are you to do when summer concerts are calling your name and you’re feeling torn because you have one too many baby showers, wedding receptions, and graduation ceremonies on the calendar?
Here are a few tactics for stretching your dollar further while still making the most of those sunny days.
Save and earn without too much work
Before you start allocating how much to spend on a gift, trip, or reception, it’s a good idea to look at your regular expenses. Notice where your money is going, where you can cut back, and maybe even where you can earn some extra cash. Are you ordering in more than usual? Have you been opting for the specialty cocktails instead of well drinks at the bar?
Start by setting up a savings account that works for you. Then, get into the regular habit of tracking your expenses by using apps that do a lot of the work for you. Some apps, like Digit, save for you by discreetly moving small amounts from your bank to a separate account where the money is stored for when you need it most. A new feature also allows you to set personalized goals, so you can save specifically for “Pam and Jim’s wedding” and see how you’re progressing.
As for those extra clothes and old furniture that are just taking up space? Use any one of these apps to sell them and add even more to your “fun fund.”
Be strategic about your wardrobe
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, “I have nothing to wear.” It’s especially challenging when you know there’s going to be lots and lots of picture-taking going on. Sure, you could opt to buy something new for a swanky event, but chances are there are already plenty of good things in your closet. Consider it a fun challenge to yourself to re-imagine tried and true dresses into new looks with the right jacket, a different pair of heels, or a fun hairstyle or makeup look.
If you truly must wear something new (to you), reach out to your circle of friends for a clothing swap or swing by that thrift store you always tell yourself you’re going to check out. You’re likely going to be able to find a cocktail dress for less than half the price than you would at a department store. And, if need be, small alterations cost a fraction of what you might expect.
Pool money together for a gift
It’s always a tough when you’re low on funds but want to splurge on someone you love. One way to get around this is to pool your money with your closest friends or other guests. That way, you can all get an expectant mother a functional stroller or baby bassinet instead of each giving her extra bottles. So don’t hesitate to take the lead in reaching out to others to pool funds. Chances are, other guests will appreciate your savvy savings tactic.
Bookmark any and all freebie events
One of the great things about living in the age of Google is that finding event listings on the web is a cinch — and there are no shortage of free concerts, bazaars, and outdoor events during the summer.
Once you’ve looked up free local events, write them in your calendar and refer to your list whenever someone wants to catch up with you over dinner and drinks. You’ll help to change things up and make new memories while keeping costs down. And when you’re at these free events, make it a rule for yourself to carry only a set amount of cash. It’s always easier to spend more than you should when all you have to do is swipe a card.
Finally, there’s always ‘No.’
Remember the saying “’No’ is a complete sentence”? Think of that as your new mantra when you’re not feeling up to attending an event. If you’re worried about hurting someone’s feelings, you can always tweak your answer to a more polite “I’d love to attend, but I have a prior engagement and I won’t be able to make it.” That wasn’t too bad, was it?