8 Warm Weather Spending Traps You Don’t Need To Waste Money On
1. Endless patio drinks and meals.
For some reason, 75 and sunny seems to be synonymous with oh-so-many more rounds of drinks. Summer is an automatic excuse to day drink, hit more happy hours, and go out “just ’cause.” And I really do get it, because it’s so worth taking advantage of nice weather when it only comes around a couple of months out of the year. However, there are cheaper alternatives. Instead of going out for lunch outside, bring lunch from home and sit on the grass outside the office with some friends. I used to work at an ad agency by the beach, and a couple of times, I brought my own lunch and then ate it on the beach. And you know who can probably make a killer summer sangria better than your favorite bar? You. At home. Have a few friends over, and try your hand at a few fun summer cocktails.
2. Summer clothes.
With the exception of fall, I’d say summer is the most anticipated season fashion-wise, because the outfit possibilities are endless. We’ve got dresses, skirts, flowy tops, florals, cropped tops, strappy sandals, and even rompers and shorteralls now that they’ve made a comeback. Do you deserve a new bathing suit if your old one has questionable holes? Of course. Do you need 13 $10 dresses at H&M to celebrate the season? Probably not.
3. Brunch, also on the patio.
When the weather gets warmer, the days get long, but the brunchs get even longer. (Was it just me, or did that 100% sound like a line from Sex and the City?) It’s true, though. When the sun’s out, it makes you want to do a “day” activity on a Saturday, and brunch is the most readily-available activity there is. Instead, try hitting up a farmer’s market, buying some great produce, and making your own brunch feast.
4. Spontaneous trips to who-knows-where when you remember to take your summer Fridays.
Summer Fridays are becoming a very popular work tradition, and for obvious reasons, I was a huge fan when I worked a salaried job that gave me three “freebie” days off. But for me, summer Fridays were always an excuse for my brain to go into overdrive and start thinking about how I should spontaneously go to Six Flags, or take a road trip. While there’s nothing wrong with planning a few summer activities, they tend to be a lot better for your budget if you actually plan for them ahead of time, instead of just getting in your car and driving.
5. Travel souvenirs.
I am not a fan of trinkets and tchotchkes, personally, so I typically find them to be a waste of money. If I thought they actually got used, that would be a different story, but travel souvenirs are generally something that gets tossed every time someone does a seasonal decluttering. My thought is, I’d rather send friends and family postcards than bring them back a t-shirt that says Someone Who Loved Me Went To Aruba And All I Got Was This Stupid Shirt.
6. More stuff than you could ever need to bring with you for a beach day.
I’m not sure what it is about going to the beach that turns us from normal consumers to people who need to buy beer like the world is ending tomorrow. But regardless, moderation is not often practiced when we stock up on beach day snacks and drinks, which is practical to a certain extent, because there tend to be more than a couple snack casualties because sand on a windy day is pretty merciless. Nonetheless, toning it down on the overbuying for beach days is definitely something I’ll be working on this summer.
7. Excessive grilling tools and accessories.
Cook outs are an integral part of a good summer experience, but I’m not sure shelling out for grilling gloves and several new sets of tongs is the right choice if you live in an apartment and intend to use your grill about three days out of the year. And much like our beach-day habits, we also tend to overbuy food-wise when we’re hosting people in the summer, which is a waste of both money and food. A lot of my friends in L.A. have backyards, and whenever we have BBQs on Saturday afternoon, we end up with enough food and drink to feed us for the next five days, which means we all spent too much, and likely wasted too much. This can be avoided by actually planning ahead! Get people to sign up to bring different things, so you don’t end up with a lifetime supply of Oscar Meyer hot dogs.
8. Tanning and waxing.
I have to say I am biased here, because I have never been tanning and am fairly opposed to going, because of the inevitable health concerns that come along with it. But I think the argument against both of these is that they aren’t a one-time expense. If you can get waxed once, and have it last all summer, mazel tov. Definitely do it. But it seems to me that in both cases, you need to keep going back, and tanning or waxing packages can be expensive, especially if you go to a nice place. And you can DIY both of these expenses for free. My personal thought is that you can lay out in the sun (with sunscreen, of course!), and take care of your frustrating bikini line in the shower.