July is upon us! How did that happen? It seems like spring was just here, but now we're full on into summer. Each month has different spending activities, so you need to adjust your personal budget with the seasons. Here are 8 things you can't forget to include in your July budget.
1. 4th of July Fireworks. This honestly could be just your plans to view them, if you live in an area where they're illegal due to fire danger. Set a budget for these items and stick to it. I know some folks who get to those fireworks stands and their eyes grow to the size of dinner plates as they see what giant productions they can have. Determine what's reasonable to spend and don't go over.
2. Pet Boarding Costs. Are you going out of town this month, or at the start of August? Make plans for your pets if they're not coming along for the ride. Maybe you're lucky enough to have nearby family that can take care of them for free, but if you need to pay for a pet sitter or a boarding facility, you need to put that cost in your budget. Fees vary widely, so shop around for someone that won't break your bank but will also provide safe, loving care for these four-legged family members. Don't go with the cheapest option if your gut says something's off.
Speaking of pets, will they need any extra supplies or vet care to come along with you this summer? We don't live in a tick-heavy area, but our annual camping trip is out in an area where they could pick some up. Do what we did and ask your vet about pest prevention steps. We also travel with a pet first aid kit, which has come in handy even at home. It's far cheaper to prevent sickness than it is to pay to help fix your furry children!
3. Day Trips and Activities. The kids are out of school, and unless you've paid for your summer's worth of day camps to keep them busy, you're going to have some days to fill. I'm a big proponent of FREE activities like local parks, lakes, fountains and more. Will you be visiting the local zoo, children's museum or community pool?
How much does admission cost? Will you need to pay for parking? Can you bring your lunch in, or do you need to plan for buying something while there? Is there a water park nearby? How much are tickets, and are there any options for getting a cheaper deal, such as through Groupon or a sponsored day? Will you need to plan for additional tanks of gas to get there? Try to think of any related costs for spending a day away from home, and make sure you capture them in your planning.
4. Higher A/C and Cooling Bills. The summer heat is coming for you, if it hasn't reached you already. Your air conditioner will be running a lot more to keep up with the heat. If you don't have A/C, you likely will have multiple fans setup in the house. Trust me, having those fans running all day will be a jolt to your electricity budget.
5. School Supplies. I know, I know. They just got out of school, and I'm saying you should budget for next year's school supplies? Yes, I am. Those sales start happening in July. In fact, Amazon often includes some school supplies in the Prime Day event, too.
Hunt down the previous year's supply list for your child's upcoming grade and see if you can pick up some of those items while they go on deep discount. Plus, if you wait until the end of August, all those cool pencil cases, folders and binders will be sold out. (By the way, am I the only one that wishes my girls could experience a Trapper Keeper? I still fondly remember the one I had with all those heart-shaped bubbles on it... even though the thing was pretty broken down by mid-year.)
6. School Clothes. Due to the size of this budget item, I feel it deserves its own bullet on my "don't forget" list. Budget for it now so you can take advantage of summer back-to-school sales. The Nordstrom Anniversary sale happens every July, and you can score some well-made clothing that they'll outgrow before it starts to breakdown. Every other store will have sales over the summer too, from Old Navy to Target and more. Have your fund ready to go so you don't miss out on the cute tops and sale prices.
7. Family Events and BBQs. It can cost a little or a lot to feed a crowd. If you're hosting or if you're bringing something to a family get together, put it in your budget. This might mean budgeting extra for your grocery store or Costco trips for food, or it could mean picking up some beach toys or backyard games. Don't forget the decorations and serving utensils!
In making this list, I've even realized some things I forgot in my own household budget!