Pool floats and umbrella drinks don't come cheap.
More than half of all Americans (52%) spend more money in the summer than they do during cooler parts of the year, according to a new study from MassMutual. Of those who admit to spending more during the summer, two-thirds of the 1,001 people surveyed said it's a "desire to make the most of summer that causes their spending to spike."
More women actually said they spend more money in the summer (55%) compared to men (52%). MassMutual Head of Insurance Operations Amanda Wallace explained why in a comment emailed to The Motley Fool.
"While the fear of missing out [FOMO] is not new, it is interesting to see that its impact on spending seems to peak in the summer, particularly among women," she said. "Our consumer poll found that women were nearly 50% more likely to spend because of FOMO than men, perhaps due to social media influences and roles in the household."
You can have fun and be responsible
Spending a little more in the summer may make sense for many people. If you have kids, they are out of school, and people who live in northern states may spend less in winter if bad weather keeps them at home.
Having fun in the sun, however, should be something that's at least planned. That makes it troubling that nearly 1-in-3 survey respondents said they don't have a budget for summer spending, and 63% of those with a budget said they "are more impulsive when it comes to spending in summer compared to the rest of the year," and may go off their plans.
Wallace said via email that it's important to keep some focus on your long-term goals.
"In the midst of barbeques, concerts and outdoor activities during the summer, or #PeakFOMO, remember to show some love to saving while you're at it," she added. "It's all about balance and creativity."
What should you do?
As summer heads toward its end, take stock of where you stand. Have you already overspent? If you have, then it might be time to put in some austerity measures to get yourself back on track.
If, however, you have generally been responsible, you should make a budget for the rest of the warm season. Can you afford a trip, or should you keep your fun a little closer to home?
Know your own finances and consider making sacrifices if it allows you to do something you want. Maybe not eating out as often and putting off a big purchase allows you room in your budget for a weekend at the beach -- or perhaps you have to settle for a few days at the community pool.
It's better to miss out on a few summer outings than to allow credit card debt to cause long-term problems, or to not have the funds needed to cover an emergency. You can have summer fun on a budget, and you should if that's what your finances dictate.