Americans Are Spending $765 More Per Month This Summer as FOMO Kicks In

by Maurie Backman | Published on Aug. 28, 2021

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A group of laughing friends sharing pizza and beers on a rooftop at night under decorative string lights.

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New data shows that Americans are spending more in an effort to live it up. But that could be driving some people closer to debt.

Many Americans spent the summer of 2020 cooped up at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. And while the Delta variant is definitely impacting some summer plans this year, a lot of people may be more comfortable traveling and going out after having gotten vaccinated.

It's not surprising, then, that consumer spending is up. Americans are spending an average of $765 more per month this summer than they did last summer, according to new research from MassMutual.

Millennials and Gen Z are leading the pack on the spending front, plunking down $1,016 more per month this summer than at the same time last year. The experiences they're spending the most on are dining out and travel.

Of course, for some people, this uptick in spending relates to FOMO -- fear of missing out on the fun. But some people may be spending more not to keep up with their peers, but to make up for last year's disappointing summer.

If you've been spending a lot more money this summer, there's a chance you may be putting yourself at risk of debt. Or, you may be dipping into your savings when you shouldn't. So if you intend to keep spending a lot more money in the near term, here are some important steps worth taking.

1. Get on a budget

Maybe you earn enough that you can afford to spend additional money this summer. If so, there's nothing wrong with indulging. But without a budget, you may not be in a good position to make that call. So if you don't have a budget already, take some time to set one up.

You can write out a budget on paper or use a basic spreadsheet. Or you can use one of the many budgeting apps out there to streamline the process. The benefit of using an app is that you'll get to link up your bank and credit card accounts for better accuracy.

2. Pick up a side job

If you want to make sure that you don't end up taking on debt in the course of spending more money, then it pays to get a side gig on top of your main job. Since your earnings from it won't be earmarked for existing bills, you can spend all of the additional money you earn on leisure and entertainment. Just don't forget some of those earnings need to be set aside for taxes, as you may not have taxes taken out up front like you do in your regular paycheck.

If you're not sure what side hustle to get, think about your schedule and interests. If you like interacting with people, working weekend shifts at a restaurant may be a good position for you. If you prefer to work independently, look at doing data entry, content writing, or other tasks that can be performed at home.

3. Sell some belongings you don't need

You probably have some items sitting around your home just taking up space. Unloading those items is a good way to give yourself extra spending money -- and free up storage space. You can sell your belongings online, at a yard sale, or through a consignment store.

It's not surprising that a lot of people are spending more money this summer than last summer. And you deserve to enjoy the season to the fullest. Just make sure you don't wreck your finances in the process.

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