Summer has arrived, and along with this season’s super long days, crop tops and sun-soaked BBQs comes the temptation to drop half your paycheck on outdoor everything (read: happy hour, movies, concerts, etc.). Where does that leave you if you’re on a budget? We culled some of our favorite Scrimp City series columns to find answers. The column features hardwon lessons—and some honest money mistakes—from women across a wide range of salaries and careers who have problem-solved their way to actual savings solutions.
Ahead, some Scrimp City tried-and-true money lessons that will help you cut loose this summer without sacrificing your savings.
It’s officially sandal weather, which means it’s becoming harder and harder to resist splurging on a pedicure. Take a tip from one Scrimp City saver,a production manager in Los Angeles, Calif., who shared with Girlboss that she keeps her budget low without sacrificing self-care.
“Saturday days are my ‘me days,’” she said. “That means: Hair mask, face mask, at-home mani/pedi, and a clean shave… I get little bliss from nail salons and even massage parlors because usually, I’m more focused on whether I’m breaking the bank than I am on the chill factor. I do, however, enjoy finding the time to paint my own nails every other week. The means I spend a maximum of $20 every few months to replenish polish.”
Balmy summer nights practically call for a pricey cocktail—or, like, four—plus there’s tons of other spendy warm weather fun to be had. How do you have a (mostly) spend-free summer without crying? Two Scrimpers found a solution: They set aside roughly $75 a week to do whatever they want.
One Scrimper, who works inpublic relations in San Diego, Calif.shared, “I am trying not to spend more than $75 each week so the vast majority of my paycheck is going to either my regular bills or being stocked away for my upcoming travels.”
Anaccount manager from Chicago, Ill.found that $75 was a realistic amount for her to set aside for having a good time, too.
“I mostly stick to my $75 budget to have fun or go out and I put everything else on hand toward my debt,” she said. “You see, paying off debt isn’t sexy. But the feeling once you’ve done it? It’s absolutely thrilling.”
OK, so not all of us are lucky enough to have employers who will shell out cash for our lunch hour but one Scrimper, asystems analyst from Glendale, Calif., found a creative way to score a free meal when she was on a tight budget.
“For lunch, I volunteered to take a new employee to lunch on behalf of the company (i.e. I’m reimbursed for the cost of lunch),” she said. “This worked out perfectly because I hadn’t gone to the grocery store yet to buy food for lunch for the week. I got to enjoy lunch on behalf of the company and bond with a new co-worker.” Does your job have a similar set-up for welcoming new employees? It’s worth it to ask.
One Scrimper, an event and education coordinator fromLos Angeles, Calif., nearly blew her budget in the early stages of her challenge—on, um, ice cream sandwiches. She shared, “I spent $13.69 on a Postmates order for ice cream sandwiches with my roommate. I will say… I’m not the happiest about indulging on dessert on Day 1 of my Scrimp City challenge.”
No shame on reaching for a frosty treat, especially when it’s blazing hot outside. But there are, of course, cheaper options to satisfy your sweet tooth—don’t let yourself overpay for a frozen dessert. You might regret it later.
Treks to the beach, cruising to a festival, or boozey day trips can add up. How do you not miss out while still having some fun? One Scrimper, who works in public relations inSan Diego, came up with a solid money-saving strategy.
“I drove from San Diego to visit friends in Los Angeles for the long weekend and I carpooled with another friend. I don’t think people do this enough, but it really does help make the cost more manageable,” she said. “We spent $30 on gas ($15 split between a friend and me). My car is already very fuel efficient (I usually spend $60 on gas per month) but I was happy I was able to trim costs further.” Next time you need to save on gas? Try carpooling.