Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Summer Savings

Riverside Park
I have a confession... I have not been as responsible with my money as I should be recently. In March, I went over my spending budget.

In April, however, I was right back on track.

This seems to happen every year at about this time. I think it's the end of winter doldrums and lowered amounts of vitamin D kicking into high gear -- I always spend more money right at the end of winter before those first few nice days turn into the more and more consistently nice days of spring.

My friends on the West Coast may think this is silly, considering they have had a lovely winter, but no matter how much I love the changing seasons, the end of winter always seems to get me. I'm fine and happy all through the deathly cold winter months, chanting a mantra of "there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing." But then those early, hopeful days of spring hit -- seemingly bringing short-term amnesia -- and suddenly, I can no longer remember how to dress for thirty degree weather, and am freezing each time the wind kicks up. A buddy recently called it denial, and I think she's quite right.

Whether it's denial or unfounded hope, it always passes in a few weeks of overspending. I purchase summer dresses, swimsuits, and summer-white pocketbooks all on a whim, nearly all of which need to be returned. It makes me fleetingly thankful for the still-chilly weather that forces me to not wear anything right away and realize I never needed it at all.

But once the summer warmth truly gets underway, I always find it so much easier to save money. Free concerts in the park, walking to work, unpacking the summer clothes that last from year to year (because summer is never as long as we think it is), visiting friends on boats or at summer houses, and going to picnics and barbecues instead of eating out at restaurants with friends. Summer is an easy time to save a little money by just spending more time outdoors.

This year I'm looking forward to spending more time at the ocean, and while I'm in the city, I plan to spend at least a little bit of every day in one of the many parks available to us. I love that I can walk through Central Park every morning, but my current favorite is walking through the Boat Basin out to Riverside Park and walking as far up or down as possible. If my back gets better soon, I might even be able to take advantage of the Riverside tennis courts!

The summer months are always full of such promise. What are you looking most forward to this year?

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