Why do we spend more during spring and summer?
Spring has sprung, and so have our spending habits. We take a look at how the changing seasons affect your finances.
5 min read
The signs of spring are a welcome sight, and it’s no wonder that many of us want to get out and enjoy the longer days and warmer weather. But as winter begins to fade, spring isn’t the only thing that has sprung — the way we spend our hard-earned cash does, too.
So, why do we spend more money during the warmer months? In this article, we take a closer look at how you can keep a handle on your finances while still enjoying the spring and summer splurge.
The unexpected cost of warmer weather
Around Christmas and New Year's, with seemingly endless dinners, events, and presents for friends and family to pay for, our wallets tend to take a significant and noticeable hit. However, the festive season is short lived and the winter months that follow are often quiet, thanks in part to some pretty underwhelming weather, which can lessen the impact that all the spending may have on your bank account balance.
The much-anticipated arrival of spring brings excitement, energy, and plenty of opportunities to get out of the house, which often come with a price tag. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy spring properly. Being aware of the warm weather habits that can drive up your spending is the first step. This can help you stay in control of your costs and not give into the temptation to spend — at least, not too much.
Which expenses affect your seasonal spending?
It makes sense that certain expenses, like electricity and gas, come down during the warmer months of the year. For most people, though, this isn’t enough to offset the springtime spike in other costs.
The good news? Some careful planning can help reduce any potential risk to your financial health. After all, it isn’t inevitable that you’ll blow your budget as soon as spring rolls around. The main thing is identifying the biggest potential culprits and drivers of increased spending — ideally before the season is in full swing.
Budgeting made easy
Drinking and eating out
As the weather gets nicer, more restaurants and bars across Europe begin to open their outdoor spaces. Terraces and patios quickly fill up with patrons excited to catch some fresh air and a few drinks with friends and family. In Spain, people drink a third of their annual beer consumption during the summer months, according to data from Business Insider. If you factor in other seasonal products like ice cream, the expense of drinking and eating out shoots up significantly when the weather gets warm.
Of course, we’re not saying you should stop eating out altogether during the warmer months! But being mindful of this tendency can help you create a budget, or consider how often you’re going out for a meal or drinks.
Updating your wardrobe
Rising temperatures mean putting away your winter coats and digging out sandals, shorts, and bathing suits. However, the change of seasons might also reveal that you’re in need of a wardrobe refresh. Whether you’re replacing pants that don’t fit or a stained tank top that has seen too much sunscreen, a seasonal shopping spree can really add up. On top of that, you might want to try out some new trends or get specialty items for this year’s holiday.
To avoid straining your budget, consider buying clothes out of season, taking advantage of sales, or thrifting secondhand items (which also benefits Mother Earth). Shopping at local or sustainable brands can be another good idea, as high quality items don’t need to be replaced as often.
It’s true that soaring utility costs in the winter can leave you looking for ways to save on your gas bill. However, warmer temperatures don’t necessarily mean you can forget about your energy usage. You might rely on fans or even air conditioners to beat the heat and cool down your home during peak summer months. This can come with a price tag, too.
To fight rising temperatures in your home, think about things like air circulation, insulation, and alternative cooling techniques. You can also try to offset your energy use with LED light bulbs and by only using household appliances during off-peak hours.
Many people spend the whole year saving for a luxurious vacation come summertime. While 5-star hotels or international trips might sound tempting, they also aren’t cheap. You might want to consider alternatives or a compromise to lessen any sticker shock at the end of a trip. After all, it’s not just the cost of your hotel and travel that you need to cover, but also the in-destination expenses.
Since vacations aren’t a fixed monthly expense (at least not for most people!), there can be a higher risk of spending beyond your means. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, consider creating a realistic vacation budget — and then stick to it as closely as possible.
A study from the Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan highlighted how we become more impulsive and susceptible to the opinion of others in the warmer months, thanks to our more positive attitudes overall. This often translates into spending money on things you didn’t plan or budget for — or on things you don’t even really want!
In these cases, it’s worth taking your time before making sudden purchases, or budgeting a little money each month for impulse buys.
Saving with N26
Budgeting isn’t your strong suit? N26 gives you easy-to-use tools to help you keep track of your finances and save for the things that matter most to you. With instant notifications whenever money enters or leaves your account, it’s simple to stay on top of your spending. Plus, Spaces sub-accounts let you put money safely aside, whether it’s for your summer vacation or a new warm weather wardrobe. Check out our accounts and find the one that’s perfect for you.
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