GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Summer can turn into a spending spree. Vacations, outdoor fun and activities for the kids can get expensive.  Local financial professional Justin Halverson from Great Waters Financial says if you're not careful, your budget can quickly derail. 

WHY ARE WE SPENDING MORE IN THE SUMMER?

There is so much to do in the summer, and much of it costs money.

It’s not just vacations that add up quickly. We are entertaining friends and family with outdoor parties, attending music festivals and splurging on sporting events. We’re sending the kids to camps and paying for activities to keep them occupied while school is out.

HOW CAN WE AVOID FINANCIAL MISTAKES DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS?

Budget, Budget, Budget!

Since we can anticipate many of our summer expenses ahead of time, budgeting will be key to staying on track with your finances.

Look for free activities for your family outing or date night. Movies in the park, museums and zoos might have a free night. Planning ahead will help your budget in the long run.

Control Credit Card Spending 

Don’t fall into the habit of charging summer expenses to your credit card.

Putting all the summer extras on a credit card could take you months or even years to pay off if you pay only the minimum and leave the remaining balance as revolving debt.

You can use credit cards responsibly if you only charge what you can afford to pay off each month. To make this work, track your charges like you would if you were using a checkbook.

Pay Attention to Details 

Believe it or not, being too busy can cost us money.

Our normal routines are thrown off by vacations and other activities, and that can lead to missing payments on bills or credit cards. Make sure you take care of those bills or put them on autopay before leaving town.

When you do leave town, put your mail on hold. Bills, banking information or other sensitive items will sit in your mailbox while you’re away, which could leave you more vulnerable to fraud.

No matter how busy you get, don’t forget the important things like checking your bank and credit card statements for fraudulent charges.

Prioritize Saving over Spending 

It’s easy to dream about your upcoming vacation versus thinking about what you’re going to be doing 5, 10 or 25 years from now.

But planning for the future is extremely important.

More than half of U.S. families are at risk of not being able to maintain their standard of living in retirement. 

A comprehensive plan includes everything from estate planning to tax efficiency to life insurance. We take all the components and make sure the plan works in your best interest.