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Keep a Watchful Eye on Summertime Spending

Here in the midst of summer it’s easy to let spending get out of control. Kids are home from school, the family wants a vacation and there are so many “quick trips” to the mall or store that get made on a regular basis. But with some common-sense rules, you won’t blow your budget.

Do not take on debt. Sure, summer is time for relaxing but you don’t have to spend large amounts of money to do so. Overspending – especially with credit cards – creates long-term problems. Focus on low-cost ways to enjoy yourself.

Vacation or “staycation?” If you have decided to go on vacation, shop effectively and do your research. Find the best rates for travel, hotels, car rentals, etc… If it’s a stay-cation that works best for the family, find inexpensive enjoyment, such as a lake for fishing or swimming, a beach for fun in the sand, or a mountain area for a picnic or hike. All provide an enjoyable time with minimal expense.

Weekday travel. Be flexible with your vacation plans. Travel is normally much cheaper if done during the week. You can find better deals on airfare and hotels and normally many more options for a better price.

Pack lightly. If you are flying somewhere for a summer vacation, remember not to pack everything in the house. Airline baggage fees can range up to $40 a bag and that gets expensive with the whole family. Try to stick with carry-on bags when possible or find airlines that don’t implement a baggage fee.

Emergency fund. Sometimes even the best laid summer vacation plans fall apart. There will inevitably be some unforeseen expenses that crop up, and that’s OK. Make sure you have enough funds set aside for when you return home. Putting money aside for your vacation is great, but remember there will be bills waiting for you when you return home as well.

While on vacation, be sure to monitor your accounts right from your smart phone with a mobile banking app. Rabobank just released its new mobile banking app that allows you to access your account anytime, anywhere with your Android device, iPhone or iPad. You can deposit checks right from your phone, check balances and recent transactions, transfer funds, pay bills and more.

Michael Drapeau is Rabobank, N.A. Financial Services Officer in Murrieta. Rabobank, N.A. has 119 retail branches in California, including Murrieta.