School’s out for summer! To-do lists are shorter. Days are longer. And I’m actually sticking to my word and not teaching summer school. While that certainly makes room for relaxation, summer is also the perfect time for us to make some new money moves. Here’s our plan:
Get outside. Make no mistake about. There’s an entire industry designed to make you think that being outside needs to be expensive. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. Now, if I was going to take up through-hiking on the Continental Divide, I might be inclined to grab some gear. But for the kinds of hikes we do, gym shoes, backpacks, some sunscreen, and some bug spray will do just fine.
Use what you have. Here’s where I show off my ability to talk out of both sides of my mouth. I just said getting outside doesn’t have to be expensive. Now, I’m going to tell you that I bought a kayak. It’s true. I did. I bought the cheapest one I could find that seemed like it would withstand exactly the type of paddling I would do. It cost $250. Six years ago. I use it spring, summer, and fall, and I even hefted myself into when I was 25, 30, and even 35 weeks pregnant. With lighter schedules, this is the perfect time for us to make use of what we already own.
Do curb checks. So far, my son’s favorite toys were from someone’s curb. Ditto for two plastic swimming pools and a sled. We’ve also accepted a ton of hand-me-downs. I felt a little guilty at first, but now I am team second-hand all the way. I’m fairly confident that if there are any other summer fun items that he needs, we can probably scoop them up for free.
Decluttering and reselling. Instead of trying to resell all my clutter, I’m adopting a much simpler approach. The big ticket items can go on Poshmark or local resale sites. Everything else is either getting donated or headed to consignment. To keep the green theme going, though, I am going to try to donate in my local resale groups or by posting curb alerts of my own. My hope is that we can walk away with an extra $500 headed toward our mortgage by the end of summer.
Going green. Last year, I got really good at turning down the thermostat. I thought I could hang at our usual 78 during the day, 76 at night, but then I realized that I was a walked pregnancy cliche. When it hit 90 outside and I turned in Violet, I went
rolling running for the AC. This summer, we plan on keeping it warmer inside, switching out the rest of our lighting for LED, and making a few other green changes.
Eating greens. I’m still not entirely convinced the gardening is always an exercise in frugality, but it is nice to do a lot of the meal planning based around what we grow. I’m also working on finding more meatless meals to add to our repertoire. If we are going to eat meat, it is only at dinner time. My hope is that I will find enough recipes and inspiration from my garden this summer that we can go totally meatless at least several days a week. (No, dear husband, in the off chance that you are reading this, that does not mean cheese pizza on the grill from breakfast, lunch, and dinner.)
Side hustling strategically. I’m focusing on ghostwriting and freelancing this summer. I can work from anywhere, and I want my summer break to feel more like a mini-retirement and less like the school year.
Setting up other investments. Our Roths are already maxed for the year, which means that I get to continue my obnoxious happy dance on Twitter each month when we can throw a bunch of money at our mortgage debt. But I recently discovered that I now have the option of opening a 403(b) that I can manage myself. My work still won’t partner with Vanguard (no one is perfect but this is a serious character flaw), but I’m so thrilled to have an option that doesn’t involve annuities or a broker.
Climbing the income ladder. I aspire to earn six figures. I would like to get there sooner rather than later. Tomorrow sounds nice. But alas, I’m beholden to my district’s salary schedule. Still, I am working on maxing it out by finishing up my last graduate course ever. While it isn’t always true that you have to spend money to make money, it certainly is the case here.
Getting sushi. You read that right. My plan is to go out for sushi at least once a month. Because we can. And it’s my favorite. And because I need to get better at spending money happily.
So Tell Me…What are you doing with your money this season?