How our spending habits change with the seasons

There's a reason you seem to have holes in your pockets when summer rolls around


As summer quickly approaches, St Andrews students face many changes; days get longer, coats get lighter and unfortunately, wallets get emptier. A lot about the warmer months is conducive towards a heavy spending.

While the end of school means an end to long labs and late library nights, all of the newly acquired free time also seems to make it hard to resist costly activities such as traveling, brunching, shopping, and drinking.

According to a study published by BBC News, over half of a consumer’s annual budget is spent in summer, the warmest quarter of the year. This staggering statistic shows just how hard it can be to kick expensive habits when the sun’s up and the sky’s blue.

One productive way to avoid the summer spending spree is to get a job or internship. With a resume to build and a summer to fill, working can be a responsible, advantageous, and even fun way to spend your days. The idea of making money instead of spending money is obviously good in theory, but unfortunately the Wall Street Journal released a study showing the trend of consumers to spend more money when they make more money.

Essentially, knowing they have money coming in causes consumers to spend more than they otherwise. It is a tricky balance to grasp, but with this phenomenon in mind you might just be able to avoid excess.

While earning to save is never a bad idea, there is no harm in splurging a little this summer; all things in moderation, as they say. Traveling is an enriching experience that many people only have time for in the summer. While it can be expensive, the rewards for seeing a new country, city or town is well worth the price of the trip. In addition to traveling, the decrease in academic responsibilities means more nights out. Again, the price of fun, food and drinks can quickly add up, but with a short window of carefree time, don’t feel too bad tapping your card a few extra times.

As in winter, people turn to indoor activities when the weather is too hot or cold for the beach. In such times, shopping becomes very popular. As a temperate, leisurely activity, many people stroll storefronts for hours spending money and avoiding heat. Studies from Time Magazine suggest that the more daylight hours that are in a day, the more a person will spend that day. Perhaps unfortunately, northern countries like ours get quite a few extra hours towards the solstice, so be extra cautious while roaming the sunlit streets at 10 in the evening to avoid unnecessary spending.

If you are looking to save this summer than there are numerous ways to have an unforgettable summer without breaking your bank account. Instead of dining indoors at nicer restaurants, utilize the warmth and light to try more casual places, food stands or food trucks, or spread out on the grass or sand and picnic. They’re all inexpensive and enlivening alternatives to a stuffy indoor eatery. Ditch the usual glass of wine you would have with dinner and split a pitcher of frozen margaritas with a few friends. It’s seasonal and it’s social, and, if you know where to go, it can be affordable, too.

Lastly, instead of expensive festivals and activities, take advantage of the warmth to be outdoors in the sunshine. The endless fun of picnicking at the beach in the warm sand, having a barbecue in your yard at home, or exploring your town by foot and hiking to beautiful views are all free and easy ways to fill your summer with unforgettably happy memories without stressing over your budget.

Without a doubt, hot weather affects consumer behavior. Between the long sunny days, the happy moods, good food, and free time, there is no way, and perhaps no good reason, to avoid spending some money on having a good summer. It is, however, possible to keep costs to a minimum by picking a few costly events and alternating with free beach days or days spent at work making money.



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