Tales from the Wallet: Seasonal Spending

seasonal spending budget tipsHere’s a fun question for today: Do you think you spend more in certain seasons? How do your strategies for saving or budgeting change from season to season — and what do you think your biggest money challenges are for each season? For those of you at big law firms and companies with extensive summer intern/summer associate programs, do you actively plan to bolster your savings this summer when there are so many firm-sponsored outings, to take care of things like food/drink/entertainment/transportation?

Pictured: love this floral wallet from Halogen for $89 (affiliate link). 

For my $.02, I definitely spend differently in different seasons, although I’m not sure which season I spend more during. A few ways my spending changes from season to season, off the top of my head:

  • Food, summer vs. winter: When the weather’s nice we’re more likely to stop in to a local restaurant or bar for a cocktail and some food, whereas in winter we’re more likely to head home ASAP… but ordering in is definitely more frequent in the winter. When it’s summer I tend to buy more prepared foods, more veggies (lettuce, avocados, strawberries) that are more likely to go bad and be thrown out, whereas in winter I tend to cook things from the freezer or use root vegetables that last for a long time. I also think that my “yay, it’s summer!” tastes are more expensive than my winter tastes — more sushi, sashimi, oysters, and fancy salads. More money spent: I’ll bet summer. 
  • Clothes, summer vs. winter: I think I spend more in winter because I tend to prefer winter clothes, and it feels like I’m forever on the hunt for the perfect cashmere sweater, the perfect pair of booties, jeans, coat, etc., whereas for summer I have my favorites, and while I may buy a new iteration of ___ (a black t-shirt dress, a pair of sandals), I’m probably not buying an entirely new shape or trend. Plus, it feels like all the good sales are in the winter or at the very end of summer. More money spent: I’ll bet winter.
  • Activities, summer vs. winter: This gets into family spending, but we definitely spend more on activities for the kids in summer vs. winter. I think even before we had kids, though, I spent more on activities — more dinners out, more planned events with friends, more day trips to places like outlet malls. More money spent: I’ll bet summer. 
  • Random splurges, summer vs. winter: I’m much more likely to take a cab when it’s lousy weather, whereas in nicer weather I walk more — but in the summer I’m more likely to run out to pick something up for a quick treat, like a frozen yogurt, whereas in winter I’m more likely to stay put. More money spent: I’ll bet summer. 

How about you guys? Do you think you spend more when the weather is nice, or lousy? Do you impose different budgeting rules on yourself at different times of the year?

All social media collage pictures via Pixabay.

How to Change Your Budget Each Season | Seasonal spending budget tips | how to adjust your budget with the seasons | how to spend less money at different times of the year

Seasonal spending budget tips | How to Change Your Budget Each Season | how to adjust your budget with the seasons | how to spend less money at different times of the year



  1. Yes, I definitely spend more on fall/winter clothing because I prefer the colors and the fabrics (I am a big fan of natural fibers, in particular wool.)

    I probably spend the most in January when all of these lovely things go on sale.

    • I tend to spend the bulk of my “free cash flow” in the last 3 months of the year; primarily on gifts for my family and friends, and on end-of-year vacation (usually between Christmas and New Years), as I support our capital markets group and our clients largely close down on new offerings at year end because of 10b-5 issues associated with full year financials. This year, I have decided to go to Cozumel for a week of pampering myself. If anyone has any specific recommendations, I would love to hear them!!!!!

    • Diana Barry :

      Yup, likewise. Although sometimes I buy tops in the summer and then never wear them (bc it is too cold).

  2. It doesn’t really fit with the above, but I’ll add all the graduations and wedding to late spring/summer.

  3. I plan ahead to purchase certain items during anticipated sale periods (President’s Day, NAS, the extended Black Friday period) and so my spending ramps up at those times. We also do most of our home maintenance spending between April and October. My child is in elementary school, so child care costs go way up during the summer.

  4. I spend more on clothes for winter because they are typically more expensive per piece. A new cotton button-down or popover for summer is, say, $50 on sale, but a new cashmere sweater is more likely $100-$250 depending on brand.

  5. Anyone know a good delivery florist in Takoma Park, MD? Looking to spend $50-$70 on an arrangement (not a plant) for residential delivery. Prefer more modern or organic styles rather than clusters of color-coordinated roses and lilies–honestly, if there’s a florist who would deliver, say, just a dozen peonies or ranunculus, that’d be perfect.

    • Okay, I see that Bouqs has arrangements that I’m into, and I know people have mentioned them here before. Are they reliably good quality?

      • KateMiddletown :

        I received a bouqs arrangement last year for Mother’s Day – it was delivered to a hotel we were at, and the staff put it in the room. It held up wonderfully (though it was a glorified carnation arrangement) and I was able to take it home in the car on an 8 hour trip with no issues. Highly recommend. Also, they’re big on instagram so check there for a coupon code if you can’t find one otherwise.

    • Check out Urbanstems.com

  6. Bay Area Lawyers? :

    Hi Everyone,

    I am looking for two separate lawyers in the Bay Area.

    Does anyone have recommendations for someone that does general purpose (looking at any number of issues for a small business) and separate recommendations for someone who specializes in tax law? Specifically we are looking for tax planning, asset protection and the like.

    I am not in law but read this board often and hope someone has some good recommendations. I’ve perused Yelp but it seems really heavy on DUI, personal injury types.

    Thank you!

    • For tax planning issues, you’ll need an accountant, not a lawyer. The accountant would then work with your business lawyer (and perhaps an estate planner, depending on your age and situation) as opposed to having two attorneys.

      Yelp is definitely not the way to go for professional services. If you have already tried asking for referrals from colleagues, your professional network, etc. then I would pick the CPA office from a regional firm in your area and start there. Once you get your CPA in place, they can refer to legal counsel.

    • I used this CPA for advice when I was setting up a consulting business:

      Lars Hansson (http://larsghanssoncpa.com/)

      He’s based in Alameda. I was referred to him, and I didn’t do a much broader search. Though it took a little trying to get an appointment with him, I found him to be pretty knowledgeable.

  7. I’m genuinely curious – is saving more money in the summer because of firm-sponsored events really a thing?

    • I mean, when I was on the firm hiring committee, my grocery bill definitely fell in the summer because I was eating on the firm’s dime so many nights of the week. So yeah, in a limited sense? Although we’re talking about a pretty short period…

    • For me it’s definitely not something I have or would save up for. And I would think it could cut both ways if you’re an associate participating in events — maybe you don’t buy yourself lunch a couple days because you’re taking out summers (though you may have to initially foot the bill and get reimbursed), but you’ll also pay more for after-party drinks/cabs/etc that may not get reimbursed. I think it’d net even.

    • Not in my opinion. Firm Sponsored Fun would take the place of me relaxing at home, not out spending money on touring the Art Museum after work.

      And frankly, there’s no such thing as a free lunch – maybe I “saved” $7 but I had to make small talk for an hour to do it.

  8. Anonymous :

    Not for me. I enjoy going to shows and dinners and stuff, but these are typically outings on a weeknight that I wouldn’t otherwise pony up for myself. They also don’t really diminish the expense of going out for dinner or what have you on the weekends, IMO.

    • Anonymous :

      Oops, this was a response for HSAL.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I mean, our company does a reward trip every summer and this is the first time I’ve qualified. It’s generally to a family friendly destination, like Orlando, Nashville, etc. We don’t typically take vacations that aren’t to visit out of town family members (except for attending weddings, the odd long weekend to the big city), so this is a plus. I’m assuming we’re going to spend a bunch of $ on transportation (3 kids + 2 adults, the firm only covers 2) and we’ll buy stuff along the way that the firm doesn’t cover like snacks. But other than that, it’s a bonus not a cost-saving measure. Same for all other reward trips/conferences… it’s not saving me any money since I spend a bunch on outfits and extras above the per diem.

  9. Blonde Consultant :

    Thread Jack! It’s our 3 year anniversary — the theme is leather! I was thinking of getting my husband a leather messenger bag. Anyone else done the same? Any recommendations? Looking for $200 – $500 range.

    • Shopaholic :

      I saw men with beautiful leather bags on the train from both Ted Baker and Coach.

    • Anonymous :

      I recently bought one for myself (they are typically marketed for men but I don’t see why a woman shouldn’t use one!). Skagen had a beautiful one (the Eric) that was just a little too big. The one I ended up buying was from Knomo (the Kinsale, but they have several nice options).

  10. anon a mouse :

    Our biggest expenses are always in the spring. It’s a combination of a tax bill (not huge, but always something) plus booking summer travel. I’m about to spend nearly $3K on airplane tickets for my family summer travel — two trips to see family for long weekends plus one family vacation for us. It’s budgeted for but still stings a little all at once.

    I will share a money tip that I learned from a friend. I put money both into an FSA and a DCSA. The program provider allows at open enrollment that you can opt to spread the payroll deductions over as many paychecks as you want. I picked 24 (paid biweekly). That means at the end of the year, when holidays hit, my last two paychecks are substantially bigger than the rest of the year. It’s a good cushion to have, just in case. It also means that I can go ahead and submit for dependent care reimbursement — I prefer to do it all at once because the claims process is a pain.

    • I don’t submit reimbursements until the end of the year so the money ends up like default savings, which is helpful after I do a lot of holiday shopping. Obviously I’m not really getting anything extra this way but it’s nice for default discipline.

  11. For our three year, I did a take on the leather theme and got my husband a leather Notre Dame football (his favorite team) and game tickets, flights and hotels for him and his dad for a weekend.

    I’ve had incredible success (and my husband gets lots and lots of compliments) on leather goods that I’ve gotten him from the company J Michael Ashland. It’s all handmade out in Oregon and the quality is incredible.

  12. I live in Florida so I only buy clothes during the spring and summer months. As much as I love fall and winter fashion, I just have no use for it.

  13. I do prefer more vibrant print and fabric of the clothes should be good. I love winter fashion but in our country its hardly stay for 2-3 months.

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