We can look backwards and see fun with friends, maybe a weekend away or a family vacation, maybe an investment in a piece of new outdoor "summer" equipment, like a canoe or tent...and while we are very happy to have treasured memories, to have enjoyed life...the stinging nettle of our financial pinch hurts, badly.
When it happens to you, don't regret giving yourself a fuller and better quality of life. Pay your bills with a smile. To do otherwise takes life itself for granted. You're lucky you had this summer to enjoy. You're lucky you had people to enjoy it with. If you're even luckier and live a long life, there will be lonely, joyless summers ahead. Luckier still, many to come. Look at the pinch as a reality check, but not in the way you might think.
Your life is a long-term investment. And over the course of that life, what will your summer spending really add up to? Pennies a day, if that? The money only helps to facilitate an improved QUALITY that transcends pain, and for all we know, maybe even life and death. You may regret summer spending if you feel the pinch, but you can't regret the special moments you created, the improved quality of life for not just yourself, but the others connected to you. In the span of space and time, when you do ultimately face those long, lonely summers--what is it you will think of? You will think of the summer 2010. With a smile, you'll remember what you did, and with whom, even how much it cost--and you'll l augh. Your memories will keep you company; they will be your emmisaries of joy. You're making a long-term investment in life. Feeling the pinch means that while your bank account will suffer a short-term withdrawal, you made a long-term deposit in your life's store that will fuel you throughout the next year and beyond.
But it still hurts--only because if you are feeling the summer pinch, it means the fun is over. It means it's time to gear down EVERYTHING to prepare for what's ahead. Yes, fall means going back to school and college; it means apple picking, pumpkin carving and Halloween; it means gathering in a warm house full of delicious smells and eating too much pie. All GREAT things. The return of cashmere and holiday red and green on your ski poles peeks around fall's corner. As wonderful as each season may be, the summer seems to hold a special place for all of us. We don't want it to end, and that hurts as much as the cost.
Sunday is August 1st. If you feel the pinch, you should also feel less regret about that date. To help stave off some of the pain, begin to plan one terrific thing for summer 2011--whether it's a reunion, a weekend trip, or a gathering for friends. Humans are goal-driven creatures. But we're also creatures who thrive on companionship. Sometimes those two things are at odds when money is a factor. Take control and don't let that happen. I'm not suggesting you spend beyond your means--not at all. Make a summer budget and stick to it. Begin a special savings account just to tuck money away for next summer...for those nights when you want to walk down to the local ice creamery with your family, for those unexpected summer expenses, for that weekend camping trip. People do it for Christmas all the time. Why not for summer??? If you do, your summer pinch wil be less painful this time next year. And so will everything else.
Until next time, dearest readers....