Spring Expenses: Are You Ready?
We just got our first – and most like, our only – snow of the winter season where I live; so, naturally, what better time to start thinking about spring expenses?
I’m one of those people who absolutely adores the season of spring. From the warm spring breezes to the fresh smell to the feeling of renewal and rebirth, I can’t help but feel optimistic when the calendar flips from February to March to April, as the ground turns from a snowy white to a ruddy brown to a vibrant green. It’s a season of growth.
That growth, unfortunately, can apply to our expenses too. There are a plethora of spring expenses that dampen our budget every year. I tend to forget about a lot of these extra costs, which creates an even bigger burden on our ability to stick to a budget. Here are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to slipping my mind year in and year out:
- New mulch. My husband has done a nice job of saving yard trimmings and fall leaves to use as mulch this spring, but it’s not going to be enough. Although it will cover all our flower beds, it doesn’t exactly look pretty. Each year, we find ourselves heading to the local nursery to buy several bags of the aesthetically-pleasing shredded-bark mulch, which we’ll layer on top of the stuff we made for free. Cost – about $35-$50
- Medical costs. Each June, I start the annual process of forgetting how horrible my family’s allergies were the preceding spring; by February, I’ve all but pushed allergy season out of my mind. Then March dawns, the pine pollen starts falling, and before long, my entire family is in the doctor’s office. Four co-pays and four prescriptions later, our annual bout with allergies – and the sinus infections they almost always lead to – strip our savings account. Cost – about $150-$200
- Education expenses. Normally you think of the late summer or early fall when you think of the seasonal costs associated with education. But each March, my kids’ school holds its annual registration for the next school year, which, of course, comes with a registration fee. There are also more field trips in the spring, the annual spring carnival, and end-of-school parties… which I almost always forget about until the last minute. Cost – about $75-$100
- Price of gas. Each fall, as the temperatures drop, so do gas prices. The reason? North American refineries start pumping out winter-blend gas starting in November, which, according to Popular Mechanics, is “not as pure, and worse for the environment” as summer-blend gas. The other difference? Winter-blend gas is cheaper to make than the summer-blend fuel, and those savings are passed along to consumers. As winter ends and the weather heats up, gas prices always climb too, whether I remember it or not. Cost – $0.10-$0.20/gallon, although some of that is offset by slightly better fuel economy with the summer-blend gas
- Wedding season. I got married in the spring. So did my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law, two of my cousins, six former coworkers, and about a dozen friends. Spring season is wedding season. From the cost of traveling to these festivities to the expenses associated with buying wedding gifts and bridal shower presents, these seasonal expenses can really add up. This year, we haven’t received any wedding invites yet… but I know it’s still early. Cost – $200-$300
- Firing up the BBQ. My husband loves to grill, except if it’s cold, wet, or snowy out – which basically means he doesn’t grill from November thru February. He also fails to really clean some of his grilling tools during the off season, leading us to rebuy at least a few of them each year. Add in the cost of charcoal and lighter fluid, and it’s a small but routine cost I always manage to overlook. Cost – $15-$25
Then, of course, there are all of the seasonal costs I expect to encounter each spring:
- New clothes. About 90% of our annual clothing purchases are for my kids who, like dallas grass, grow like weeds.
- AC tune-up. We had a wiring issue with our AC last spring, which our HVAC guy (who happens to also be a very close friend, so I undoubtedly trust him) says was directly attributed to our decision to skip these annual tune-ups for a few years in a row.
- Travel costs. After a winter holed up in our house, spring means freedom, and freedom means travel, whether it’s a week at the beach, a day-trip to the mountains, or just a Sunday drive.
- Pool membership. Although this is may technically be a summer expense, our annual pool fees are due in early April to lock in the best deals.
Reader, which seasonal costs are you anticipating heading into the spring? Are you as ready for this season to arrive as I am?