Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy

Oh, June. You hold so much for us; Father’s Day, Summer Solstice, the last day of school for a happy bunch of students, and lazy, hazy weekends spent contemplating yard work but maybe never actually getting there. With only a thirty-day stretch until July, the whole month feels like a single busy weekend before Canada Day, when we all finally get to take a breather and enjoy the breeziness of a national holiday.

So how, during this busy month, can we use our time and resources wisely to ensure that June doesn’t pass us by or wear us down?

It all begins with time management. We all have obligations and commitments that are important, if not beloved, and require steady effort and attention. These things are what I like to call “Time Definers”; work and school schedules, family events like birthday celebrations or religious get-togethers, and the like. The space between is, of course, “Free Time”. June is liminal; a period where Time Definers, like your kids’ school schedules, dissolve into the realm of Free Time. Do not be fooled by the lovely chime of this transition! Freedom from routine is always a wonderful change but structure should never lose its relevance.

To take control of this interlude, suggest summer programs to your children and adopt a new hobby for yourself. A lemonade stand is a great way to learn about the fruits of labor and is excellent practice for future employment and money management! Another great place to start is at community centers, where there are fun programs for kids as well as adults.

Another key factor to slowing down the season is to maintain responsible use of our resources. With the up-rise of Free Time, the emergence of Father’s Day and other summertime socials, our pockets tend to lighten up without our even realizing it.

Composing a weekly budget would help to battle this, as would tracking our transactions with good old fashioned pen and paper. Yet an even simpler method would do the trick and lies at the base of budgeting and balancing; think before you swipe! Ask yourself questions like “Is this the most efficient use of my money?” It seems obvious but this kind of logic is often absent when spouses and children opt to buy Dad a new toy before considering the extra expense as something that could be used for the whole family—say, a trip to an amusement park— that would be a better use of time and money.

As we enter a season free in time and worry, it is up to us to become the master of our resources so that we can enjoy every moment of the ever-lengthening days of summer.