The winding up of summertime is typically bittersweet.
On the one hand, it represents the passing of time and the progression of the year into bigger and better things – working towards meeting those New Year’s resolutions, perhaps.
On the other hand, the great Australian summer is an institution — no one likes to see the end of unrelentingly sunny days, backyard cricket tournaments and hours spent lounging on the beach. After the glorious warmer months, it can be difficult to transition back into any other season.
One thing that might somewhat cushion the blow of summer’s absence is the effect it could have on the state of your savings account. As good as summer is, there are a number of expenses associated with it that we won’t feel sad to see go.
No more going on a summer holiday
Unless you’re a contractor or casual employee, the coveted Australian summer holiday is an annual must-do. It’s a time to unwind, have a stress-free week or few and make the most of what the season – and Australian geography – has to offer.
Unfortunately, it also tends to cost a pretty penny. According to research released by the Tourism and Transport Forum, the average Australian family expected to spend just short of $1,400 on their main summer holiday. This varied depending on which state respondents were from, with Victorians expecting to spend the highest, at $1546, though those from New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia were not far behind.
Just think what you could do with all that money! Rather than of spending it on accommodation, eating out and tourist experiences, you could put it into a high interest savings account instead.
Cool down your energy spending
Australian summers are known as much for their ferocity as for their fun factor, with many of us relying on technology to keep ourselves comfortable when the mercury rises. This can add a fair amount to our power bills by the time the season is over.
According to 2015 stats from YourPowerQld.com.au, a joint initiative of Ergon Energy and Energex, blasting that air conditioner can end up costing you as much as $707 per summer. This isn’t just a private cost. Summer adds expenses to businesses too, with the Energy Efficiency Exchange estimating that heating, ventilation and air-conditioning are responsible for around 25-50 per cent of a business’ energy bills.
By contrast, you might find it easier to keep warm during winter without resorting to appliances, such as by wearing warmer clothes and extra layers, leaving the door open when you take a shower, exercising and even just good old fashioned blankets.
Less opportunities to pull out the wallet
Even apart from these factors, summer tends to be a month of higher spending. When the weather’s good and everyone’s more sociable, there’s more opportunities to pull out the credit card and spend, whether it’s a simple stroll turning into a shopping trip, or deciding to eat out at a fancy restaurant to enjoy the beautiful weather.
An eZonomics poll from May 2014 found as much, with a sizeable majority — 55.2 per cent to be exact — nominating summer as the season in which they spend the most money. There’s a psychological reason for this. A joint study between the University of Alberta School of Business and the University of Winnipeg Faculty of Business and Economics found that as exposure to sunlight increases, so does consumer spending. More sunlight improved individuals’ moods, which made consumer products more attractive to them.
So as summer gradually comes to a close, you can take solace in the fact that your bank accounts will at least be happier in the coming months. And while you’re at it, start comparing term deposits and see how you can make the most of what you save.