May: a fun but expensive month.

Ah, it’s finally spring/summer in New England, which comes all at once… flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, everyone’s airing out their lower legs and hopping on bicycles.  And I am spending more money than ever!  At least, more than during the winter months it seems.  And I doubt I am alone.  It seems like everywhere you turn, there are opportunities and occasions that did not come up at all through the dreary winter.

When it comes to spring/summer, I like to go in with a bang.  When the air first warms to a balmy 55 degrees after an arctic winter full of -2 degree crap, something in you says things like “let’s try out horseback riding!”  Horseback riding was totally fun, and kudos to Groupon for positioning clever seasonal picks like a bunch of pros.  I’ve actually always wanted to try, but it is funny to think back in how I jumped straight to that about 5 minutes after the ground thawed.

Then of course there are the weddings, which are so popular this time of year.  And the road trips and side trips that go along with those.  Good times all around and plenty of photo ops.  And restaurant and gas bills!

Along with weddings, other events, and just the weather changing, comes new wardrobe season.  For me it is mostly work wardrobe.  Because my pits can’t handle continuing to wear heavy woolen garments in the heat.  And my usually cheap summer clothes get pretty worn even in a single season.  And then there is the slippery slope, from getting new blouses to matching skirts to matching shoes…

Holidays: personally, and probably for many of you, there are a lot of family birthdays and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and graduation celebrations around the spring.  Not to mention Memorial Day Weekend, the official New England kickoff to summer!  (Being from Miami, Memorial Day never had a particular meaning other than the holiday observance.  Up here it is a whole epic scene around which major life events are planned.)  All are great but require careful budget planning…

Let me also make a note about gardening: all winter long Lowes is a dried up place where you go to get plumbing piece-parts and maybe a decorative toilet paper holder.  Then in April the Garden Center gets all its stuff in.  And before you know it, you’ve got grass seed, garden seeds, new water sprinklers, weed killer, new ladies’ gloves, little sharp hand trowels, more grass seed (it’s never enough), new rake.  And sometimes you rent a roto-tiller.  Because the backyard isn’t going to give itself a make-over.  And then you need to buy little fencing to keep the rabbits out of your garden.  And then maybe you buy a plum tree to really seal the deal.  All I can say is: the garden is full of sprouting goodies now.

Drawing still from my South Florida background, I have to say it is amazing to see the flora (and fauna) transformation in spring up here.  Just as resilient little flowers poke out of the thawed ground, brave souls poke their heads out the door and need to GET OUT AND DO SOMETHING.  Even as our eyes are itching and nostrils burning, spring makes our blood boil to get the hell out of the house and find some new amusement in the great outdoors.

Nature is beautiful and I am among the first and most frequent to find outdoor recreation.  Family visits and weddings are wonderful.  All of it is great really.  But it is putting a hurting on my wallet! Not terribly, because I am not extravagant.  But it is relatively easy to gain momentum saving money throughout the cold, quiet winter.  Then the momentum shifts underneath you in the direction of spending bits of money here and there for the luxury of enjoying rare, good New England weather.

I should probably start budgeting annually, taking into account winter frugality and summer spending patterns.  Then it would not be so surprising and frustrating.  And then I could go back to enjoying everything that is so great about the majesty of New England’s rare “spring/summer” season.  Such as watching your sugar snap peas grow while ushering the chickens around the yard.  If kept in check, it is worth a few more dollars.


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