How We Save All School Year for Our Summers Off

Mr. Frugal Mom$ter, Chris, and I both work in education. We only get paid ten months out of the year and two months we’re on the hook for paying our bills without a paycheck flowing in the door. More often than not we know teachers who have to work all summer in order to cover their bills and that seems like such a bummer to us.

When I moved from working in the public library into a school library seven years ago, I vowed to make it work without having to work in the summer. I was getting a slight bump in salary for less weeks of work so I saw no reason why I should have to work those extra weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, both positions end up being around the same though, as my public library job offered 5 weeks paid vacation (often unheard of on day one of any job). So, I averaged a slightly higher salary, at first, and about 3 less weeks of work overall with no flexibility in time off.

The inflexibility gets to me at times, but I much prefer having the summers off to having to request those days off as I did before. The public library was the opposite of the school library, as the summer months were busy and we were unable to take vacations. Winter months were slower and we could use our time easily then, but it never linked up with Chris’ time off. Plus, I love the heat and outdoors, so I’m glad it worked out this way.

How We Save for the Summer

Every year we create a budget to forecast our regular expenses for the year. I take that budget and divide it by 12 months, then multiply that by 2 to get the savings needed for 2 months of bills in July and August.

For example, if we spend $36,000 per year, I divide that by 12 to get $3,000 per month and multiply it by 2 to get $6,000 needed for the summer. I usually buffer that with an additional $1,000 for any extras like day trips, renovation projects, or dinners out.

When I come to the number for the summer, in this example we’ll use $6,000, I divide that by 10. This gives me $600 needed to be put away each month of work in order to have enough. Then I go one step further and divide by 2 in order to get the per paycheck total $300.

When we get paid, that $300 automatically goes into a savings account without our greedy little hands even seeing it. This way, it’s socked away for our summer and we never miss it to begin with.

Should You Pay Someone to Do it for You?

Over the years I’ve know teachers to use third party services to take money from their paychecks to cover their summer bills and then send them a “paycheck” of their own money in the summer. This option usually costs a fee.

Fees and I don’t get along, so this is why I never signed-up for any such program. Some schools offer 24 paychecks a year, but in our experience that never has been an option (and I don’t mind it at all actually).

Don’t pay a service a fee to pay you your own money. Instead, setup a separate savings account earmarked for the months you’re off and do it yourself. Check with your HR, as you may even have this option to split your paycheck among your accounts with your employer as well. They’ll usually direct deposit to more than one account if you ask. While we don’t use such an option this would be good if you have a hard time saving.

To recap, if you only get paid certain months out of the year, make sure you save ahead of time. By the time you aren’t getting paid it’s easy to transfer over the money to pay your bills and enjoy your time off! Then anything you do decide to do in the summer is extra money for debt-repayment, savings, or leisurely fun.