For many, summer means beaches, barbeques, and relaxing in the sun. But with a little more free time, it’s also a good opportunity to evaluate your financial picture. Summer can be a great time to make some moves to get ahead, such as setting up a budget, saving extra money, and looking for life insurance quotes. This article will dive into five key financial decisions you can make to improve your family’s financial security this summer.

1. Making and maintaining a budget

Start by making a budget to know where each dollar is going and ensure you’re spending less than you earn. This will help you put some money toward savings and investments every month. Budgets also help you save money by figuring out what unnecessary expenses you can cut. For example, if you have a Netflix subscription but never use it, you could cut it and save a few dollars a month.

2. Getting a life insurance policy

Consider looking for life insurance quotes this summer. Life insurance pays your loved ones a substantial death benefit if you pass away early. They can use this to replace your income, pay off debts, and cover funeral expenses.

Term life insurance is often a very affordable option and typically lasts 10 to 30 years. Permanent life insurance costs more, but it lasts for a lifetime and lets you build wealth with the cash value growth component. Part of each premium goes into this component and grows tax-deferred.

You can borrow or withdraw from the cash value of a permanent policy. You may also surrender your policy and receive the full cash value minus surrender charges. Getting the best life insurance quotes requires some shopping around. Look for life insurance online since you’ll be able to gather several quotes in a short time, saving you time and money.

3. Boosting your emergency savings

Emergency funds provide a financial cushion in case of unexpected expenses, such as a job loss, car accidents, or travel for a family emergency. Having three to six months in emergency savings is the general recommendation. Adding more for the summer may be a good idea if you plan on traveling since you’ll have additional cash if something goes wrong on vacation. Consider putting your emergency fund in a high-yield savings account, too. It’ll earn many times the interest rate of regular savings account while it sits there.

4. Pay down and refinance debt

Reducing your debts saves you money on interest — especially high-interest debt, like credit cards — but it also helps your cash flow. You don’t have as many monthly payments to worry about, meaning you don’t need as much income to cover your basic expenses. It also frees up more income to save and invest in the future.

Start by refinancing your debt, if possible. This involves replacing an existing loan with a new loan at a lower rate. This can save you a lot of money over the life of the loan. It also helps you pay the debt off faster if you want. Less money goes towards interest, which means you can put more towards the principal and pay it off in less time.

5. Maximize your credit card rewards

Summer can mean more traveling, so consider getting a travel or airline credit card to earn cash and other rewards on your vacations. As for your regular credit cards, evaluate their cashback rates and use them where they can earn the most. For example, if a card earns 3% on groceries, make sure you use it during every grocery trip. If one has rotating categories, pay attention to those each quarter. While doing this, make sure to keep your spending habits the same. This will allow you to benefit from cashback while avoiding debt.

If you need to make any major purchases this summer, try opening a new card with a signup bonus and 0% introductory purchase APR. You’ll get the signup bonus and some additional cashback, which saves you money. The 0% APR lets you spread the remainder over several months with no interest, freeing up cash flows.

Secure your family’s finances this summer

Start by making a budget and using it to cut expenses and save more. Then, get a life insurance policy to make sure your loved ones are protected. After that, stock up your emergency fund and whittle down your high-interest debt by refinancing and paying extra. Finally, maximize your credit cards by getting a travel card for vacations and paying attention to the categories on your other cards. Following these tips will help you strengthen your financial security this summer and let you enjoy your vacations free of money stress.