34% of Americans Don’t Feel Financially Secure Enough to Enjoy Summer

Summer Spending Statistics

Summer is a historically busy time. Across the U.S., people are getting outside, going on road trips, and socializing together with fun summer activities. But all of that comes at a cost, and it is not always cheap. 

A new survey of more than 1,000 Americans finds 34% of respondents don’t feel financially secure enough to enjoy summer activities this year. In fact, nearly 1 in 6 (14%) said they think they’ll go into debt because of the cost of social activities in the summer.

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Affording Summer Costs

Americans are gearing up for a busy summer in 2024. During this warmer season, 1 in 5 said they participate in social activities three times a week or more. Over 1 in 4 (26%) expect to spend more money this summer than the previous one.

Summer spending habits infographic from BadCredit.org

Among parents, 43% find it harder to budget for their family during the summer months. Many make sacrifices for themselves, with 3 in 5 budgeting more for their kids’ activities than their own. 
Outside of family stressors, survey respondents also struggle with spending habits around their friends.

Over half (52%) said they overspend when out with friends. It could be because 30% think they have to spend money to have fun, and 1 in 5 feel pressure to spend more on social activities based on what they see on social media. Either way, 56% regret overspending on social activities after the fact.

Top Reasons Why Americans Have Trouble Budgeting

Americans plan to spend a lot of money on summer activities in 2024. From June through August 2024, survey respondents say they expect to spend $1,600 on activities such as dining out and traveling.

Three reasons why Americans have trouble budgeting infographic from Badcredit.org

Additionally, nearly 3 in 5 (58%) survey respondents don’t budget at all for social activities. Among those who do budget, 55% admit they struggle to stick to it. The top three things that make it hard to stick to a budget are: 

  1. The cost of products
  2. Unexpected expenses
  3. Impulse purchases

Nearly 2 in 5 (39%) respondents are looking to slim down their spending in other areas of their lives to afford summer activities. Survey respondents plan to cut down spending on clothes, electronics, and shoes. 

Others are searching for more low-cost summer activities so they don’t have to strain their wallets as much. Over half (56%) of respondents are planning on organizing free or low-cost activities for their friends, and 70% are prioritizing free activities this summer.

How FOMO Affects Spending Decisions

It looks like FOMO may be the new “keeping up with the Joneses’”. FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is the reason 30% of survey participants say they spend more money. Over half (53%) admit they’re more likely to make impulse purchases with friends.

Pressures Americans face when it comes to finances infographic from BadCredit.org

It may be because talking about finances isn’t something survey participants do. Over 1 in 4 (27%) are not honest with their friends about their finances, and 1 in 4 feel like they’re the “cheap friend.” 

With 36% of respondents feeling pressure to overspend when out with friends and 1 in 5 admitting to having a friend that pushes them to spend money, some are considering cutting off certain friendships entirely. Over 1 in 10 (12%) have thought about ending a friendship because of their friend’s spending habits. 

Talking about finances isn’t easy. The conversation is a hard one to have, but if you have to choose between a healthy financial lifestyle and a social lifestyle, navigating these tough talks is worth it. Do your research and make sure to budget, that way you can have an enjoyable summer ahead.


In April 2024, we surveyed 1,002 Americans about their spending habits. Participants ranged in ages from 18 to 86 with an average age of 41. Respondents were 50% men, 48% women, and 2% nonbinary and/or chose not to disclose. 

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