Check, Please

“Daylight Spending Time” Is Real, Actually

Seventy-five degrees and sunny? Time to spend some money.

The moment the temperature rises above, say, 60 degrees, it’s as if a siren song calls from all rooftop bars, outdoor restaurants, and quaint cafes within a 50-mile radius. It feels impossible to stay inside. You have to text your friends, you have to meet them for drinks, and you have to do it now.

That’s why this time of year can truly feel more like “daylight spending time” than daylight saving. That first ray of sunshine is cause for celebration, and the feeling only grows throughout May and June. The best way to embrace the season is by going outside and reconnecting with your besties — but there’s something especially exhilarating about treating yourself, too.

If this seems relatable, that’s because it’s practically human nature to get extra spendy in the spring. “It’s a time when many of us are coming out of our winter hibernation,” says Alexa von Tobel, a finance expert and author of Growing Up Powerful: Money Matters. And there are numbers to prove it.

According to a 2019 study, 52% of people overspend when the weather is warm, and one reason is to avoid FOMO at all costs. Another study, published in 2010, found that higher temperatures were associated with increased spending, specifically on fun activities, dining out, and new clothes.

Margs On The Mind

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On TikTok, the season’s toasty temps have been dubbed “margarita weather” for the way they compel you to consume cute little cocktails. You have to admit there’s something intoxicating (pun intended) about it.

Once you sit down at a bar, all bets (and budgets) are off as you and your friends order rounds of margs, chips, and guac in some type of spring-induced fugue state. Before you know it, you’ve all blown $100 — but somehow, the drinks feel like such an inevitable part of the day that the money hardly matters.

Creator @sidfleeks_’s viral TikTok, posted March 23, is the peak example of this trend in action. “It really smells like margaritas outside today,” he says in his video, before asking if he should make a drink at home or go to a restaurant. And judging by the 670,000 likes, it struck a chord.

In his comments section, one person said he should get to a bar ASAP. Another said, “It smells like MULTIPLE margaritas with a cute lil chips and queso situation,” while another commenter seemed to relate wholeheartedly by saying, “Every time the sun shines I have to have this conversation [with myself].”

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness has clearly never experienced this.”

On May 4, creator @lexiisgrowing posted a clip with a similar sentiment. Her TikTok said, “How I feel after a marg, queso, and a taco on a patio and it’s 70 degrees.” As they ordered a few rounds, she and a friend joked that life suddenly felt OK again.

In the comments, one person said, “This combo literally cures my seasonal depression,” while another typed, “Whoever said money can’t buy happiness has clearly never experienced this.”

’Tis The Season Of Spending

Fruity drinks with a salted rim aren’t the only reason to reach for your wallet once the weather is warm, as the season is also prime time for pricy ceremonies. If you have a first date, wedding, graduation, or vacation on the horizon, you’re definitely going to be swiping your card.

According to Tiffany Aliche, a financial literacy expert with Chime, costs quickly add up as you spend money on gifts, dining out, travel, and other related expenses.

Concerts and festivals are another major money grab, she says. Even though concert ticket prices have gone up, it can be tough to resist seeing your faves at an outdoor venue, especially when the weather promises to be perfect.

How To Save In The Spring

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If daylight spending time is currently wreaking havoc on your bank account, von Tobel says there are things you can do to start saving more money. “I love the 50/20/30 budgeting framework,” she says.

The idea is to put 50% of your take-home pay toward essentials like rent, groceries, and utilities. Once that’s covered, 20% goes to future you, meaning you’ll put it either in a savings account or toward paying off debt. And then the final 30% goes to your lifestyle, aka drinks at a sidewalk cafe, a quick getaway, those trendy shoes you’ve been eyeing, a new haircut for summer, etc. “It’s such an easy way to make sure you’re being intentional about spending, and it has room for the fun things that bring us joy,” she says.

Aliche recommends reviewing and adjusting your budget, especially if you plan to spend more on yourself as a way to enjoy the season. Experts say it’s totally fine to occasionally prioritize splurgy treats, a wardrobe refresh, or a few more nights out with friends, as long as you plan ahead and don’t let it impact any long-term financial goals.

Should you ever catch yourself sweating once the bill arrives, take it as your sign to be honest with your besties about your budget. “It’s also OK not to say yes to everything,” says Aliche. “Being communicative upfront can help alleviate stress and guilt later.”

If you don’t want to splurge on $15 spritzes every time the sun shines, Aliche suggests looking for low-cost activities to try instead, like a hike, a picnic in the park, or a free outdoor festival. It’ll feel just as seasonal and you won’t have to spend a dime.

Studies referenced:

Murray, Kyle B. (2010). The effect of weather on consumer spending. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services. doi: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2010.08.006.


Alexa von Tobel, finance expert, author of Growing Up Powerful: Money Matters

Tiffany Aliche, financial literacy expert with Chime