Remember back to when your restaurant reopened last May, and you were motivated to start saving money again? After all the money-guzzling adventures you got into over the off-season, you don’t recognize your bank statement anymore. The money you saved this past winter has all been spent on road trips, visits home to family and expensive meals in bigger cities than our own. You are definitely ready to work again and replenish those dwindling bank accounts.
Summer season inevitably starts off slow. In June, you’re waiting for the big nights to become consistent. You’re still pinching pennies by drinking at home with friends instead of at bars (further expanding the problem for those who work at bars), relying on “family meal” to supplement your grocery shopping and checking in at The Browser for bargains on freshly abandoned fleece. You just know business is going to pick up any day now.
Then July hits and just like that our beloved, long-overdue tourists start rolling in. Thankfully, so do the tips. At first, you’re making so much money (compared to the month before) that you figure before you start to save again you’ll just treat yourself to a few new things. Business is so good that you go all in on the top-of-the-line, newest, lightest gear and hit up Teton Mountaineering and Skinny Skis for some nonessential shopping fun as well. Hey, why not hit up Dornan’s rooftop deck for full-price margaritas on your day off, too? The money seems like it’ll never stop being made. There is no end in sight. Life is good in July and August. Real good.
With all these tourists in town you promise yourself you’ll start saving for the fall off-season next week … you just need to buy a ticket to one more awesome summer show at the Pink Garter Theatre and get your shift covered so you can go. That band is your favorite, how could you not?
It’s mid-August, and suddenly you’re staring September in the face. Work is slow on a Saturday night, and your heart sinks as you realize you just splurged on a painting at the Art Fair that same afternoon. You make a mental checklist of where all your hard-earned money went and what you have to show for it. You curse yourself for wasting so much of it on intangibles (aka in bars). That bucket-list trip you were planning to Panama in November is slowly transforming into a two-week visit to see your parents in Portland.
September arrives and with it the slight lull that always comes after the Labor Day holiday weekend. As reality is setting in on your situation, you beg your co-workers to give you some of their shifts and offer to stay on the floor when other people are getting cut. When’s the next bike swap? Turns out you really didn’t need that second cruiser after all. Oh no, you forgot to buy your ski pass at August prices!
Just as you start to accept the sad reality that you messed up big time — and you only have yourself to blame — you see a post on your Facebook news feed from the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce announcing a whole slew of fall events. Relief sets in when you find out The Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival is coming to town; then you realize Destination Wellness is also in September, as is the second annual Jackson Hole Marathon. This is good news. Really good news.
If you buckle down right now and get serious you could still get enough money saved for a great off-season. Remember when Labor Day was mainly just cause to celebrate taking our town back? Well, now you’re willing to admit that was a tiny bit premature. However, there is a big difference between the summer crowd and the September crowd, and you’re all smiles when you realize that tourism this fall is better than ever, and those gapers you like to poke fun at on occasion are actually here to save the day.
Still, you promise yourself, “Next year I will start saving earlier.”