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Summertime is the right time for fun with friends. But if you want to lay the foundation for financial and career success, learn how to use this time to your advantage.

1. Behave.

We know you’re not headed into vacation with an intention to misbehave, but sometimes shenanigans happen. The key is to be aware of potential danger so you avoid trouble, especially the kind that comes with criminal charges or costly fines.

Use common sense as you enjoy those warm breezes and lazy evenings:

  • Don’t drink alcohol if you’re underage.
  • Avoid drinking and driving.
  • Don’t drink alcohol while boating or swimming.
  • Stay away from rowdy situations that could lead to fights, violence, or other disruptive behavior.

2. Hustle for extra cash.

Even if it’s from an entry-level job, extra income over the summer can help you pay for school and living expenses. Any income you generate now to pay for school-related costs will lower the debt you’ll need to repay later. (Look into interest-free student loans to reduce education costs, too!)

You can also earmark some summer earnings for fun money to use during the next semester. Use the fund to pay for concerts, day trips, and other events you might not otherwise be able to afford during the academic year.

3. Schedule routine appointments.

Once classes begin, it will be much trickier and more stressful to schedule appointments into your school and work routines. Summer is the perfect time to set up dental and medical appointments.

Don’t ignore routine appointments! Preventative care can go a long way toward reducing future dental and medical costs, because it helps detect and treat conditions before they worsen.

4. Take extra classes.

Summer coursework may help you graduate sooner, but it can also ease you into post-college life with less student debt that could otherwise squeeze your budget and reduce potential retirement savings.

For example, at Lesley University in Massachusetts, students are offered a roadmap to complete a four-year degree in just three years.  Even with the cost of additional courses over semesters and breaks, the move is still estimated to shave nearly $50,000 from college costs based on the fact that many students take up to six years to complete a four-year program.

5. Keep reading.

If you’re not taking summer courses, keep your brain on simmer by reading a variety of fiction and non-fiction books during vacation. Some colleges offer intensive summer reading programs, so participate in those, if available. Another option is to start or join a book club through a Facebook group—it’s a free and easy way to stay connected with friends, classmates, and loved ones over the summer.

6. Have fun.

College can be an intense experience, and it’s impossible for any student to operate at maximum 24/7/365. Make time during college summer vacation to relax and enjoy yourself with family and friends. You won’t be doing yourself any favors if you endlessly hustle through the summer and start the next semester a burned-out shell.

Make the most of your college summer vacation this year by taking advantage of these secrets to success.