Yes, it’s that time of year. It’s time for vacations, pool parties, grilling and finding something (ANYTHING!) to occupy your children. There are also more opportunities to lose track of your spending. How can you beat the financial heat?
First, you need to take a close look at your summer plans. Are you going to take a family trip? Planning any fun get-togethers? Any projects around the house? All of these kinds of things need to be taken into consideration so you have an idea of what you are going to spend.
Then, you can create a budget that will help you track your spending and pinch pennies. The more you are aware of your financial situation, the more you can find ways to save money and shave costs on bills and activities. To encourage yourself to stick to your budget, take your savings from the tactics outlined below and put them directly into your savings account.
Here are several areas to consider for finding ways you can trim your expenditures:
During the summer break, childcare can become a big expense for working parents. If you have family, friends or neighbors who are home during the day, ask if any of them would be willing to help out. If there is another family in your area that has working parents, find out if they’d be willing to have all of the kids at one house and splitting the cost of a sitter.
Streaming movie services can help you save a lot of money. For the price of one admission at a movie theater, you can subscribe to several movie services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu Plus. If you HAVE to see one of the latest releases in the theater, go to a matinee and avoid the pricey movie snacks.
Family fun can be experienced at amusement parks and water parks. Watch for promotional offers or discounted ticket offers that can help you save a lot. A multi-day pass or season pass is a great way to save if you’re going to spend a lot of time at any of these locations. Like the movie theater, watch out for the pricey food and drinks. Plan accordingly.
Most grocery stores and farmers’ markets have seasonal fruits and vegetables you can buy at a much lower price, compared to out-of-season foods.
For those who have green thumbs, planting a garden may also be a good option. Think about how many green peppers or tomatoes you can grow from one plant versus the price you pay at the store.
We like taking care of our lawns. A great way to save on your water bill is to water your lawn in the early morning or late evening. This is helpful because water evaporates faster in the afternoon, which would require more water to sufficiently provide for your lawn.
The hot weather heats our homes quickly. Using air conditioning units will cool your home, but they usually come at a steep price. Use the AC only during the time of day you need it most. If you’re less active during the day, use a fan to blow air on you, instead. And, close doors to rooms and closets you are not using.
Travel and transportation
To cut back on fuel costs, combine your errands and map out efficient routes with free resources on your smartphone. There are websites and apps that can help you find cheaper gas prices, too. GasBuddy is a great resource for this information.
There may be opportunities to save costs by walking or biking to your destinations, if they are nearby. If you live in an urban area, public transit may be a good option for you, too.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to save during the summer. Get creative in finding alternative ways to cut back on spending. And, more importantly, enjoy your summer! You’ve earned it!