Now that the 4th of July came and went faster than you can say, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious it’s safe to say that summer’s in full swing. As many of you spend your weekends enjoying the warm weather, I’m sure staying frugal is the last thing on your mind. I find the summer months especially difficult for saving money because of all the fun things to do. With trips to the beach, days at the pool, water park getaways and vacations, it’s easy to exceed your budget. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself head over heels in debt by the fall.
I love to get the most out of my summer and enjoy the warm weather as much as possible; however, I know I don’t want to be financially stressed all year because of three extravagant months of fun in the sun. Now, I’m not telling you to that you shouldn’t have fun and enjoy your summer. I’m simply saying that you should be smarter about where you choose to splurge and save. This way you can have the best of both worlds!
Here are eight great tips that will help you stay frugal this summer, so you won’t be financially suffering come November:
1.) Always pack a lunch—Now that the weather is nice, you’ll find that your coworkers are more eager to go out to lunch. Instead of spending $8-$16 on lunch a couple times a week, pack food from home. This weekly habit can add up quick, so refraining can save you a boat load of cash. If you don’t want to feel left out, you can always tag along. Even if the food looks extremely appetizing and you’re tempted to order, you’ll be happy you didn’t when you’re the only who doesn’t get a bill at the end of the meal.
2.) Skip the dryer—Mother Nature provides the best and most frugal dryer there is. By hanging your clothes out to dry, you not only save money on your electric bill but you also extend the life of your clothes. Air drying your clothes is less harsh on the material so it makes them stay nice for a longer period of time.
3.) Utilize your cooler—With warm weather comes vacations. Cut costs when traveling by packing an assortment of snacks and drinks in your cooler before a road trip. If you’re flying, pack snacks that easily fit in your carry on (and pass security). Not only is this a healthier option, this will reduce your chance of spending money on over-priced drinks and snacks at gas stations and vendors during your travels.
4.) Swap summer clothes—Instead of going shopping for a new wardrobe, an increasingly popular trend is to host a clothing swap with your friends. Where else can you get new clothes without the hefty price tag? Another great way to stock up on summer clothes without the burden is to buy and sell from a secondhand clothing store. There are a plethora of trendy secondhand clothing stores nowadays. Best part is you can sell the clothes you no longer wear for cash then purchase stylish clothing for up to 70% off the retail price. This is a great way to clean out your closet, save money, and achieve a stylish summer wardrobe!
5.) Opt for cold water—When washing clothes, make sure you wash in cold water versus hot. Washing clothes in hot water costs approximately $0.68 per load and washing clothes in hot water costs approximately $0.04 per load. That $0.64 savings may only seem like pocket change, but when you realize how many loads of clothes you wash in a year, that pocket change adds up into dollars you could have saved for something else!
6.) Control the AC—If you’re lucky enough to live in a state where the humidity is low and it’s possible to live without your air conditioner 24/7 then do it! Take advantage of the summer breeze by opening your windows and turning on your fans. Fans take substantially less energy than air conditioners after all. For those of you who aren’t so lucky (like me), try only shutting your AC off at night and opening your windows. Most evenings, the temperature drops 10 degrees or more with a slight breeze. This is a great time to take advantage of the cooler weather. Give it a try; your electricity bill will thank you!
7.) Support local farmers—If you aren’t in touch with your green thumb or you simply don’t have the time that’s needed to tend to a garden, then head down to your local farmers market instead! Not only will the food you purchase have less preservatives and chemicals than the items found in your local chain grocery store, but you’ll also be supporting your local economy. This is also a great way to meet people in the local community and possibly gather some tips on ways to stay frugal and green! Oh, did I mention this is something your kids can also enjoy, which is always a plus!
8.) Find inexpensive movie alternatives—The summer months are known for the release of various blockbuster movies that everyone wants to see. While going to the movies is a great experience, the cost of one trip to the movies for two adults averages $40. While it’s okay to go once in awhile, I don’t suggest making this a regular habit because the cost of that weekly trip will add up fast! That’s too much money for two hours of entertainment if you ask me! If you can, I suggest waiting until the movie comes out at RedBox (check out 2013 RedBox promo codes here) or taking advantage of discounted summer movie nights (check out your local theater for details). Another inexpensive alternative would be to head down to your local library, where you can rent movies for free!
What are your best tips for saving money in the summer?