10 Ways to Save Money This Summer
At my house we are counting down the days until summer break begins. Although we don’t have plans for an elaborate vacation, I expect we’ll still spend more than we do during other times of the year. Over the summer we have more family outings, host neighborhood barbecues, and spend a ton to keep our house cool and our lawn watered.
It IS possible to have a super fun summer without spending a ton of money, though. The following are some money-saving tips:
1. Find the cheapest gas you can during your road trip. Use GasBuddy.com’s trip calculator to figure out where you should stop for gas on your next road trip. It considers the make, model and year of your vehicle and gas prices along your travel route when it suggests where to stop.
2. Enjoy free fun. When you get tired of parks and libraries, you can enjoy a free area museum or bowling alley. Target sponsors free events nationwide on specific days each month. Bank of America’s Museums on Us program offers free entrance to BoA card holders during the first weekend of the month. Kids Bowl Free program lets kids bowl two free games each day all summer long.
3. Minimize the cost of air conditioning. Keeping the sun and heat out of your house are easy ways to keep your AC from working so hard. Shut the blinds before you leave for work, and keep windows closed during the heat of the day. Open windows at night when it’s cooled down and the fresh breeze can cool your house.
4. Enjoy a weekend getaway. You may be able to squeeze a short trip into your summer budget. You can buy a Groupon Getaway or Living Social Escape for discounted vacation packages. Personally, I book my own discounted hotel room rates using Priceline’s Name Your Price feature.
5. Start using digital coupons. There’s little need to clip and file coupons with so many great apps that provide you digital discounts. Before you eat out, try Restaurant.com’s app where you can buy coupons for thousands of restaurants nationwide.
6. Split the costs. When you’re doing activities this summer, whether driving an hour to the best zoo in town, going to a beach house for the weekend or hosting a barbecue, don’t be afraid to ask others to split the cost. It’s OK to speak up and ask for what you want.
7. Use the grill wisely. The biggest expense at a barbecue is the meat, so either opt for the juicier bone-in chicken or beef up (pun intended) your side dishes and have everyone share a large, expensive steak. When you’re done, turn off the gas at the valve or close up the charcoal so you can reuse the briquettes next time.
8. Water your lawn wisely. Watering your lawn on a set schedule can be unnecessary and wasteful. Water only when your grass is dry, and deeply soak it until 4-6 inches of soil is wet. Minimize evaporation by watering before 8 am.
9. Kids eat free. Tons of restaurants let kids eat free with a paid adult meal, including all Holiday Inn Hotels. The challenge is finding said restaurant. Your best bet is to Google “kids eat free (city name)” and look for relevant results, as there is no reliable nationwide source.
10. Save at the hardware store. We do a lot of home repair and remodeling projects in the summer months and make frequent trips to the hardware store. Save by using coupons; all the major hardware stores accept competitors’ coupons. For frequent shoppers, consider buying discounted gift cards from GiftCards.com.
What other big expenses do you incur over the summer?