Summer is here, and so are all the activities. But as we know, these activities cost money. Here are a few ways you can still have fun and, while doing so, save some cash.
Look at Your Calendar
Summer months are filled with holidays, birthdays, cookouts, weddings – the list goes on. Take a look and make an estimate of how much you want to spend on each event. When you can plan ahead and figure out your budget, you won’t be faced with surprise expenditures at the last minute. Nobody likes that.
Go on a Spending Cleanse
We’re not talking for months on end – just a few weeks. During this time, make a point to spend only on necessities. It will force you to take a look at what you want versus what you need. The money that you might have otherwise spent on wants can go into a slush fund for future summer events.
Check Out Money-Saving Sites
If you want to go to an amusement park or, say, the movies, you know how quickly this can add up. Go to Groupon or LivingSocial for some serious price-slashing coupons. Other resources to check out are AAA or AARP. For instance, AAA members get up to 30 percent off tickets to Six Flags.
Take Advantage of Free Entertainment
Inquire at your public library for free events and activities. Check out your local zoo and botanical gardens for free admission days. Go online to your local parks and recreation centers – many plan free, outdoor things to do. All you have to do is dig around a little!
Freeze Your Gym Membership
Chances are you’ll be spending a lot more time outside this summer, some of which might be working out. So why pay for a gym membership if you’re not using it? Instead of paying a hefty cancellation fee or initiation fee to rejoin, ask if you can freeze your membership for the summer. You might be charged a small fee, but in comparison to your monthly or yearly dues, you could save a lot. Plus, exercising outside is good for you.
Turn Down Your Air Conditioner When Away
After you’ve been out in the heat, coming home to an icy home undoubtedly feels great. But what doesn’t feel so great is looking at your A/C bill every month. You could turn down your A/C to a tolerable temp when you leave, then, of course, turn it up when you return. Or, you can get a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust while you’re away. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, one of these devices can save you as much as 10 percent on heating and cooling costs.
Unplug Electronics When You Leave for Vacation
Before you head out for your summer adventure, make sure to unplug everything from your entertainment system – cable box, TV and speakers – to your small kitchen appliances like your toaster and coffee maker. These devices still consume energy when they’re plugged in. If you want to expedite this, get a power strip. With just one or two flips, you can save up to 5 percent on your energy bill.
These are just a few little things you can do to shave costs, but over time, they can add up to substantial savings. They’ll also help remove the stress that lack of money can cause. You deserve to have a relaxing, worry-free summer!