People tend to spend more money during the summer months because there are just more fun things to do. From family vacations to visiting local attractions such as the zoo, theme park, water park, etc. it’s easy to spend money and break your budget. Even though summer is winding down, I want to make sure you don’t dip into the “red” this year, and that you keep your budget intact no matter what the season.
The general public in today’s economy is in a bit of a quandary. Prices of almost all commodities have risen extravagantly in the past few years while families have seen little or no adjustment in income to balance out these price increases. Perhaps there is little that can be done in this respect, but the individual does have numerous choices in making the dollar stretch further than it ever has before. The best place to begin this pursuit is at home.
Here are some money-saving tips:
Beat the Heat – Undoubtedly, people want to be comfortable in their home. This can be accomplished with just a little forethought in regard to how people choose to live. Summertime can be the most enjoyable season of the year but not when the temperature reaches into the upper 90’s and sometimes the low hundreds. The first thought will be to turn up the air conditioning; a thought that will have severe repercussions when the electric bill arrives. Most of the general public does not realize that just setting your thermostat one degree above 72 can save as much as 1 to 3 percent on your electric bill. During the day keep all windows closed, and draperies or shades drawn, to keep out the sun’s heat. If you hold a daytime job, keep the air completely off and upon returning home set it at a comfortable 75 or 76 degrees. Replace air filters regularly. Dress in attire that will keep your body temperature down. Close registers to rooms that are not being used. Here are some other great summertime saving tips: http://www.advantageccs.org/blog/top-10-money-saving-tips-for-summer
Keep out of the Kitchen – If possible, electric stoves can be replaced with gas. Natural gas or propane is a much cheaper alternative. Better yet, cook out-of-doors on a grill. Tasty meals can be prepared at a fraction of the cost of indoor cooking. Wash all clothing in cold water rather than hot, and wait until there is a full load. If allowable in the neighborhood, hang clothes out to dry and forgo using the clothes dryer altogether.
Let there be Light – Today’s new light bulbs carry a hefty price tag but in the long run they can save a substantial amount of money in electricity costs. The argument continues as to whether lights should be left on or turned off when leaving a room. Studies now prove turning them off is the way to go. They exude unwanted heat while providing only 10 percent in lighting. Solar panels can save a myriad of cash for homeowners who can afford to install them. Be aware that small appliances left plugged in often continue to draw power so keep them unplugged when they are not in use.
Cut the Cable – Love watching television at night? Unless it is a favorite in the household, shut the TV off and learn how much fun reading or playing a game with the family can be. Some locations allow for many station signals to come through without cable, or with the use of an antenna. Getting rid of cable can make for a huge savings. Check out this article for more ways to cut the cable: http://www.advantageccs.org/articles/options-besides-cable-or-satellite-tv
Energy Saver – Whenever an appliance needs to be replaced watch closely and be sure it is a high energy efficient model. Not only can you save a great deal of money, but there are some that even allow a tax break.
Have fun for Free – Entertainment can take a big bite out of the budget. Check out the local newspaper and locate parks where you can walk or take bike rides. Perhaps a trip to the beach is more of a liking. Neighborhood events, such as share a dish outings, or a game of ball can be great free pastimes. From the city to the small town, many offer concerts at the local parks with no admission cost.
Extreme Couponing – Many find coupon shopping fun. Just beware that a coupon is used for savings alone. If the product is not used there will be no savings to be had. Yet, when it comes to non-perishables that will keep a long time, the savings can be advantageous. Garage sales are similar to coupons in regard to the fact that there are great finds at low prices. Check out any farmer’s markets. Often the produce there is more palatable, organic, and priced lower than at the supermarkets.
Plan Weekly or Monthly Meals – When grocery shopping, take a few minutes to make up the weeks menu and stick to the list, or shoot for an entire month’s worth of meals. Grocery stores spend a lot of cash when it comes to using manipulative offers to lure shoppers to purchase items they don’t want or need. There are numerous buy-one-get-one (BOGO) free offers, which are great if a family is large enough to use them both before the second one spoils. Avoid fast foods. For the price of one of these meals, you could prepare home foods for two or more people.
Conclusion – Here, only the surface of ways to save money during the summer has been touched on. There are hundreds of ways money can be saved on summer costs and activities. Just take a long look around and money-saving options can be found everywhere. There are only two choices to be made. Penny foolish or penny wise, and pennies do make dollars. Choose to be penny wise this summer and your budget will thank you!
Lauralynn Mangis is the Online Marketing Specialist at Advantage Credit Counseling Service. She is the author for Advantage CCS’s Blog called Dollars & Sense. Advantage Credit Counseling Service is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Contact Advantage Credit Counseling at 866.699.2227, or visit them online at www.advantageccs.org.
Views expressed are the personal views of the author, and do not represent the views of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, its employees, its members, or its clients.