Saving money in the summer can be difficult. The temptation to run the air conditioning all day long is high, the kids are home from school all day and bored, and you want to give your family a vacation or two that they’ll enjoy. If you’re like most people, you can’t afford to splurge on everything, so here are some much-needed money-saving tips.
Reduce air conditioning costs
When trying to stay cool in the summer, there are alternatives to cranking the AC. Remember, if it’s really hot outside, your home will feel refreshingly cool even if you keep it at several degrees above room temperature. Set the thermostat a few degrees higher and save money. Don’t forget to invest in good curtains that keep the sun from streaming in and heating your home, and try turning off the AC altogether if no one will be home all day. It’s worth a few uncomfortable moments upon arriving home to save all the money you would spend cooling off an empty house! On days that aren’t too hot, stick with fans. If you save the AC for the really humid unbearable days, you’ll save quite a bit over the summer.
Choose alternatives to pricey summer camps
How can you entertain the kids on a budget all summer? Try checking out community programs. There are usually lots of drop-in programs to be found for various sports, and low prices. Instead of sending the kids to a pricy summer camp, take everyone to drop-in basketball or soccer, then hit the community pool for a couple of hours. You’d be suprised how many activities you can do in your own community that will add up to a lot less than a summer camp. Try recycling everyday household garbage like empty toilet paper rolls for arts and crafts time. There are a lot of ideas for projects on the internet that will interest your kids, and you’ll only need to buy a few things like glitter glue.
Spend less on gas
Take advantage of the nice weather to save on gas. Walk or bike instead of taking the car whenever possible. Not only will you and your family be in better shape, you can use the money you would have spent on gas for other, more fun things! Just make sure you avoid strenuous physical activity during the hottest time of day (11am-2pm) for your own safety.
Try a “staycation”
Since money is tight for almost everyone right now, one of the latest trends is ditching the vacation for the “staycation.” Why not have a vacation at home? Let the kids know that they have a break from chores this week, (lighten your own load too-you can always clean after your vacation is over!) check out attractions or restaurants right in your own city that you have never been to, and cultivate the vacation attitude. Get a few exotic recipes and have everyone in the family participate in making them, take a trip to the pool everyday to simulate the hotel pool you’d be at on a vacation, and give the kids a little extra money and extend their curfews (you and your spouse can enjoy the extra time to yourselves!) Think of how much you’re saving on hotels and plane fare. Of course, you’ll have to make sure the kids really understand that once the week is up, it’s back to the regular rules!
Get your theme park visits for less
Remember that for just about any theme park or attraction you’d like to visit, the most expensive way to buy tickets is at the gate. Check online for special offers and promotions, see if your company has tickets available on the cheap, or keep your eye open in grocery and convenience stores, who sometimes offer gift cards or tickets for a deep discount off the gate price.
Don’t let a tight budget ruin your summer- it is possible to enjoy yourself without dipping into the kids’ college funds!