Summertime is here! I absolutely love the summer months but they are usually the months when I have the hardest time sticking to my budget because of all the fun things to do! While the sunny days and festive nights are great staying frugal is where I’m focusing my efforts.
Here are 18 ways to be a Savvy Summer Saver…
1. Pack those lunches!
Many of my coworkers are so excited to go out to lunch now that it is beautiful outside. Instead of spending $6-$15 on lunch, pack your food from home. I eat my lunch at my desk and when it comes time to go out with the ladies, I don’t feel guilty about spending money. I tag along and enjoy being out of the office but also get to enjoy not having a bill at the end.
2. Cut off the water when you brush your teeth
When I was in middle school I remember being told that if I used water while brushing my teeth, the ocean would dry up and all the fish would die. Although that was completely silly, cutting off the water does save on the water bill.
3. Get smart with your dishwasher
Instead of running the dish washer for partial loads, wait until you have a full load to wash. If you only have a few dishes, wash them by hand instead.
4. Stop the drying
By hanging your clothes to dry instead of using the dryer, you not only save money on your electric bill, you extend the life of your clothes. Bonus points if you make your own laundry detergent.
5. Plant a garden
Instead of buying your fruits, veggies and herbs, why not plant a garden? Not only will it connect you with nature, it will also give you lots of tasty rewards. (Related: Using Herbs to Maximize Flavor and Save You Money and The Ultimate Guide to Eating Organic on a Budget)
6. Support local farmers
If you have absolutely no green thumb then head on down to the local farmers market. Not only will your food be healthier (less preservatives and chemicals), you’ll also be supporting your local economy.
7. Take control of the AC
If you live in a state where it’s less humid and possible to live without AC then do it! Open those windows and use the ceiling fans. Fans use a lot less energy then air conditioning. If you live somewhere like…oh, lets say North Carolina where the humidity is extremely high, then instead of opening the windows just bump up the thermostat a few degrees. Your electric bill will thank you.
8. Carpool as much as possible
As was recently mentioned, gas prices are high and they are now hitting $4 per gallon in some states! Get together with your coworkers and work out a carpool plan. If you don’t have coworkers who live close to you, check out www.erideshare.com. It’s a website that allows you to post the general area of where you live and where you need to go to see if anyone else is traveling that way. Obviously, use common sense and meet these people before you just hop in the car together, but what a cool idea.
9. Use that cooler
Many families use the beautiful days of summer to go on their family vacation. Cut costs of traveling by packing snack and drinks in a cooler. If you’re flying, pack snacks that will easily fit in your carry on. Not only is this a healthier option, you will reduce the chance that you will get sucked into unnecessary spending at gas stations. (Check out: 8 Ways to Save While Traveling and 6 More Ways to Save While Traveling)
10. Find movie alternatives
There are a decent amount of movies out right now that I would love to go see in theaters. But before you run off and spend on average $10 per person on a movie, get creative with your options! You can head on down to your local library and rent a DVD for free! Or look into the events that your community is planning for the summer. Many places have movie nights where they project films onto a big screen outside. This is a free option and it’s also extremely fun to sit on the lawn with your friends and relax. (Here is a list of a whole bunch of things you can do with friends that don’t cost much)
11. Do your amusement park research
If you’ve got kids or are just a kid at heart, amusement parks are starting to call your name. Instead of just mindlessly blowing $40+ on a ticket, look into coupons or deals that could be applied. I have my bank account at a credit union and I know they offer discounted tickets. Check with your bank or just look online for deals. If you are an avid amusement park attendee, think about getting a season pass. Usually they pay for themselves after two or three visits.
12. Change that air filter!
This is pretty straight forward but having a clean air filter will save you a pretty penny.
13. Wash clothes in cold water vs. hot.
After a quick Google search, I found that a load of clothes in hot water costs $0.68 per load while using cold water only costs $0.04 per load. That can add up fast!
14. Swap clothes with your friends
Instead of going shopping for a new summer wardrobe, have a clothing swap with your friends. You can find some clothing gems while also cleaning out your closet. It’s a win-win. (A whole lot of posts about how to do a clothing or accessories swap, pictures from swaps, and other fun swap related posts!)
15. Pack that water
Instead of buying bulk cases of water, fill up a container that you can reuse all day. Most places have water fountains that can be used to refill. It’ll create less waste and save you some moolah.
16. Cancel that gym membership
It’s beautiful outside! Instead of running on the treadmill, cancel your gym membership and enjoy mother nature. (Julie Wilson lost 84 pounds without a gym membership- read her story here. If she can do it so can you!)
17. Unplug things that aren’t being used.
Phone chargers, lamps and other devices that stay plugged in still pull electricity even when they are not in use.
18. Check out what your community is offering
It’s amazing how many free events there are in the Spring, Summer, and Fall months. There are literally thousands of things to do for absolutely no cost at all, and all it takes it a little bit of research to find the scoop on what’s happening right around you.
What are your favorite ways to save money during the hot months of summer?
Chelsea Overton is in the midst of a Spending Fast® and writes about it here on And Then We Saved in a weekly column. She is from North Carolina and lives with her bulldog, Xena the Warrior Princess. She also has her own website where she logs her journey towards financial freedom.