If you want to save money this summer then you should start planning ahead. If you aren’t prepared in advance then summer can be an expensive season. People frequently travel in summer, which is a big expense. When you have children, they often attend summer camps and other costly activities. If you aren’t careful, finances easily just slip away. However, there are things that you can start doing right now to prevent that.
1. Review Your Regular Expenses
It’s time to take a look at your money. If you don’t know what you’re working with then you can’t make smart financial choices. Review all of you ongoing expenses, looking for ways to cut back. Even small changes can make a big difference in the summer. For example, how many different streaming television services do you have? Can you cut it down to one or even none for a few months to save money this summer?
2. Set a Budget and Make a Plan
Once you have cut your regular expenses as much as possible, it’s time to make a plan. Look at the money that you have. Update your budget. Don’t forget to include all of the unusual expenses that summer brings. Some expenses to consider:
- Babysitters, daycares, or day camps for kids who aren’t in school in the summer
- Special events including those for Father’s Day, Fourth of July, and summer weddings
- Summer clothes if you or the kids’ need a wardrobe update
- Travel plans and their associated costs including pet care while you’re away
- Water activities including pool memberships or day trips to the water park
3. Change Vacation to Save Money This Summer
If it doesn’t look like you’re going to have enough money in your budget to cover your vacation, then it’s not too late to reconsider. Think about why you’re traveling. Is it to see relatives? Is it because you want your kids to experience something new? Or is it just because it’s something you’ve always done? You can reduce the cost of travel by:
- Changing your destination so it’s cheaper
- Using a more affordable mode of transportation
- Camping instead of staying in hotels
- Taking a shorter vacation than originally planned
- Having a staycation instead
4. Brainstorm a List of Free Activities
Find ways to save money this summer by brainstorming a list of free activities now. Then fill your calendar with those. Look for free classes, events, workshops, and camps for your entire family. Check out what your city offers in terms of free days at museums, galleries, and other spaces. Visit parks, beaches, and hiking trails in your area. Make a list of things that you can do at home for free. Whenever you hear the dreaded, “I’m bored” this summer, you’ll have a list of options to point to.
5. Prep Your Home Now for Summer
If you run the air conditioner in your home all summer long then your bills will be much higher than they need to be. If you haven’t properly cleaned out air filters or looked for drafts then the price will be even higher. Update your home energy system now in order to save money this summer.
- Install a smart home system so that you don’t cool the house while you’re not in it.
- Get used to keeping the home a tad warmer than last year to save big costs.
- Sign up for a tool like OhmConnect that gives you money back for saving energy.
- Purchase some portable fans to avoid using the air conditioner so much.
- Update your curtains or blinds to keep the sunlight out during the hottest part of the day.
6. Start Planning Summer Meals
One smart way to save money this summer is to look at what you’ll be eating. There are so many great ways to cut costs on food in the summer. Switch the whole family away from other drinks and just to water. It’s better to stay hydrated during those hot months and it doesn’t cost much. Find a good local source for fresh fruit, especially water-dense fruit like cucumber and watermelon. Keep meals simple. Use the stove as little as possible so you don’t add heat to the house. If you plan out your meals now then summer cooking should be easy and affordable.
7. Declutter and Sell Things
Take advantage of the downtime in summer to get your house in order – literally. go room by room decluttering everything that you don’t need. Sell what you can. The activity can keep your whole family busy without spending a dime. You might even make a little cash.
8. Earn a Summer Income
One of the best ways to offset the costs of summer is to earn extra income. You have plenty of daylight hours to pick up some extra work. Start looking now to see what option are available to you for a summer side job. Housesitting, ride share driving, caring for other people’s children, and lawn service are just a few of the options to consider.
Kathryn Vercillo is a professional writer with more than a decade of experience writing about healthy living and personal finance. She lives in San Francisco, where she has learned to maximize frugal living tips in order to thrive as a freelancer in one of the nation’s most expensive cities. When she’s not writing, she’s exploring the city on foot with her rescue dog. Learn more about her at www.kathrynvercillo.com.
Kathryn also writes about saving money with coupons over at GroceryCouponGuide.com