Summer is a great time to use unique opportunities for saving to your advantage. If you have been hoping to add to your emergency fund or pay down debt, summer is a good time to find the extra cash that you can put toward reaching your financial goals. Here are some easy ways to turn summer time into easy savings:
Use Your Car Less
During the summer, I like to walk or bike instead of taking my car. When I need to run errands around the neighborhood, or take my son to a Scouting activity, I ride my bike. The warm weather also makes it more pleasant to walk to the bus stop and use public transportation. If you walk, bike or ride the bus, you can save a great deal on gas — especially with the current gas prices. On top of the gas savings, you can enjoy the added perk of better health as you get more exercise.
Keep the Lights Off
One of the great things about summer is that you can keep the lights off for longer. While you want to keep the windows covered on the sunny side of the house, I find that it is still possible to get plenty of natural light from windows on the other side of the house. Then, it only takes a minute or two to switch which windows are covered in the afternoon, when the sun is on the other side of the house. You’ll save money on lighting in a way that is impossible during the winter.
Avoid Using the Air Conditioner
If you want to save money on utilities during the summer, it can help to avoid using the air conditioner. You can do this by making sure your home is energy efficient, using the outdoor grill more, eating more fruits and vegetables that don’t require cooking (so you don’t have to use the stove), and by using energy efficient fans. It can also help, if you have a downstairs, to spend more time down there so that you remain cooler, reducing the need for the air conditioner.
Look for Free Fun
Summer time makes it easy to find free fun. You play at the local park, make use of hiking trails, and even just play outside in your backyard. If there are historical sites nearby, you can visit these for free, or very low cost, entertainment. Go for a picnic, instead of eating at a restaurant. Many municipal pools have very low admissions, and if you don’t want to pay even that, you can turn on a sprinkler (although that might increase your water bill a bit). If you live near a state park, or a public body of water (like a lake), or enjoy camping, you can have some low cost family fun. All this free fun, thanks to good weather, can free up your entertainment budget for other uses.
There are numerous opportunities for you to reduce your expenses during the summer. You can spend less, and do more, even when you are on a financial fast. One of the things I like about summer is that it is possible to do a lot — and feel rich in experiences — without spending a lot. You can take the money you save, and put it toward other financially fit goals.
Photo credit: veggiefrog.