Ways You Can Save This Summer – Family Fun at Low Cost
Summer’s finally here! While you are into the summer festivities, now is the time to keep your costs down and save money. Spending very little in the summer can be simple as long as you plan in advance and take a few additional steps as outlined in this blog post.
Saving When Out
One of the best ways to save money when you are away from home is to go enjoy the outdoors. Hiking and bike trails, tennis and basketball courts, soccer and baseball fields—all of these are active, fun and free or low-cost. Pack a picnic, tap water in reusable bottles, sun screen, and perhaps a bathing suit and make a day of it. Being prepared with a book, blanket, snacks and drinks will help keep you occupied and not tempted by overpriced vendors.
Going to a community pool on extra hot days or even rainy days can be great low cost family fun. This is an opportunity to cool down so you won’t need to boost your air conditioning at home. The library is great for that as well, where there is something for everyone. Not only can you borrow books, movies and CDs for free, but there are reading clubs and programs available that allow you to learn a new skill. Museums and art galleries can also be a great source of entertainment for hours with the family.
Before heading out for the museum or art gallery, it’s best to eat a hearty meal so that you aren’t spending a lot of money on meals out. If eating out can’t be avoided, bypass dessert and pop. Not only are these bad for your waistline, they are overpriced. Tap water will keep you hydrated and healthy.
Saving At Home
If you will be using air conditioning this summer, then, at the start of the season, be sure to check that window and door frames are not leaking, to ensure they are fully insulated. When you run the unit, be sure to check first that all windows and doors are closed.
Consider alternatives to running your air conditioning at cool temperatures as it is strenuous on your bills and on the environment. For example, take a cool shower, have cool drinks and sit outside in the shade. If you have kids, or are a kid at heart, pitching a tent in your basement or making a fort with your kids can be hours of fun. You can also sleep in the basement, where it is cooler.
Your air conditioning costs can be reduced with less cooking. Your stove elements and oven are designed to create heat so the less you use them, the lower the cost your air conditioning will be. Instead of cooking hot meals, consider cold replacements like cold tuna salad, gazpacho, hummus and veggies, sandwiches, pasta salads and leafy green salads, which are also delicious and healthy. If you are into baking, hold off for a cooler, rainy day.
Like your oven, your clothes dryer is a fireball of heat when it is used. If you hang your clothes on a drying rack or clothes line, you will avoid extra heat in your house while running your air conditioning. For items like jeans and towels, that are stiff when air dried, fluff them in the dryer for ten minutes. Consider unplugging appliances and electronics that aren’t being used as they still drain electricity when they are plugged in.
Healthy Living Savings
Summer is a great time to be more active, including by bike and on foot. If you can, use your bicycle to commute to work and otherwise for local errands as it can make exercise fun while saving you money.
Investing in eating healthy can reduce future health-related costs and have immediate returns as well, like helping you lose weight and feel more energetic. Packing a lunch for work is likely to be healthier and cheaper than the lunch you would buy. Packing a cooler bag for at least one meal while out on a day trip with your family will also give you more control over being healthy while helping to save costs. Furthermore, if you drink tap water instead of bottled beverages like juice and pop, you may notice a savings in your grocery bill and less recycling.
Gardening is a great reason to be a bit more active and reap healthy benefits while saving money. Some vegetables, such as squash, pumpkins and zucchinis require few gardening skills. Growing your own herbs is also easy and great for salads and your favourite recipes. If you plant a vegetable or herb garden, you’ll be more in tune with nature, be able to teach your kids about growing food, and reap the benefits of a fall harvest economically.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The order of the three R’s is meant to be done in priority, with “reduce” being the most important and having the greatest impact. Asking yourself if you really need something or simply just want it before going to the cash register can help you reassess and reduce your spending.
Reusing is a great concept you can embrace to slow your spending, such as by committing to reuse something in good condition you no longer favour one last time (e.g. wearing a dress or shirt) before buying a replacement. Then, you can donate the item or hold a garage sale for extra cash. When buying, consider resale items at thrift stores before going to the mall, including for back to school clothes. Sometimes you find clothes that still have the tags on them!
Reusing isn’t just limited to shopping. Borrowing from and lending to friends, family or neighbours—if you live close— can be economical, including for garden and power tools. If you live in a house, using rain buckets at the bottom of your roof gutters can save you costs in watering your lawn while also limiting your exposure to basement water damage.
There are many ways to save money by recycling items, including reusing them in different ways, such as using plastic grocery bags for garbage, composting to benefit your garden and using old yogurt containers to grow plants. Be sure to get your deposit on recyclable bottles and cans as well.
At A.C. Waring & Associates, we look for ways to help you save money to make it easier on your finances. We are trustees in bankruptcy and debt counselling professionals in the Edmonton and Northern Alberta regions. Every day, we work with people who are struggling with debt to make ends meet. We can help you too. Call us at 780-424-9944, 1-800-463-3328 or just drop in. Appointments are not necessary. Your problem is our privilege. Your protection is our priority. Consultations are FREE.