Summertime serves as a long-awaited reprieve from the inclement weather and the school-time busyness that the rest of the year typically brings. However, as more people venture outside and pursue recreational fun, they inevitably end up spending more as well.
According to TIME, the average family of four will spend over $5,000 on summertime activities, which proves that the season often promotes excessive spending.
However, with a smart approach, an individual can take some proactive steps to ensure that this coming summer is all fun and no financial stress.
Be More Energy Efficient
Failing to recognize the true costs of over-relying on the comforts of modern life is a surefire way to drive up the cost of your summer. Asses everything from the AC to the watering schedule to best ensure that you’re not needlessly incurring extra costs.
In the home. As the temperatures rise, the temptation is to lower the AC temperature. But as green energy expert Vernon Trollinger notes for Direct Energy, there are two key components to finding the right temperature for your home: comfort and affordability.
He writes, “You can save 3–5% on air conditioning costs for each degree that you raise the thermostat.”
You want to set your thermostat at the temperature that feels best, instead of setting it based off the number you see, while remaining aware that even incremental changes will save you money over the course of the summer.
To further ensure you’re keeping the cost of cooling your home down, close windows and draw the shades during the warm parts of the day.
Outside the home. Most people overwater their lawns thinking that the more water, the better. In reality, too much water can actually have adverse effects on your lawn. According to Popular Mechanics, watering a maximum of twice week is best.
Bonus: Take advantage of the warm, dry weather and line dry your clothing instead of running the dryer.
DIY Healthcare and Cleaning Products
Those of us immersed in western culture can find exactly what we need to care for ourselves and our homes at the nearest store. While it certainly creates an atmosphere of convenience, it isn’t the most budget-friendly approach.
Instead, the surprising truth is that you likely already have the ingredients needed to DIY many of the products you rely on, on a daily basis. Doing so will not only save you money, but likely time in the long run as well given the fact that they can be created in only a few minutes.
Healthcare: Virtually everything you use during your morning routine, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste can all be made in your own home. Not only that, but there are recipes available for many specific types of natural remedies. For example, with just coconut oil, coffee stains on teeth can be removed.
Homecare: One of the great things about DIYing cleaning products is that the majority of the time, it also means reducing the level of chemicals in your home. So, the next time you need a disinfectant or even a black mold remover, see if have the tools needed in your home already.
Plan a Staycation
Summertime has always been the season of vacation, and rest. But taking a vacation that’s outside your means will create the opposite of relaxation, it’ll create stress; if not at the time, then eventually.
In the interest of limiting unnecessary spending, explore your own city. Visit the park you’ve never been to, the restaurant with the best reviews, and the theater company you’ve never made the time to see.
While you’re doing it, perhaps save money for a trip that will truly matter to you.
Debt specialist Amanda Amezcua notes, “If you are spending it (money) frivolously it’s likely you are living paycheck to paycheck and equally likely that you won’t be meeting long-term goals … Discipline means vacationing without debt, and guilt-free spending during the holidays.”
Delayed gratification can lead to a higher quality of life. Recognizing that can put you on the fast track to ultimately being able to afford your dream vacation.
Plant a Garden
Planting a home vegetable garden is an undertaking with reward awaiting you on all fronts. The work to prepare and plant will bring low-impact physical activity into your life. It’s an excuse to spend time outside. It cuts down on the demand of commercial agriculture, thus benefiting the environment. And ultimately, it can help you save money.
According to Neal Templin of the Wall Street Journal, $1 spent on green bean seeds becomes approximately $75 worth of produce, and a potato crop valued at $5 can begin with a $1 investment in seeds.
Additionally, NBC News reports that $50 worth of gardening supplies has the potential to garner $1,250 of produce every year. So, while starting a garden does require some upfront costs, in the long run a well-cared-for garden will actually help you keep your hard-earned money rather than spending it on subsistence.
Summer can be a money drain, but it doesn’t have to be. The biggest factor dictating whether or not you save, is you. It’s a matter of looking at the resources available and making them work in such a way that money is not the only solution.
A creative thinker and a smart planner will see options that allow money to stay in the bank. Are you willing to think about your options in a new way? Adopting and implementing a fresh perspective is likely all that stands between you and a summer of saving.