18 Ways to Save Money This Summer

Family running on the beachWith the costs of camp, weekend excursions, additional ice creams and running the air conditioning, the expenses of the summer can really add up. Fortunately, there are ways to counteract these expenditures by saving money in the summer. Of course, even if you don’t have many extra summer costs, I still recommend that you try out these strategies – it’s never too early to start saving up for next summer’s expenses!

  1. Dry your clothing outside. Why pay to run the dryer when the sun can do an equally good job, for free?
  2. Take advantage of free activities. Most areas have free summer concerts, poetry readings or movies in the park. Take a look at what’s available in your area, and make sure to schedule these free activities into your summer calendar so that you’ll be able to entertain yourself and your kids without spending money. And, while we’re on the subject, check out this list of free summer activities for kids to find additional ways to save money this summer.
  3. Travel on a Wednesday. Studies indicate that Wednesdays are the cheapest days to fly, so if you’re planning a family vacation (or even just a weekend getaway), check for good deals departing on Wednesdays.
  4. Clothes drying outside

  5. Take your own car seats. A great way to save money on your family vacation is to take your own car seat, which can cost up to $12/day in some cities if you need to rent one. Airlines should let you take the car seat for free, and then you’ll have the added benefit of being able to use it in the cab (or car) to and from the airport.
  6. Take water with you. Bottled water is about five times the price at a baseball stadium or beachside beverage cart than it is in your local grocery store. And of course, it’s infinitely more expensive than tap water, which can easily be used to fill up your own bottles. Make sure to pack water before leaving on every summer trip – and consider freezing it beforehand if you crave that straight-from-the-cooler experience.
  7. Find a house swap. Why spend money on an overpriced hotel room when you can enjoy free lodging by participating in a house swap? There are dozens of websites that will help you find a house exchange both within the United States and abroad.
  8. Water your garden at night. Watering during the day is a good way to ensure that the sun will evaporate more water than your garden can absorb. Watering at night will allow you to maximize your results while reducing your water usage.
  9. Turn off your sprinklers when it rains. It’s easy to set your sprinklers and forget about them, but if you know it’s going to rain (or that it has rained recently), you can cancel your scheduled watering which will save you money on your next water bill (just think – when it rains, it’s almost like a higher power wants you to save money on water!).
  10. Use a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans use a fraction of the electricity that air conditioners use, and are a great way to save hundreds of dollars each summer. Moreover, the cost of purchasing and installing a ceiling fan is significantly lower than the similar costs for an air conditioner, which means that if it’s time for a new cooling system, ceiling fans may be your best bet. But, if you must use an air conditioner…
  11. Clean your air filters. Although this is a chore that is often forgotten or ignored, it’s one that is extremely important, as it can increase the efficiency of your air conditioning system and reduce running costs.
  12. Reduce your air conditioner temperature when you’re not home. Why run your system at full blast if nobody will be around to enjoy it?
  13. Cook outside. This can save you money on several levels. For starters, cooking inside will release heat into your home which will require your cooling system to work harder, which will cost you more money. Secondly, running your barbecue requires less energy than running your oven, saving you money each time you use it.
  14. Shop online (and shop around) before booking a vacation. Studies indicate that it may be possible to save up to 30% on vacation packages when booking online instead of using a live agent. Once you’re already on the internet, check with multiple sites to make sure you’re getting the absolute lowest price.
  15. Keep your shades down. Making an effort to lower the shades whenever possible will prevent the heat of the sun from entering through your windows and will keep the house cooler, so that you can reduce the usage of your air conditioner.
  16. Join AAA. The American Automobile Association is an organization that offers a myriad of services including roadside assistance and all sorts of travel deals. For an annual fee of only $48 (plus a $10 registration fee the first year), you can enjoy reduced rates at hundreds of theme parks, hotels and rental car companies throughout the country. You can also take advantage of their free TripTik books which provide incredibly useful information about various destinations and maps to help you get there.
  17. Take advantage of end of the season sales. Stock up on t-shirts, shorts and bathing suits at the end of the season sales, when prices are greatly reduced (at some stores, like the Children’s Place, clearance items are practically free!). Purchase the next-size-up so that you’ll be able to outfit your children for next summer at a fraction of the regular price.
  18. Buy ice cream – and toppings – at the grocery store. While it’s always fun to splurge on a sundae at your local ice cream parlor, you should be aware that you can make 5 homemade sundaes for the same $5 (with more toppings!). Watch for sales on your favorite ice cream brands and couple them with printable coupons to save extra money. You’ll be able to enjoy ice cream every day without overspending.
  19. Visit yard sales. Warm weather inspires many people to hold yard sales (or even block sales) where items that you’re looking for can be extremely cheap. Don’t be timid about stopping by – you never know what great items you’ll find.

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