Summer is a fun time of year, but it can also be expensive. While a summer vacation may be at the top of the list, it is not the only expense people have to plan for. Add in childcare costs, camps, tutoring, home improvements, higher utilities, and entertainment like dinners out or shopping, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed.
No need to stress because there are some simple things you can do to make your budget work for you during the summer months. Here are 10 ways to save.
1. Prioritize and Plan -- Before you start planning summer activities for you and your family, take some time to think about what’s most important to you. Do you want to take a family vacation or spend time exploring your local area? Perhaps you want to learn a new skill or take up a new hobby. Whatever your priorities may be, it’s important to determine them before you start allocating your budget.
2. Create a Realistic Summer Budget -- A budget can help you reach your summer goals. Without a budget, it’s easy to overspend and end up with a mountain of debt. By creating a budget, you can make the most of your money and help avoid financial stress. Update your summer budget each month so you know what is coming up and how much money you will need.
3. Scrutinize your Spending -- To help make sure you have enough money for the things that really matter, take a look at where your money goes to spot expenses you can cut or pause for the summer. Since you will be able to get outside more in the summertime, dropping gym memberships, cable or streaming services may be easy to give up and can bring big savings. You may be able to save money on gas, too, by hopping on your bike to run a few errands or just enjoy some exercise. Get creative.
4. Trim Energy Usage -- Some simple moves can help cut your energy bill during the summer months. Be sure to shut shades and blinds and close curtains during the hottest time of the day to block the sun. Cooking can heat up the house, too. Avoid turning on the oven. Instead, consider firing up the grill or using a slow cooker or Instapot to cook summer meals. You can also cut your electricity costs by turning up the thermostat for your air conditioning. Summer can be the perfect time to install a programable thermostat to atomically adjust the temperature of the AC when you are not home.
5. Save By Meal Planning -- Food can be one of the summer’s biggest expenses. And one of the easiest ways to help save money on food is to cook at home. Meal planning is a great way to control your food budget. Besides planning regular weekly meals, you will want to plan for any food-related events like BBQ parties, snacks, picnics and food for travel or outings. Plant a garden or take advantage of produce from local farm stands to get the most from your food dollar.
6. Get Creative with Socializing -- While you may love spending time with friends and family, your social calendar can often be the culprit of overspending in the summertime. Beach weekends, concerts and outdoor happy hours can put a squeeze on the budget. If there is one concert you really want to attend this summer, save your money for that, and look for ways to trim your social budget on other things. Get creative and plan fun low-cost social activities. Instead of dinner out, invite friends and family over for a potluck BBQ. Plan a backyard movie night or build a campfire and make smores.
7. Take a Staycation -- One way to save money on your summer vacation is to take a staycation. Maine is a great place to be in the summer. Explore parts of the state you have never seen or attractions you have never experienced. You don’t have to travel far to have a great summer adventure. Plan a day trip to a nearby beach, state park, or museum. Not only could you save money on lodging, but you could also save on transportation costs. Pack a picnic lunch to save on dining costs and bring along some games or activities to keep everyone entertained.
8. Enjoy Free Events and Activities -- One of the best ways to save money on summer activities is to take advantage of free events such as concerts, festivals, and outdoor movies. These events are a great way to get out and enjoy the community without spending money. Check your local events calendar to see what’s happening in your area. Also, consider activities such as hiking, biking, or playing outdoor sports. These activities are usually free or low-cost and are great ways to enjoy summer in Maine.
9. Shop Smart -- You can save some money buying second-hand items. Enjoy a summer morning out and hit local garage sales and flea markets. Summer is also a great time to get deals on big purchases like appliances, personal electronics, outdoor furniture, and mattresses. Keep your eye out for discounts and stock up on essentials during July 4th, Labor Day, and back-to-school sales.
10. Take On a DIY Project – Summer is a great time to tackle a new home project. And doing the work yourself can add up to big savings. Maybe you have always wanted to create a home gym, add a patio to the backyard with a firepit and even a movie theater, or paint the bathroom. These improvements can not only add value to your home but add to your summer fun for family and friends.
These are just a few ways you can create a fun and memorable summer without breaking your budget. If you would like to discussion options for financing home improvements or want help with budgeting or other personal finance needs, reach out to a Town & Country representative by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 800-649-3495 or book a consultation here.