I don’t know about you, but I always feel like I spend more money in the summertime. The weather is nice and I want to be outside and go places, and oftentimes that leads to spending money. Restaurants with great outdoor seating, events with admissions fees, it all adds up. This summer, I’m going to try to cut back on spending. Here are a few tips.
Save on Cooling
Do you really need your air conditioner on or are you comfortable in your house with windows open and fans running? Frequently, the answer is “Yes, I absolutely need my air conditioner.” And that’s fair. But consider raising the temperature in your house. Even a few degrees will save on cooling costs. Additionally, get a programmable thermostat. If you’re gone all day, your house doesn’t need to be set at 72 degrees.
One of my goals for the summer is to remember to bump up my thermostat when I’m going to be out of the house overnight. Currently, my programmable thermostat is set to shift temperatures based on when I’m traditionally home. But if I’m not trying to sleep in the house, there’s no need for the temperature to be dropping.
Save on Laundry
Do you have a place where you can hang clothes to dry outdoors? Maybe you don’t have room for a traditional clothesline, but you might be able to place a drying rack on a patio or balcony. Air drying your clothes saves so much in electricity expenses, but it’s also great for your clothes as well. There’s nothing like bringing in a freshly dried set of sheets from the clothesline. They always smell so fresh. The sun can also help get rid of stains in your whites. (Cloth diapering parents know this tip well.)
I don’t know about you, but I love food cooked on the grill. You can do meats, veggies, even pizza if you’re a bit creative. While there are some bbq grills out there that are quite expensive, you can pick up a little charcoal grill for cheap (and personally, I think food cooked on charcoal is especially delicious). By cooking outside, you keep from heating up the house and can save on energy costs.
Check out Free Events
My area has a few different community pages that list the events occurring around the region. This summer, I’m making a point to take advantage of these, from free concerts to educational events. For example, next month there is a beekeeping demonstration. While beekeeping really isn’t a hobby I want to get into, I find it completely fascinating and am looking forward to learning more (and maybe save moneymeeting some local beekeepers too).
Reconsider Your Lawn
Do you have a lawn? Do you water it regularly? A few years ago, I stopped regularly watering my lawn, and you know what happened? Nothing. It still looks pretty darn good. Are there times during the summer where it starts to look a little rough due to lack of rain? Absolutely. But what I learned was that the lawn wasn’t going to die off if I let it get dry. It just goes a bit dormant, then comes back. I admit, I stopped watering it mostly because I was lazy, but then I realized I was saving money and also in a small way, helping the environment. If you want to go one step further, get rid of your lawn all together and plant a garden in its place (Yes, you have to water that, but you’ll get food out of it) or consider xeriscaping.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.