(7 Minute Read) – There are plenty of ways to save money during the summer. Unfortunately, many consumer goods are rising in cost lately. Goods you and your family rely on. We’ve seen prices spike for lumber, groceries, dining out, and gasoline, just to name a few.
These cost increases don’t help anyone’s wallet, and many expect inflation to rise even more this summer and in the coming year. In fact, you probably have summer plans that will be affected by these costs, so we’re here to help you find some ways to save money this summer.
While these summer savings ideas won’t fill your wallet overnight, every little bit helps.
1. How to save money on your summer electric bill
Adjust your thermostat. Sounds easy, right? Luckily, here in the Pacific Northwest we only rely on our air conditioning 3 or 4 months a year: the summer months.
Want to save a little during those months? Turn your home’s A/C to 78 degrees, as every degree below that uses 3-4% more power.
It also helps to keep your blinds and curtains closed, especially on the side of the home that gets a lot of daytime sun (typically the south side.) Check out some other cool ways to save on your home’s energy costs during the summer.
Get a smart thermostat. If you really want to dial in the energy savings, get yourself a smart thermostat. These things are amazing!
A few years ago, I purchased the ecobee3. This thermostat has temperature/motion detector sensors you place in different rooms.
So now instead of the thermostat just reading your hallway temperature, it can detect where you are in the house and adjust the temperature in that room as needed. This helps alleviate the problem where it’s too cold downstairs but too hot upstairs.
You can also see your thermostat’s data to get a visualization of how often your system is operating and where you can fine tune your cooling needs.
2. How to save money on summer camps
DIY summer camp. Seriously! If you have kids, you know how expensive summer camps can be.
Doing a quick Google search for local summer camps, depending on the ages of your kids, they range anywhere from $200-350 per week, and that’s for just one child!
Granted, before COVID most of us worked in an office, not at home. So the idea of creating a relatively inexpensive summer camp hadn’t even crossed our minds.
But with many parents working from home now, this idea isn’t so far-fetched anymore.
If you think you’re up for the challenge, and want another way to save money this summer, think small and work up from there. Some simple daily activities may include:
- Outdoor games: Frisbee, freeze tag, water balloons, obstacle courses, lawn darts (are those still a thing?), corn hole, you name it. Chances are you have, or can easily obtain the supplies needed to create your own outdoor challenge.
- Crafts: Many of these crafts have online instructions that you can download for free. Think wooden bird houses, wind chimes, tie-dyed shirts or pillow cases, paper towel roll kaleidoscopes, even homemade ice cream in a bag, plus many more.
- Water fun: It’s summer, so that pretty much guarantees water will be involved some way or another. Break out the water guns, sprinklers, and bathing suits. If you really want to stay cool, consider building an outdoor DIY mister to keep you cool while the kids have fun.
In the end these are just a few ideas to help keep your kids entertained this summer while finding ways to save money. If you’ve got some great ideas for your kids, or the kids in the neighborhood, get going…temperatures are rising and summer fun awaits Camp Counselor!
3. How to save money at the gym
Start working out at home. The weather is nice; the cool evening summer breeze is beginning to blow, and all the Vitamin D you need is waiting for you right outside your door. So, why are you paying for that expensive gym membership again?
While some of us love working out at the gym, this past year challenged us to find new ways to exercise and stay on top of our health.
COVID forced us to look at our homes and living spaces in a new light, needing to find alternative ways to stay physically fit without the costs of a gym membership.
For many of us, our dining room became our yoga studio, our garage became our home gym, and our street became our new treadmill. Gone are heavy pieces of equipment, now replaced with resistance bands purchased for less than $30.
Also, this period saw new trends in exercise equipment. Companies old and new developed interactive digital equipment that allows you to exercise virtually anywhere in the world (on a screen), all with a trainer encouraging you along the way.
With all of these options, maybe now is the time to save some money and invest in your home workout space, wherever it may be.
4. How to save money on your summer vacation
Skip the hotel. Got travel plans this summer? COVID restrictions have lifted in many states, bringing good news for you, your family, and the tourist industry overall.
However, instead of booking an expensive hotel that usually comes with a bunch of fees and lodging taxes (seriously, why do I have to pay for parking if I’m already staying at your hotel?), try something a little different, like Airbnb.
My family has used Airbnb a handful of times, from Vancouver & Victoria, B.C., to Nye Beach, OR and Salt Lake City, UT. Each time, the cost savings over staying at a hotel were plentiful.
Take for instance our most recent trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. To stay downtown at a 3 or 4 Star hotel, we were looking at $190-$250 per night. Switching over to Airbnb, we ended up renting an amazing 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom historic loft with its own parking spot for under $175 per night. Can you say SAVINGS!
If you’ve never tried a vacation rental site like this before, give it a try; you might be surprised by what you find, and by the money you save. Also, to find the best deal, be sure to shop around at other vacation rental sites like VRBO.com and Vacasa.com.
5. How to save money around the house
Little things can add up quickly. Here are just a few additional ways to save money this summer around the house.
- DIY repairs – Got a leaky faucet or maybe a broken sprinkler? Don’t stress about paying big bucks to get it fixed. With sites like YouTube, there’s a good chance someone has made a repair video that you can follow.
- Have a garage sale – Summer is a great time to start cleaning out your closets, attic, or basement to make some easy money. Here are some useful garage sale tips from personal finance expert Dave Ramsey. You might also consider using online services like eBay or Facebook Marketplace to sell items.
- Skip the car wash – Every week I’m amazed how many cars I see lined up at the car wash. With the average local car wash costing around $9-10, and most people going twice a month, we’re talking roughly $60 for the summer (and that’s for the cheap wash option). Instead, make car washing a family fun event. Break out the soapy water, hose, and sponges and start washing. You’ll save money and make some fun memories. Plus, with the extra help it might be quicker than the automated car wash itself.
- Be your own Barista – Seriously, coffee from a coffee shop is expensive! So, why not brew your own? Whether you’ve got an automatic coffee maker or a French press, buy your coffee beans in bulk and get to brewing. Not convinced? Depending on your drink choice and options, chances are you’re paying anywhere from $2-$5 per cup at a coffee shop compared to $0.03-$1.10 per cup at home. Ouch! Check out this ‘True Cost of Your Morning Fix’ infographic for more.
- Wash clothing in cold water – How will this help you save money? According to the EnergyStar folks, there are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes—use less water or use cooler water. It’s no secret: washing your clothes in cold water not only reduces energy consumption (giving your water heater a break from heating up the water), it cleans your clothes too.
Pro Tip: Consider taking the money you just saved and add it to your rainy day/emergency fund.
We’ve only touched on a few of the ways to save money this summer and we hope you’ve found these helpful, but we both know there are many more money-saving ideas out there.
In fact, if you’ve made it this far into the article, you’ve probably come up with a few ideas of your own.
Good luck and have fun during your summer savings adventure!
About the author: Ryan Jones
Ryan has been with Unitus Community Credit Union since 2007. He started his credit union career in California before making his way to Oregon. He manages Unitus’ creative and digital presence including: content development, art direction, website design, SEO, digital advertising, photography, video production, and more.
When he’s not directing and producing creative content for Unitus, you can find him working on his next big home project, playing dad while supporting his kid’s football and dance activities, or relaxing on the backyard deck with his wife and enjoying a nice bottle of local Pinot Noir.