By the looks of the upcoming forecast, summer is pretty much here. Just think, the kids will be out of school soon, trips to the beach will be more frequent, and the coming days will only get warmer. What better time to get out of the house, enjoy the sun and save some money in the process.
These money saving tips will help you keep a little more of what you earn in your pocket this summer.
Adjust Your Thermostat. Luckily, we really only use our A/C here in the Pacific Northwest 3-4 months of the year. 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 sides of the house that get a lot of daytime sun. To check out some other cool ways to save money, head over to NatGeo’s Hacking the System – Money Hacks with host Brian Brushwood.
If you really want to dial into the energy savings and save big, get yourself a smart thermostat. I personally just bought the ecobee3. This thermostat has mobile 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 at in the house and adjust the temperature as needed. This helps to alleviate the problem of your downstairs being cold and upstairs being too hot.
Buy Local. Two words…farmer’s market. Yes, the grocery store might just be down the street but don’t forget about your neighborhood or city farmer’s market. You can often get better produce at a slightly less cost. Plus, you’re helping out a local farm/family. Find an Oregon farmer’s market near you, or to check out one of many farmer’s markets Washington has to offer.
Take the Bus or Train. Like it or not, you can pretty much count on gasoline prices rising in the summer months. Whether you’re heading to work or the coast, you need to think about ways to save money when gas prices rise.
For work, consider taking the bus or light rail. You may not know it but many employers offer some kind of discount for you to use mass transit. Be sure to check with your HR department. For your summer travels, consider downloading the app GasBuddy to your smartphone. This app uses the GPS in your phone to locate nearby gas stations with the lowest price per gallon. I’ll tell you right now, this app saved me a bunch when I drove my family down to Disneyland a few years ago.
Attend Local Events & Entertainment. Sure there are destinations and events throughout the country you can visit, but why not check out some local spots, many of which offer free to low-cost admission.
Whether it’s a Rose City Rollers bout, a scrapbooking convention, the Oregon Brewers Festival, or catching the Bacon Brothers perform (yes, Kevin Bacon is coming to Portland), be sure to visit PDXPipeline.com for a ton of local events and some really good entertainment that won’t empty your wallet.
Get Outside and Exercise. The weather is nice, the cool summer breeze is beginning to blow and you can get all the Vitamin D you want right outside your door. While we love working out at the gym and staying healthy, remember this is the best time to enjoy the outdoors.
I actually ended up canceling my $29 per month gym membership about a year ago and decided I’m going to explore my downtown surroundings more. Now a few times a week I hit a trail in Forest Park or run the bridge loop downtown…that’s the west and east sides of the Willamette River starting at the Hawthorne bridge to the Steel Bridge…it’s a great run.
Skip the Hotel. Got travel plans this summer? Instead of booking a hotel that usually comes with a bunch of fees and taxes, try something a little different…Airbnb.com. This August I’m taking my family to Vancouver, B.C. and it was suggested that we stay downtown. For a good 3-Star hotel, we were looking at $129-$315 per night. Switching over to Airbnb you can rent an entire 2-bedroom condo/townhome for anywhere from $99-$199 per night. Can you say “SAVINGS!” Also, be sure to check out: Homeaway.com, VRBO.com and Vacasa.com.
Hopefully, you can use some of these money saving tips for your upcoming summer adventures. Do you have any tips to save money for the summer? If so, let us know in the comments below.
Posted by: Ryan W. Jones
About the author: Ryan has been in the credit union industry for 13 years and has been with Unitus Community Credit Union since 2007. He started his credit union career in Sacramento, CA before finding his way to Oregon. In his day job Ryan oversees Unitus’ digital presence, however when the work whistle blows he is all about his family. He and his wife moved to Oregon in 2006 and have two children.