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7 Ways to Save Money This Summer

June 26th, 2008

Every time you look, prices keep going up. At the gas station, grocery store, even the airlines, every time you blink you see higher prices.

No matter what you want to do this summer, it looks like it might cost a little more money than last summer.   The good news is that there are many things you can do to bring the costs down, and still save money.

Here are 7 ways you can still have a fun summer, do a lot, and spend a lot less money.

1. Look for free (or very inexpensive) entertainment.

  • You can take the whole family to the movies for free or $1.00.
  • Bring lunch with you and have a picnic at a local park. You can spend the whole day there, and not have to spend a time, and everyone will have fun.
  • You can go to a minor league baseball game. You can get great seats for under $10.00 a person, sometimes even for about $5.00 each. Many minor league games even have special nights with free stuff for the kids, or even fireworks for even more entertainment.
  • Take advantage of your local library. You can rent book, magazines, and DVDs that can keep the whole family entertained for hours…especially on a rainy afternoon!

2. Plan your meals ahead of time.

It’s very easy to decide to go out to eat when it’s hot outside, it’s almost dinner time, and you have no idea what to make.

If you decide ahead of time what you’re going to make for the week, and even make some of it ahead of time (or use a crock pot in the morning), you won’t be so tempted to go out to dinner. This can really save you money (as well as calories!) since eating out usually costs a lot more than anything you can make at home.

3. Eat what is in season.

Now is the best time for local fruits and vegetables. They’ll be cheap, and taste fresh. If you buy fruit and vegetables that are in season where you live, you’ll spend a lot less on groceries than if you buy out of season items that had to be shipped to your local grocery store. Plus, you’ll have nice fresh fruit and veggies that have just been picked, and you’ll even have the benefit of supporting your local economy.

4. Spend less on your vacation.

You don’t have to fly somewhere to have a fun vacation.  Look to travel somewhere that’s nearby. No matter where you live, there are probably many places you can visit that are within a short driving distance that everyone will enjoy. Since you’ll be driving, you can make sure to bring with you breakfast foods as well as snacks and bottled water. This will save you a lot of money as well since you’ll only have to buy lunch and dinner out.

5. Make sure you compare prices.

While this goes for everything else as well, especially use it when you’re planning your vacation. You would be surprised at the difference in prices on the same hotel from one website to another.

Plus, if you’re going somewhere (like a theme park) that has an entrance fee, you can comparison shop to find the best prices on those as well. Consider going to your local AAA or even fast food restaurant to look for those kinds of discounts.

6. Lower your utility bills (as well as gas for your car).

  • Dry your clothes outside. It’s beautiful and warm outside. Now is the time to give your dryer a break, and put the clothes outside to get dry.
  • If you have air conditioning, still use your fan as well (especially a ceiling fan). You’ll be able to keep your house cooler, and it costs less to run a fan than your air conditioner. You’ll be able to use the A/C less, and still keep your home nice and cool.
  • Run your dishwasher and do your laundry at night. In many places, you’ll save money for using electricity at night when it isn’t as hot and there isn’t as much of a demand for it.
  • Plan your errands ahead of time. If you know where you need to drive for the week, you can group all of the places that are near each other so you can do them at once. This way you will drive less, and save money on gas.
  • You can also use a website like GasBuddy to find the best prices on gas.  Make sure you stop to get gas when you’re in the area for other reasons, or you’ll just be wasting what you’re trying to save money on!

7. Mystery Shop so you can do more for less.

If you want to go out to eat or shop, but don’t want to spend your own money, consider mystery shopping. This way you’ll still be able to go out to eat (or buy things) without breaking the bank this summer. It does require a bit of work, but if you don’t mind describing your experience at a restaurant or retail shop, you can get these things for free. I’ve even seen theme parks as well as hotels being mystery shopped, so who knows how much this could help your budget!

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