We often think of the summer as a time of activity. We spend time travelling, at BBQ’s with family and friends, and doing projects around the house. This is a great way to spend your summertime, and this is the focus of many summer articles that you’ll find. Many of these activities involve spending more money than your typically used to. In an effort to balance this out, we came up with 5 relevant summer savings ideas that are easy to put into action:
Idea #1: Save on Childcare – While it’s nice to have the kids home during the summer, it can also get expensive. According to an article from MarketWatch, many American families will spend 20% of their monthly income on childcare during the summer. This increased expense is often missed when planning summer spending. The solution? As the old adage goes, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Consider pooling your resources with your friends and family. You can hire a babysitter to watch all of the children and split the costs. Additionally, the children can be rotated among the adults each week to save on babysitting costs. Besides, what kid doesn’t love a playdate?
Idea #2: Cook Outside – Using a stove or an oven in your kitchen can create a lot of excess heat that gets stuck in your house. The State of Florida released an interesting article stating that cooling your house every degree below 78F increases your energy bill by an average of 8%. That additional heat can really add up. As an added bonus, cooking outside can turn the dinner experience into a nice picnic.
Idea #3: Research Local Festivals – Many people visit an amusement park during the summer. While the kids typically have a lot of fun, the cost of concessions, souvenirs, and park tickets ends up hitting the budget a lot harder than people realize. As an alternative, many towns and cities have an active summer schedule that places an emphasis on the talents of our neighbors as well as brings the community together. You can often find free, local music, farmers markets, and artistic gatherings that can open your eyes to what you have in your own town.
Idea #4: Consider a Programmable Thermostat – According to Smartasset, the average Florida resident pays $126.44 per month on their electricity bill. With a busier summer schedule, it can be easy to forget to turn up the thermostat during the day. You end up paying a premium to cool a house that nobody is enjoying. A programmable thermostat can offer a notable cost-savings by allowing you to simply set the thermostat at a higher temperature when you’re away, and automatically begin to the cool the house before you get home.
Idea #5: Have a Yard Sale – Rather than saving money, this idea focuses on adding some unexpected income to the budget from selling old, unused items. Just about every house in America can afford at least some level of decluttering. A yard sale offers the opportunity to clean out the house while bringing the family together for a summertime activity. If the yard sale does well, consider using the extra income to pay for a fun summer activity for the family.
Bonus Idea #6: Open a Specific Summer Savings Account – As several points above have stated, their can be some unexpected costs associated with the summer. While the above savings techniques can help your budget, they don’t really provide a proactive solution to summer spending. Assuming you have a fully funded emergency fund with 3 – 6 months of savings and you’re debt free other than your mortgage, a good idea could be to establish a savings account with an automatic savings contributions to help pay for those fun items and unexpected costs that can surface.
At PFA, we always encourage people to avoid debt and live within their budget. We understand that this can be difficult. Rather than trying to execute all of these ideas, find one or two that sound attainable and put them into action. We hope you have a fun, safe, debt-free summer!