Why does it seem like household expenses increase during the summer? Utilities, groceries, clothing, and other expenses seem to pop up, and if you’re not prepared it can leave your budget a little drained. For us, it meant at one point sacrificing our family summer vacation just to be able to make it from day to day. That is until I found a few ways to save.
- No Cooking on the Stove
Turning on the stove or oven during the summer not only increases your energy bill, but it makes the house hot – which in turn causes you to crank up the air conditioner. However, the kids are home, and obviously, you have to cook. I made a vow that I would not turn on the stove during the summer, and I was able to save a great deal of money. I did a lot of grilling, crockpot meals, and even non-cook recipes like salads and sandwiches.
- Maintain Your AC
Whether you have central air or window units, maintenance is the key to saving money during the summer. If it’s been a while since you’ve contacted someone for air conditioning repair and maintenance, then it’s probably a good idea before your costs increase. Much like your vehicle, when well maintained, it will run without issue, but failure to maintain the car properly can lead to the need for significant repairs.
- Clothing Swap
Kids seem to go through clothes so quickly. If they haven’t outgrown them, they’ve pretty much damaged them from all the ripping and running around they do during the summer. Rather than go out and purchase entirely new clothes for the kids, you could easily swap with neighbors who have children close in age.
- Ask About Financial Aid
Summer camp fees can cost just as much as daycare, which can be pretty steep – especially if you have multiple children. When applying for summer camp, ask the director if they have financial aid available for parents with lower incomes. Many times they do, and if you qualify you could cut the camp fees in half if not more.
- More Outdoor Play
During the summer when more bodies are home they tend to increase your cost of living. The kids are playing video games, watching television, and on the internet non-stop. A great way to cut back on energy costs, improve your kid’s health, and spend some quality time would be to enforce more outdoor play. Playing outside is essentially free and will also motivate the kids to be more active which is great for their health.
- Vacation Locally
Summer is typically the time of year where families like to travel. If you’re dealing with a tight budget, you could always opt to travel someplace nearby. “Staycations,” as they are often called, can be a weekend road trip to a neighboring city. There is typically so much you can do for free during the summer. Festivals, markets, fairs, and other outdoor activities are generally open to the public and free. Try planning your vacation during a time where there are going to be lots of activities for you to do with the family.
When the kids are home and the bills are high, get creative. Summertime is supposed to be about fun and togetherness. If you find that the increased costs over the school break are just too much to bear, there are other solutions. The above six tips help me to save a great deal of money, which we were able to use for back to school shopping.