It can be easy to overspend during the summer. From increased energy bills (you have to crank that air conditioner during those hot days) to vacation costs, spending seems to snowball during the hottest season of the year. Instead of leaving the summer with far less in your bank account, find ways to ease the strain on your wallet—while still having a great vacation season. Keep these simple strategies in mind and ensure your finances don’t get hit by the summer spending trend.
Turn Down Your Hot Water Heater
Many homeowners turn up their hot water heater during the winter months to keep their showers warm. However, they forget to turn back the settings in the summer months (when all most of us want is a cold shower). The Department of Energy recommends having any tank-based hot water heater set to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Do a double check and find out where your temperature gauge is sitting to ensure you’re not wasting energy and money on heating water you’re not using.
If you’re not the best at self-discipline, it’s a good idea to bolster your savings account automatically. Instead of manually setting aside a chunk of your paycheck each month, have your bank account set up to do it for you. Most banks offer automatic transfer; simply set it up and you never have to worry about it.
Plan a Staycation
Summer is the season for vacations, but sometimes, planning that trip to a beachside oasis is too costly. Week-long vacations can easily cost upwards of several thousand dollars, and for tight budgets, it’s just not feasible. That doesn’t mean you can’t capture the vibes of rest and relaxation. Plan a staycation and get away from it all. Book a hotel room in your city or go camping in your backyard to get back to nature. It’s important to set some ground rules for your staycation. If you’re at home, it’s easy to let the normal tasks and stressors affect you. Make a commitment to abstain from chores, and turn off your phones and tablets.
Invest in a Home Energy Audit
If you’ve got an older home and haven’t made any energy efficient upgrades since purchasing, it’s likely that your house is wasting a great deal of energy and water—which means excess costs. Understanding how much energy you’re wasting and learning ways to cut down on this waste can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars each year. Book an appointment with an energy professional; they’ll come in and audit your home’s energy use, uncovering hidden energy leaks and providing you with invaluable advice on how to fix it. Most audits find small issues that are easy to repair on your own, while others find major problems that could become disastrous if left untreated. Making the investment in a home energy audit is more than worth the money you’ll save—especially during the summer months when your air conditioner is likely to be on full blast.
Grow Your Own Produce
Summer is the time for fresh fruit and vegetables, and nothing’s more satisfying than a light, crisp salad on a hot day. Instead of throwing money away for overpriced produce at your local supermarket, plant a garden and begin growing your own produce. Start small with easy to grow herbs and vegetables and move onto more difficult plantings as you get the hang of your gardening.
Pay Off Lingering Debt
We’ve just left tax season in the dust, but for those who still the IRS, the struggle continues. If you’re in tax debt, one of the most important things you can do for your family and wallet this summer is focus your spending on paying off these bills. Forgo the summer vacations and costly meals out and focus on getting your debt paid off. Negotiating payment plans and installment agreements with the government makes it easier to begin breaking down your debt. This effort now will pay off in the long run.
Saving money this summer isn’t as difficult as you might think. Keep these tips and strategies in mind and bolster your savings this season.