Use these suggestions to cut down on unnecessary summer spending.
Summer has arrived! It’s time to put the top down, hit the open road, break out the grill and relax with family and friends.
While the weather and your social calendar heat up, your money doesn’t have to hit a boiling point. Here are a few easy ways to help you stay cool-headed about your finances this summer and avoid potential money leaks.
Avoid vacation procrastination
You dream of putting your feet in the sand, but worry about being buried in debt. There are many ways to enjoy a carefree vacation. First, plan ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute to book your getaway when rates may be higher. Follow airline and travel discount sites and their social media accounts to keep tabs on the latest deals for your favorite destination.
Whether you are traveling by car, train or plane, pack snacks. This is an often overlooked and expensive money leak that can drain your dollars before you even arrive at your destination. Skip the airline food or multiple stops on the road and pack healthy treats like nuts, granola, crackers or fruit to keep you budget savvy and energized.
Make your home summer-ready and energy-efficient
One of the biggest culprits of summer money leaks is our own home. There are several energy-saving tips and tricks that will keep the family cool while keeping costs down. Before cranking up the air conditioning, allow cooler air from the morning or night to flow into your home. Keep the blinds closed during the day to help your home stay cooler.
When possible, avoid using heat-producing appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and ovens during peak times (2-8 p.m.). Consider using cold water in your laundry when possible and air-dry clothes to reduce electricity use.
Don’t watch your money literally go down the drain. When it comes to water use, keep these tips in mind: use low-flow faucets and shower heads to save on water, and water the lawn and outdoor plants in the early morning hours.
Summer is also a perfect time to get your home winter-ready and mitigate unnecessary expenses in the cold months ahead. Replace air filters, clean gutters and weatherproof windows and doors.
Skip the tip and the trip
While dining out is a delicious experience, there are extra costs associated with a night on the town. Tip, corkage fee and an Uber ride to and from are just some of the extras that can add up every time you go out to eat.
Instead of dining out, eat in. No reservations required. No closing time. Host a happy hour at your house and invite everyone to bring their favorite beverage. Start a dinner club where friends rotate hosting dinner, brunch or a barbecue.
Keep the kids busy
School is out, and parents are eager to keep the kids busy with summer activities. Whether it’s an acting class, basketball or swimming lessons, it’s important to shop around for camps that meet your budget and needs. Identify any budget trade-offs before committing. For example, does the camp serve meals? Is it close to home? Are equipment or supplies needed to participate? Check your city website or local community centers for a list of affordable camps.
Whether it’s camps, trips to the mall, movies with friends or back-to-school shopping, summer spending can add up quickly. Track your spending with personal finance apps to help you understand how and where you are spending. This will also help you budget and plan accordingly for next summer.
Don’t let the dollar dictate your summer plans. There are plenty of free activities to enjoy as a family: parks, libraries, beaches and local outdoor concerts are great experiences that are fun and budget-friendly.
Culled from: US news.com
Written by: Holly Perez is a consumer money expert at Intuit and Mint spokeswoman, a leading money management tool that helps people understand and do more with their money so they can achieve their dreams.