Summer Is Winding Down – Are You Ready To Save?
With the end of summer only a few weeks away, there’s still time to get your summer savings in, and get ready for Autumn!
Keep Your Cash With These Tips
Everyone wants to save money. Summertime is a great time to get organized and understand where your money is going. There are always specials and coupons to be cut when the kids are out of school. From entertainment to food, saving money on outings is really important. Most Americans spend more money in the summer months than any other time of the year. This is because people go on vacations when the weather is nice. They tend to have barbecues and more social outings. The kids are out of school and families need to stay preoccupied. Family events are far more prevalent in the summertime. So how can you turn and fun day into an adventure that doesn’t hurt your wallet?
There are fundamental ways to save money all year round. From budgeting and balancing your check book weekly, to cutting costs on car insurance. Getting the best deals when shopping is another way you can add more to your cart without taking more out of your bank account. Luckily the summertime is also a season when there tends to be large sales and savings when shopping or traveling. The best way to start down the road of summer savings is to understand where you start. This means: you need to know your families budget and spending tendencies. Are you frequent travelers? Do you love staying home to cook or do you tend to eat out? Are there ways that you or your spouse bring in extra money in the summertime? Getting your sucks in a row first is always important.
Where To Start
The best place to start when wanting to really save and cut down on your summer spending is to get ahold of your bills. That’s right! Look over your bills and understand what you spend every month. Where is your money going? This is one very important question to ask yourself. Where is your money going and does it need to be going there? For example: your air conditioning (electric bill) sky rockets in the summertime. How much more are you spending in the summer and is there a way to cut down on this bill? Can you and the kids get out of the house more? Maybe turn up the air conditioning unit one or two degrees. You might be surprised how much you can save by not using your air conditioning at certain times of the day. Or maybe this bill isn’t a worry for you and your would rather be comfortable.
Sit down with your partner and go over your bills and what is important to you. Can you find the best car insurance by talking with a broker? Or are you already saving everything you can on your insurance premium? Start off by making a list and a budget. You might even want to do this quarterly because bills change from season to season. What you are spending in the summer will filter into different bills come winter. Now that summer is in full swing, you may start to see your wallet hurting. Are you squeezing out every last penny? Maybe you are being too frivolous with your spending habits. Are you and your family big travelers? Or perhaps you like to stay in and rent movies. No matter what you like doing, there are ways to cut costs.
Tips You Can Count On
Let’s start off this quest for savings by learning about some helpful tips that will hopefully cut costs in a real way. If you are struggling to pay that $400 a month electric bill, you may want to start with why your bill is so high. Maybe you are dreading that monthly water bill or grocery bill. Find out what makes your hair stand on end and start there. But first read these tips that should get you out of that scary place. The place where your money is gone! Get it back. Money can be a huge stressor on families. In fact money is the number one reason why couples fight. Steer clear of negativity this summer and understand your finances more clearly.
Tip 1: Insurance savings
The best place to start is with your insurance bills. Insurance bills are usually the 4th or 5th largest bill you have, but it can easily be the best way to cut costs. Talk to a broker for free about how they can help you get discounts on your car insurance. Here are some ways to save by adding discounts:
- Discounts for safety courses taken- taking a safety course can help your premiums go down because it proves that you are a safe driver.
- Marital discounts
- Good driver discounts- having a driving record which shows safe driving and responsible skills will only help you when shopping for insurance.
- Multi-car discounts- Not only having multiple cars can help, but the types of cars your family drives could save you.
- Multi-policy discounts- You may want to consider getting homeowners insurance, motorcycle insurance, car insurance, SR22 insurance and much more from the same insurance company.
- Association discounts
- Education discounts
- Occupation discounts- Depending on what kind of job you have and how far you need to commute for that job could make a difference in your policy choice and price.
- Excess vehicle discounts
- Mileage discounts- Keeping low miles on your vehicle should keep your premiums lower.
Besides car insurance, your other insurance policies such as homeowners or renters can be part of the plan as well. The plan to save you hundreds of dollars this summer. If you bundle your policies together, you will save. Pay just twice a year and you could cut off at least $20-$40 off of your premium. Getting that deductible higher will also lower your premium.
Tip 2: Electric Bill
We use far more electricity than we think we do. If you are running your fridge, your washing machine and your dishwasher, you are spending a lot on electricity. Some people have two refrigerators. Other people leave all of their appliances on at once. There is also something called peak hours. During this time of day, your electricity bill is higher. This is because more people are using it. Between the hours of 3pm and 8pm is usually the highest tier of an electric payment. This means that if you choose to run your appliances during this time, you will pay more. First things first, stop running your electricity during this peak time.
You can also save by turning off any electricity you are not using. For example, your printer and computer and lamp in your office. If you put these three items on a power strip, you can simply turn off the power strip when you leave the room. It might seem old school and over the top but less electricity means a lower bill. Just like with getting the best car insurance in town, getting your electric bill down takes effort.
Tip 3: Air Dry Your Clothes
This might sound silly but if you are home all day with your kids you might as well hang up your clothes on a line. In fact this could be a fun thing for the whole family to get into this summer. Air dried clothes will save your hours of electricity running. Air drying leaves clothes a little hard to the touch, so put them in the dryer after they are fully dried just to fluff them a bit.
Tip 3: Costco and Bulk Buying
Bulk buying your groceries for the summer can really help cut costs. If you have a meal plan for the summer (approximately three months) you could save tons! Here is an example of a meal menu for one week. All of these items you can buy at Costco at a discounted rate.
Monday: Macaroni and Cheese Night with Broccoli (You can buy bulk organic mac n cheese or simply make your own with pasta and shredded cheddar cheese). Broccoli can be found in the vegetable section or the frozen section.
Tuesday: Tacos with ground turkey and tortillas. Add shredded cheese and shredded lettuce. Get salsa and chips for the side. This is a family favorite.
Wednesday: Bagged salad and mashed potatoes. Bagged salads are huge at Costco and can actually be split into two servings depending on your family size. Golden Potatoes and salted butter make for a yummy side starch.
Thursday: Pork Chops with rice and green beans. Pork chops are a steal and very juicy from the Costco meat department. Barbecue them and make rice in the rice cooker. The kids can help out with this meal as well. Get a large bag of green beans and have plenty of left overs.
Friday: Get yourself a Costco Pizza! For $10 you can feed the family with a fast and easy dinner. Make sure to order the combo pizza for extra veggies.
Saturday: Spaghetti and Meatballs. You can get yummy bulk pre-made meat balls in the frozen section. Spaghetti comes in all shapes and sizes so let the kids pick it out. You can buy three large jars of marinara for about $10.
Sunday: Artichokes and Grilled chicken. Buy four large artichokes and put them on the grill. Frozen or fresh chicken thighs are cheap and juicy!
Tip 4: Turn off water
Even if your grass gets a little dry this summer, conserve water by only watering twice a week. Or have timers set on your sprinklers for 10 minutes a day. This means that you are only spending about 70 minutes a week on watering. Limit showers to once a day and ten minutes long. It’s amazing how efficient you will get at getting clean. No baths for the summer means saving gallons of water. Try washing your large dishes by hand instead of putting them in the dishwasher. And only use your dishwasher when it is completely full.
Tip 4: Summer Shop At Discount Stores
Make it a new routine to only do your clothes shopping at discount stores such as Ross or Marshalls. Make it a game with your kids: who can save the most! It’s fun to go shopping where you know you are saving. You can find many clothes items for half off at discount stores. Stay away from Target and the mall. Your money will not go far here. If you need to shop at all, set a budget for your kids. $100 each should be sufficient for swim suits, shorts and flip flops. Realize that you can dress casually in these summer months. Summer clothes usually cost less and you can rewear many items. Make shopping fun but realistic. Always bring a list of what you need and stick to the list. A wondering eye will make your wallet cry.
Tip 5: Sign Up For Discount Travel
Sign up with your favorite travel websites for the best offers on flights. Keep track of great deals. This way if you want to plan a weekend getaway with your family this summer you won’t break the bank. You can often find great savings on trips to Las Vegas or San Diego for less than $100 a person. This can also be a spontaneous way to give your family a fun last minute trip somewhere before school starts. You can also sign up for cheap cruises online by choosing weekday dates. Shop smart and don’t limit yourself to weekends.
Tip 6: Get On A Family Mobile Plan
If you aren’t already, make sure your family members are bundled together on a family mobile plan for your cell phones and tablets. Go in and talk to your cell phone provider about how you can save more on your bill every month.
Tip 7: Cook Outside
Don’t make it hotter inside. Grill every night if you have to. There is no reason to heat up the house anymore than it already is. Get your chicken and veggies and head outside. Cook while the kids swim and eat in the shade.
Tip 8: Replace all the filters in your house
From air conditioning filters, to your car filters. If air flow is not working properly, you will pay more. Replace the filters in your air purifiers as well. Keeping clean, fresh air is important when you can’t open windows as much.
Tip 9: Open Up The House At Night
If your weather App says it’s going to be 65 or less that night, by all means open up the windows in your house for fresh air. Cool your house naturally by using the great outdoors. You can keep fans on to help circulate the fresh cooler air from outside. Keeping your air conditioning on at night ca have health hazards as well. Try your hardest to keep track of the weather and times it will start to cool off.
Tip 10: Keep Your Recycling And Turn It In
This is a very fun project for the whole family to get involved in. If you have time and there is a recycling center in your area, you can save your recycling and turn it in for money. It might not be much, but coming away with $20 for a months worth of recycling could be a matinee movie for you and the kids. Keep in mind that there are rules and regulations to what you can turn in. This is also a great way to create work ethic in your kids and show them the value of earning.