21 Tips To Save Money This Summer And Still Make The Most Of It
Summer is that time of the year when we form so many of our greatest memories. Whether it’s enjoying the company of our family and friends locally or heading on a vacation, the nicer weather can bring out the best of times.
There are also many health and wellness benefits to taking a vacation or enjoying a staycation. You’ve been working your tail off throughout the fall, winter and spring, now you’re ready to enjoy this summer and reap those benefits.
However, this increased leisure time and opportunity to get outside socially can also bring with it increased spending.
Summer doesn’t need to be a financial strain.
With better planning and cost-effective spending habits we can make momentum with your hard-earned money and turn this summer into your best one yet. These money saving tips have been broken down into the following sections:
- Budgeting & Forecasting For Summer
- Planning Your Summer Vacation
- Save Money This Summer Locally
- Save Money At Home This Summer
- Getting Your Summer Mind & Body Ready
- Making Some Extra Cash
Here are 21 tips to save money this summer and still make the most of it.
1.) Review Your Year To Date Budget
The first step to getting the most of your money this summer should be checking the year-to-date budget status. How are we tracking? Any shortages or overages that might alter what’s possible this summer?
I love services like Mint or Personal Capital to help manage your budget, track spending and monitor all your finances in one place. The last thing we want to be doing is potentially getting into debt by using a credit card or line of credit to stop-gap any shortages. Arm yourself with the full understanding of your current financial landscape.
2.) Update Your Summer Budget
Now that you’ve reviewed your year-to-date spending, it’s time to update your projections for the summer months.
I like to add a little cushion in my budgets in Mint from the start of June to the end of August. I want to have the buffer to capitalize on opportunities that come up in the summer. I’ve worked hard and been studious with my budget all year long so that I can enjoy time with my girlfriend, friends and family.
Prepare, plan and enjoy all that summer has to offer by getting that budget ready.
3.) Open A Specific Summer Savings Account
Using a specific savings account for your vacation funds is a great way to get the most of your money this summer. You can keep this separate from your other accounts and always know exactly how your summer vacation/entertainment budget is standing.
Most of the popular online banking solutions offer flexible high interest savings accounts that offer additional sub-accounts at no cost. Canadians can check out Ratehub or Rate Supermarket to review current offerings. While Americans can use Nerdwallet or ValuePenguin.
Make sure you read the fine print and don’t get your money locked-up for a set time frame. You want these funds liquid and readily accessible.
4.) Check Your Vacation Day Balance At Work
Have you checked your vacation balance at work lately? If you aren’t going to be paid out for the leftover days, take them! I’d even recommend taking them as opposed to getting the extra cash. Your body and mind likely need a break to avoid burnout (see an article on the health benefits of a vacation).
According to Fortune, 54% of American employees end the year with unused vacation days. Don’t fall into that side of the equation. Check your vacation balance at work and work with your employer to ensure you’re getting everything you’ve earned.
5.) Educate Yourself On Travel Hacking
If you’re already a travel hacking connesuire, you can pass this one up. If not, travel hacking can unlock substantial cost-savings this summer for you and your family’s vacation.
I wrote a Travel Hacking Resources Guide For Americans And Canadians that includes 70+ resources, tools and tips to get a grip on the different aspects. One recommendation right off the bat is to listen to this podcast episode from The Mad Fientist and this blog post from Choose FI.
Generally, the first step is to educate yourself on travel hacking and then to open a rewards credit card(s).
6.) Open a Rewards Credit Card
If you’re struggling with debt or don’t trust yourself to payoff your balance in full each billing period, this isn’t for you. However, if you’re confident in your ability to do so, why not earn some travel rewards on your normal spending?
For my fellow Canadians, I love the American Express Cobalt as my daily churner. It’s an amazing card for stacking up rewards points due to their 5x multiplier categories. Plus it’s super flexible points transfer opportunities with American Express make it one of the best cards available today. The American Express Platinum AIR Miles card is another one of the top Canadian credit cards on the market if you’re an AIR Miles collector.
Here are some other great rewards cards that will give you a free $75 gift card or $100 gift card when you sign-up. I always take advantage of these offers when available to get some added monetary benefit from my credit card.
7.) Review Your Credit Card Benefits & Insurance Coverage
If you’re travelling abroad or even locally, you should review the benefits and insurance details of your credit card.
Most include a variety of different tiers of travel insurance, rental car insurance, flight cancellation coverage and so forth. Credit Card Genius wrote about the types of insurance you might not be aware you have. Depending on what card you have you might also have other VIP benefits like airport lounge access, hotel room upgrades and so on.
Please don’t spend on insurance you might already have covered by your card and don’t miss on those great benefits either.
8.) Search Discount Vacation, Flight And Hotel Aggregators
As you start to book your summer vacations make sure you’re getting the best deals on the market. Don’t overspend on your travel or accommodation! Leverage the power of technology to source the most cost-effective solutions for you.
One service I use often for both business and personal trips is Momondo. Momondo aggregates deals by searching for the best offers around the web. 1000’s of service providers, in almost every corner of the globe, are crawled by Momondo’s bots to find all the price points available on flights, hotels, package vacations and car rentals.
I recently needed to book a flight from Toronto to Vancouver for the summer. I had enough American Express Rewards Points to cover the value but the deal on Momondo was so strong I decided to jump on that and hold my points for a future trip.
9.) Use Airbnb To Save And Live Like The Locals
Speaking of saving money on travel, Airbnb is how we like to travel whenever possible! Not only is it cheaper than pricey hotels, I love the cost-savings of being able to cook some meals in-house brings when staying at an Airbnb.
Plus staying in a great neighbourhood full of locals is the type of travel I enjoy most. You can get to really know a city by staying in the heart of it.
If you are new to Airbnb, you can use my link to get $45 in free travel credit for your first trip! No strings attached, $45 off your accommodation costs to enjoy your summer fun.
10.) Get A CityPASS To Take Advantage Of Bundled Tourism Activities
CityPASS bundles the major tourist attractions into a one package (or pass) at a deeply discounted price. For example, the Southern California CityPASS has Disneyland and LEGOLAND bundled with other popular spots. The New York City package includes the Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History and a bunch of attractions.
The CityPASS can save you upwards of 50% off the costs from purchasing directly from the attractions or locations directly.
11.) Look Through Your Local Events Calendar
I always check the Toronto events calendars to see what’s going on in the city each week. There are plenty of free or low-cost local activities that can easily keep me entertained.
From food truck meet-ups or local brewery specialty days to outdoor music shows and firework shows, I am sure your local city tourism and events calendar is jam-packed with budget friendly events too.
Summer doesn’t just need to mean jet-setting vacations, take advantage of your “staycation” and enjoy the local offerings.
12.) Check GroupOn For Local Deals
GroupOn is another tool I use to make the most of my entertainment money in the summer. There are always great deals on local concerts and attractions.
I feel like GroupOn is something millennials overlook often and don’t realize just how big the savings can be. On any given day you can easily score 50%++ off discounts on offers locally or in the area you might be travelling to.
Don’t overlook GroupOn as a summer money saving lever.
13.) Eat Out Less
Enjoy each other’s company without the costly food and drink bills that restaurants can bring. So take advantage of the nicer weather and use it as an opportunity to host friends and family for dinners and get togethers.
Clean off the BBQ and get it ready for the summer season. Keep an eye on the Amazon Outdoor Cooking Tools And Accessories page for any special sales or offers.
I just picked up a new 16 Piece BBQ Set and Grilling Basket for a combined $40…that’s the price of one bottle of wine at the local steakhouse. I will get that value back ten-fold over the summer at home BBQing my own steaks and grilling veggies.
14.) Find Out The Farmers Market Schedule
The summer weather brings with it more farmers markets stuffed full of amazing, fresh and budget friendly food. Not only do you get the benefit for your own wallet, you also get to support local businesses. Local Harvest is an awesome resource to find all the different farmers markets in your area.
Pay a visit to a few of them and get to know the owners/producers. Building those relationships will help you find the best supplier of each piece of produce or item you like and also potentially save you some money. I talk more about this in my 13 Easy Ways To Save Money On Groceries post.
Farmers markets are a great way to make the most of your money this summer.
15.) Start A Garden
Speaking of fresh, healthy and cost-effective food, why not start your own garden? Even if you don’t have a full backyard to plant a bountiful vegetable garden, you can still grow herbs and other veggies on your window sill or balcony.
This article from BuzzFeed has all the tips you might need as a beginner. I am going to grow a variety of herbs, tomatoes and chili’s this year. Stay tuned for pics during summer!
16.) Cut The Cord On Cable
The average American adult spends 5.5 hours with video content each day, yikes. Summer is about being outside with your family and friends enjoying the fresh air, barbecuing, camping, hiking, swimming, relaxing and so on.
If you’re in a flexible cable plan, why not cancel it for the summer and save $300+? If you’re in a long-term contract, it might be worth considering cutting the cord anyways. You’ll save tens of thousands of dollars across your lifetime and there are numerous cost-effective solutions available.
17.) Manage The Thermostat
Don’t leave the AC blasting while you’re away at work or on vacation over the summer. The added energy costs to cool your house when you aren’t even there can sink your wallet.
This article from Compact Alliance includes 3 tips about summer thermostat management. Those three tips are: turn it up a degree or two (you probably won’t notice), use a fan and smaller is better.
I use this awesome Honeywell Room Air Fan religiously as soon as it warms up here in Toronto. Whether in the office, bedroom or living room, this thing packs a punch. It’s “energy efficient” and keeps me cool enough without having to be blasting pricey AC throughout my place at all times.
18.) Start Your Summer Fitness Routine
The nicer weather brings the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the fresh air in a healthy way. And also in a free (or budget friendly) way. Get a head start on summer before it’s here by dusting off the bike or running shoes now. If you have access to a pool or lake, swim.
Here are 10 tips to stay motivated with your summer workout by Fitness Magazine. Find a workout buddy and stay consistent with it.
19.) Stock Up For Your Summer Reading
One of my favourite things about summer is the amount of time I get to spend reading outside in the fresh air. Whether it’s lakeside or just on my patio, there’s something nice churning through pages of a great book in the nice weather.
It’s a cost-effective way to fill the hours and reward your mind with some engaging books. If you’re looking for some book ideas here are 3 that I’ve enjoyed so far in 2018:
- The Spider Network: How a Math Genius and a Gang of Scheming Bankers Pulled Off One of the Greatest Scams in History by David Enrich
- Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
20.) Side Hustle To Earn More With Your Extra Time
Whether you have some extra time in the lead up to the summer or more free time during those summer months, why not earn a little cash? Use those dollars to fund your vacation, pay down debt, invest or however you see fit.
Check my post 35 Rewarding Side Hustles That (Almost) Anyone Can Do for ideas.
There are plenty of side hustle opportunities available to get your financials ready for summer or boost them during. Walk dogs with Rover to make extra money while outside in the summer weather. How about earning some easy money online with Swagbucks or Ebates? While it won’t break the bank, every dollar counts.
Swagbucks is a great way to make money online. You earn rewards, or SBs, by: taking surveys, doing your normal online shopping, using the Swagbucks search engine, watching videos, playing games, discovering deals and buying gift cards.
Is Swagbucks legit? Yes, they have an A rating on Better Business Bureau and have paid out over $270 million their users. You earn your SBs and then convert them to PayPal cash or gift cards to your favourite retailers.
Sign up for Swagbucks using my special link to earn a FREE bonus $5!
Earn FREE cash back with Ebates for the normal spending you would traditionally do online. All you do is register an account and click through the links on the Ebates website (or install the Browser Extension). Ebates earns a referral fee for driving you to these different stores sites and at no extra charge to you, you get a percentage of that cash back for free.
Ebates has affiliations with almost every major retailer (750 stores and counting) including TRAVEL partners like Expedia, Booking.com, Trip Advisor plus all major retailers (Amazon, eBay, etc.). So the cash back opportunities on your normal shopping habits are endless. Sign up today and start earning!
CANADIANS – FREE $5 ON EBATES
AMERICANS – FREE $10 ON EBATES
21.) Sell Off Winter And Fall Clutter
If you have any items that you didn’t even put to use over the past winter and fall, flip them on eBay, Amazon, kijiji, etc. We all have those things that just sit in our closets or storage all summer and then when fall/winter comes back around, we drag them out…and never use them.
I talked about how selling excess clutter on eBay helped me make $1,800+ in less than an hour of work in one of my posts.
Summer gives us a great opportunity to enjoy adventures and leisure both locally or wherever our hearts might desire.
These summer adventures don’t need to totally crush our finances. By spending time to properly plan and then spending smarter, we can save make this summer and still make the most of it.
I’ve got plans set to take advantage of the summer weather. However, I am doing everything I can to get the most bang for my buck with everything I have scheduled locally and on vacation.
What do you have planned for this summer?
Are there any tricks or tips you use to make the most of your money in summer?
Let me know in the comments below.
Here are some other posts to help you take control of your money and life:
- The Personal Finance Resources And Content That Saved My Life
- Understanding Your Credit Score And How To Check It For Free
- Travel Hacking Resources Guide For Americans and Canadians
- 55 Great Online Udemy Courses For Millennials, Entrepreneurs And Side Hustlers
- 6 Tips To Help Create Accountability With Your Personal Finances
- 30 Small Wins Challenge – Make Momentum With Your Money And Life
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