People who enjoy summers off of work often do so at the expense of a high-paying job. Teachers, for instance, get to enjoy an extended summer vacation, but that perk comes with the trade-off of a low salary.
If you’ll be spending your summer lounging by the pool instead of working, it’s important that you save money where you can. Here are six great ways to save money when you’re off for the summer:
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1. Lower Your Cable Bill
It’s great to have cable television when the weather is cold and you’re stuck indoors, but do you really need all those channels in the summer? Most people spend the better part of their summer outdoors and away from the television. If you’ll be spending more time away from the television that you will in front of it, cutting your cable subscription, or even turning off your cable altogether, can save you hundreds of dollars.
2. Stay Home
Instead of packing the family up for an expensive vacation, explore your local region; chances are that there are great activities for you and your family that won’t cost a dime. Look for museums, parks and recreation centers that offer free or low cost activities for you and your family. Bonding with your family in fun ways doesn’t have to ruin your bank account.
3. Grow Your Food
Planting a garden can cut your grocery bills in half. If you have room in your backyard, plant a wide variety of vegetables that you can feed your family all summer long. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that your crops yield enough food to extend well beyond the summer. Plant vegetables like green beans, corn, carrots and peas that all freeze and can nicely.
4. Air Conditioning
Whether you use a window unit, dehumidifier air conditioner or central air, cooling your home in the summer can be expensive. Try to reduce your use of air conditioning units by installing window fans, using your ceiling fans, and keeping windows and curtains closed during the day. If you keep your thermostat set to 78 degrees, you’ll reduce the amount of time that your unit runs during the day, and the inside of your home will be cooler than the temperature outside.
5. Date Night
If you and your spouse have a standing date night, look for ways that you can cut costs. Instead of going out to dinner and a movie, cook out on the grill and rent a movie on Netflix. A great date can be had in the backyard around the fire pit after you’ve put the kids to bed. Date nights are all about spending time together without distractions; you don’t have to get fancy with it or spend a lot of money to accomplish your goal.
6. Take a class
Summer is the perfect time to take a college course you've been putting off and now have the time to complete. You could either take an easy, fun class that will make summer more relaxing, or you could get that pesky gen ed math class out of the way when you have more time to spend. This would allow you to have more time in the Fall and Spring semesters to focus on your core classes, and it could free up time for a part-time job down the road as well.
When you aren’t bringing any money into the house, it’s important to save where you can. If you’ll be spending this summer at home instead of at work, look at your budget and see where you can cut costs. By getting creative with your food, entertainment and activities, you can have a great summer vacation for very little money.