Take advantage of free summer entertainment. Lower your entertainment bill by attending free summer events like outdoor concerts, movie-on-the-lawn nights, art fairs and other festivals, and free days at local museums. Borrow DVDs from your library or spend evenings outside around a bonfire, catching lightening bugs, or looking at the stars instead of at the movies.
Visit a natural park instead of a theme park. Even one day at a theme park for a family can easily cost hundreds of dollars (or more!) between parking fees, entrance tickets, and overpriced food. Instead, head to a state or national park. Pack a picnic and bring your own bike for even more savings.
Earn cash with a garage sale. You can host one on your own or coordinate a multi-family garage sale in your neighborhood. It will give you the chance to clean out your garage and attic and make extra cash. Get the kids in on it too by selling old toys, clothes, crafts, and sports equipment. They could even set up a bake sale or lemonade stand to earn more cash!
Wash your own car. With single car wash prices ranging from $8 to $15, a weekly wash could cost you $100 over the summer. Save that cash by washing your car at home.
Caulk windows and doors. Sealing doors and windows to keep the air conditioning inside could save you 20% on energy costs.
Take advantage of tax-free weekend. Many states offer tax savings on back-to-school purchases for one weekend at the end of summer. Wait until then to make big purchases on school supplies, computers, and clothes.
Make your own summer camp. If your community is low on free summer day camps for kiddos, consider making your own! You could organize an evening camp in your neighborhood with a theme and neighbor volunteers to help out. Or consider swapping talents and camp days between neighbor parents. Maybe one day you teach them how to swing a golf club and another day someone else teaches them how to bake or make pinecone bird feeders.
Keep blinds and curtains closed during the day. You can reduce your energy cooling bill by shutting out light, which converts into heat inside your home, by drawing your blinds or curtains. To still let natural light in, open the blinds that don’t let direct sunlight in.
Wash clothes in cold water. Heating up water costs you money in a higher energy bill. Consider washing all of your laundry in cold water—we promise it will still get clean!
Shut doors to unused rooms. This will also lower your energy bill because your air conditioning won’t have to work as hard to pump cool air into unused rooms.
Pause your gym membership. Swap your time (and money spent) on the treadmill for a jog outside, elliptical for a bike ride, pool for a swim in a lake or river, indoor yoga for yoga in the park.
Use AC only when needed. Setting and forgetting your thermostat can cost you a bundle in the summer. Keep tabs on the temperature forecast and only use the A/C when needed, i.e. if you’re home during the hottest part of the day. If it’s going to be cool at night, turn off the air before bed and open a few windows. Create cross-ventilation by opening windows on opposite sides of your home and setting up a fan to exhaust out one window. This will pull cooler nighttime air in while removing warmer daytime air.
Dry your laundry outside. If you have the space for it, let the sun and warm temps dry your clothing and towels. This is another way to save on energy costs.
Remember to replace air conditioner filters. Dirty filters restrict the airflow and the efficiency of the air conditioner, which means longer run times and higher cooling costs.
Visit the thrift store. If you’re looking for updates to the family’s summer wardrobe, visit thrift stores and second-hand shops. Spring cleaning always leads to an influx of new items to choose from.