“Summertime and the livin’s easy.” George Gershwin (Porgy and Bess), sung by Ella Fitzgerald

Summer is here!

It is a good time to spend more time outdoors.

Don’t miss a good opportunity to save money this season while spending time with your family. I spend a lot of time in Litchfield County and the Berkshires, essentially our local environs in the summer and year-round. However, our recommendations came be found in many parts of the country.

When it comes to saving money, get your whole family involved. It is always a good time to speak to your children about family values, particularly budgets, wants versus needs, spending, and saving.

15 Ways To Save Money In the Summer:

#1 Eat more fruit and vegetables

It is always a good time to eat healthier with better choices at your local grocery. Better yet, go to the nearest farmers’ market. Fruits and vegetables are even more plentiful in the  warmer months. Go to a farmers’ markets near you. They come to the cities, or you can order from a cooperative. Healthiest picks at lower prices.

Connecticut has over 100 farmers’ markets seven days a week. We find them in virtually every town in the Northwest corner of the state.  There, you pick among locally produced seasonal fruits and vegetables from the region. Many carry breads, cheese, honey, syrup, flowers, herbs, sausage, jams and jelly, chocolates and mushrooms.

#2 Have A Picnic

Find  parks, waterfalls, hills and mountains. Bring a blanket, some wine, cheese and other delights. Find a picnic table. Enjoy the outdoor weather, scenery, and birds chirping. Go with your family and friends. Many state parks are free, have trails for hiking, fishing and sitting by waterfalls, like Kent Falls State Park. Save some money as you go to fewer restaurants in the summer.

#3 Garage/Yard Sales

Declutter your home and organize a sale with your family. Consider combining with homes in your neighborhood. I recommend having these events, starting on Friday, rather than Saturday and Sunday, typically the more crowded days. Avoid July 4th and Labor Day when people have more BBQ’s and families visiting.

Advertise with large signs so people riding by can see the dates and location at 30 miles an hour. While you can advertise in your local paper, there are a few social media sites try like yardsalesearch.com and garagesalehunter.com.

When holding your event, label prices clearly. Consider lowering prices late in the day to sell off what you have left. Experts have said these sales can net $500 and up if thought out properly. Aaron Lapedis is respected in this area and has written “The Garage Sale Millionaire.” 

#4 Outdoor (and Indoor) Entertainment

There are many cheap and free music festivals, film festivals, country fairs, theater, and wine tastings across the country. Two sources to find summer events in your area are Cheapism and Debt.com.

Locally, we have a robust calendar with tickets starting as low as $5. In Litchfield, we have a Connecticul Wine Festival on July 20th and Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival on August 7th to name a couple. There are plenty of choices on visitnewengland.com providing far more than I can list. In Massachusetts,  Tanglewood Music Center and Shakespeare & Company have superb offerings at great value.

#5 Become An Uber or Lyft Driver

If you are off from school this summer, whether a student and teacher, you may apply to be a driver. Demand may be less in your area so strategize by waiting in a queue at the airports or busy areas. Make sure that thr air conditioning works well in your car. According to ridester.com, you can pick up $155-$210 per month. Consider doing this as a side hustle in the fall if your schedule permits.

#6 Staycation or Vacation or Both

There are more ways to go away with your family at many different price points.

The benefits of a staycation is to be a tourist in your own backyard, returning to your own bed at night, and not having to pack and unpack. It can be cheaper but requires planning so your family doesn’t just laze around.

Everyone should have input and it should be a mix of play, fun, adventure, and sightseeing. Find adventure beaches, lakes, and parks on nice days. Consider museums and theater on rainy days.

Vacations Can Be Cheaper At The Last Minute

To save money on vacations, consider booking flights last minute when tickets are often cheaper. Book early morning flights. Your kids may hate you but they can sleep on the plane. This works if you and your family are flexible and will several alternative places in mind.

Someone told me to search flights via an incognito window and a regular window. You sometimes get two different prices. Before you officially book, consider if there are available accommodations.

Airbnb may help in finding attractively priced rooms to stay. It is great way to save money when travelling with kids and one hotel room will not cut it. Booking a last minute cruise may also work well.

Driving Vacations

Driving vacations works if everyone is comfortable in a car for hours at a time. Planning stops are vital for breaks. Our kids sleep in the car so it often defeats the purpose of going on scenic routes. When I wake them they are often crabby… I think I just talked myself out of a driving vacation. It works well when everyone enjoys the ride and  its a “spur of the moment” adventure.

One way to save money on a trip is consider the costs ahead of time for the some the sights. A visit to a Disney Park is far more expensive than going to a National Park.

# 7 Disney Parks

The one day tickets for Disney per family member over 10 years old (3-9 years are not much less) range from $129-$199 for regular or peak prices, whether you are going to one park or hopping to their other parks on site. Food and beverages are super expensive in the park.

There are slight discounts if you buy multi-day packages but you will need to book your hotel stay which is expensive if you stay within the park. If you are going this summer, try to target August when it is off-peak and less crowded (but very hot!).

#8 National Parks

There are so many parks to visit with families in the US. Annual passes per vehicle are $80 per year. There are more than 2,000 Federal recreation sites. Certain parks particularly cater to children and are clustered in areas you can drive to like those in Utah. Hiking, fishing and rafting can be enjoyed by families. You can stay in hotels not far from entrances and your kids can use the pools.

# 9 Raise Your Thermostat

Setting the thermostat a few degrees higher in the summer will not likely be noticed by your family (maybe the dog, though) but it does save money. By some accounts, each degree raised over 72 degrees, saves 1-3% in energy costs. We raise the thermostat in rooms we don’t occupy as much and have ceiling fans that help with cooling. The nights are cool so we rarely use air conditioning.

Unplug less frequently used appliances. Most homes run more than 40 appliances. These account for about 10% of our energy bill. You will not only save costs but plugged appliances can be a fire hazard.

#10 No More Plastic Bottles

We have not used plastic bottles for a long time, especially in the summer. They never stayed cold enough and the suspicious bubbles worried me. I have the 32 oz. steel insulated bottle by Takeya which keeps the water cold significantly longer. I bought one for each of my family members but they prefer smaller bottles to fit with our car. I am happy with mine.

#11 Cut Out Expensive Lattes Even Iced Ones

I had to be weaned off lattes after I finished law school and studied for the bar in Starbucks. I enjoyed iced lattes in the summer but at $5 a pop, it felt like an investment. I have also stopped drinking carbonated water and soda in restaurant. If I am going to drink in a restaurant, I’d rather have wine or martini so my latte savings go there.

#12 Lawn Care

Keeping your grass healthy and green is expensive. A sprinkler system is generally can be used to save water costs. If it rains you don’t need the sprinkler on. You can reuse your rainwater by installing a collection system near your roof or gutter system. If you are planning a garden, consider planting low-water perennials which are drought-tolerant and use more wildflowers.

#13 Visit Your Library

Use your local library for books, online music, audibles, and film. We own a lot of books, always a treat for me, but they take up a lot of space. I enjoy going to our wonderful small town library in Goshen, especially in the summer, and walking out with my arms full.

I confess to being a bit of a nerd. Growing up, my mom, my brother Mark, and I went to our library the last day of school with summer ahead. It was our ritual to take 12 books each and put in my mom’s shopping cart. They were due the day after Labor Day, only time of year we were able to keep them longer than four weeks.

#14 DIY Projects

Learn how to do more things on your own without outside help. Our kids tend to be far more handy than my husband or I. They are also more willing to watch videos to learn how to repair, clean, and make things in our home. We bathe our dog more often in the summer because our dog rolls in the dirt. Less trips to the groomer helps our wallet.

#15 Delay Purchases You Want

Don’t buy everything you want immediately. Delay gratification of buying things you really don’t need. Give yourself time to research and decide if you want it. You can even put into your shopping cart online for a few days. You may even find a coupon there that provides a few dollars off your purchase.

It is often fun to save money by reducing costs, spending les,s or making some extra money from a side hustle. It is particularly rewarding when your kids participate in the endeavor. My daughter Alex has particularly shown an interest in recent months. She keeps coming up with ideas. She has share these thoughts with her teen friends on social media.

I am sure I have missed some ways to save money. It feels good to experience to have extra money for investments, a vacation, a car, or something of value. How are you saving money these days?

Please share your experiences and thoughts with us. We would like to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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