The summer months can mean an increase in certain bills, especially for things like air conditioning. Wouldn’t it be great if you could cut your bills instead, so they’re even less than during the rest of the year?
Cutting Back on Groceries
Groceries make up a significant part of the average household’s weekly expenses. In the summer, with a bit of careful planning, you can bring that number down quite a bit.
Buy what’s in season. Buying out-of-season food is more expensive. Do a bit of research, make a list of foods in season during each month, and stick to buying those. You can also consider buying extra for the freezer or to can. Have your children help with freezing and canning.
Visit your farmer’s market. Summer is harvest time for farmers, and you can benefit from that! Stop by your local farmer’s market and get produce that was picked yesterday… not a week or two ago. Because it’s invariably fresher and tastier, it becomes much easier to “sell” your children on eating healthy vegetables and salads.
Buying directly from farmers not only saves you money… it also helps support small local businesses. When you buy from a grocery store, you’re also paying the owners, managers, and other employees. When you buy straight from the farmer, you cut out the middleman, save money, and support your local economy.
I live just 20 minutes from one of the best farmer’s markets in the country. I buy the vast majority of our food there, including much of our meat. I enjoy getting to know the people who grow my food, and it’s great to know what’s really in the food I’m feeding my family. Even many farmers who choose not to become certified organic (due to the cost involved) grow their crops or raise their animals using organic principles.
Clip coupons and use member’s cards. Find them online or in free newspapers. You can also join the members’ clubs of various stores, often for free. Caveat: most coupons are for processed foods, so if you’re avoiding or limiting such foods, you may not find clipping coupons worth your time.
Grow your own food. Buying seeds is inexpensive, even if you buy organic seeds. And all you need is a place to plant them and some water. You don’t even have to wait forever for your plants to bear fruit – many seeds can be harvested within 6 to 12 weeks.
Take your own food in a cooler when you go on outings. Summer is the best season for eating outdoors, and you can save a bundle by avoiding restaurants and fast food joints. Plus, it offers a whole lot more control over the quality of your food, which can translate into major health savings.
If you’re careful and diligent in following these tips, you could reduce your grocery costs by as much as 30-40%.
Paying Less for Clothing
One common summer expense is clothes. Your winter clothes will leave you roasting in the summer heat, which can mean buying new clothing and swimwear for the entire family if you don’t already have it on hand from prior years. Here are some ways to save money…
Go to charity, thrift, and consignment stores, and visit yard sales. Shops like Goodwill and Salvation Army frequently sell clothes for pennies on the dollar. Consignment stores are usually slightly more expensive, but the clothing is higher quality and is still sold at a steep discount. Some consignment stores sell only name brands with no staining, so they tend to be higher quality. But any time you buy pre-owned clothing, make sure to wash the clothes before using them.
Pass items down from one child to the next. If you have multiple children of the same gender, you can often pass clothing from the older sibling to the younger. Young kids usually outgrow clothing before wearing it out, so this option works particularly well in the early years. Try to mix it up so they have both new and hand-me-down clothing.
Look for sales. A big one to watch for is the end of season sale. By around the 4th of July, many stores discount their summer clothing to make space for back-to-school items. Buy sale clothing for next year. Just make sure to buy a size or two up from what your child currently wears.
Try shopping on eBay. If you can’t find great bargains in your area, the internet can offer savings as well. As long as you know your size, you can often buy phenomenally cheap clothing that’s brand new.
Stocking up on summer clothes shouldn’t break the bank. With these tips, you’ll be able to dress yourself and your family for pennies on the dollar.
Keep Cool Without Going Broke
One of the best ways to save money during the summer is to cut down your electric bill. By using nature’s own heating and cooling system and a few carefully designed energy-saving mechanisms, you can drastically reduce your costs.
Turn off the AC whenever possible. Shut it off 20 minutes before you leave the house and you’ll hardly notice the difference. Use a fan instead of air conditioning whenever you can. On days that are just mildly hot (not sweltering), fans can provide enough cooling to keep you comfortable. Ceiling and attic fans move the air without tempting little children to stick their fingers in the blades. But many newer blade-less fans eliminate that problem also.
Improve your home’s insulation. You may think of insulation mainly in terms of staying warm in the winter, but it also helps you stay cool in the summer. If it’s damaged or ineffective, it can easily cost you hundreds of dollars a year. Most insulation was installed years ago, so check yours to see what condition it’s in.
If you can afford it, install energy-efficient windows. Windows are one of the biggest energy drains. While the insulation in your walls can block out the heat, windows don’t have the same effect. In fact, heat is easily conducted through the glass. The sun that comes in through the window will also heat up your home, so close your window treatments when the sun is beating in. Energy-efficient windows are designed to keep cool air in and heat out during the summer, the opposite of how they function in winter.
Start drinking ice water. This tip may be slightly odd, but it’s highly effective. By drinking cold water, your body temperature falls, so it’s one of the easiest ways to keep cool in summer. Your freezer will be running anyway, so put a few ice trays or bottles of water in it.
Run through the sprinkler. It’s inexpensive and will cool you down in a hurry.
Following these tips for groceries, clothing, and electricity could save you hundreds this summer. Feel free to pick a couple or go all-out to save more money. Either way, enjoy the extra dollars in your pocket!
If you haven’t noticed already, we’ve been expanding our homeschool store by leaps and bounds in recent months. Through our partnership with Amazon, we’ve got all the curriculum and supplemental materials you need to make this next year the most exciting one yet for your kids’ learning. So go ahead, click here (or on the big purple button below) to check it out. We promise you won’t regret it!