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Unique ways to save money, be healthier, and have fun this summer
Avoid the summertime blues when you see your bills this summer
While the summer is a lot of fun, if you’re like the average citizen you are probably spending the majority of your time cooped up at work and wishing you were outside. To top it off, summer costs can often go through the roof when you consider the expense of running your air conditioner, extra day care, and pricy vacations.
However, a rising thermometer does not have to correlate to rising bills. There are many ways that you can save money, have fun, and get healthy this summer. All it requires is a little planning and creativity to make this summer a memorable one. While there are hundreds of ways to do this here are just a few to get you started.
Just another day at day camp
Hire a summer time babysitter
You probably won’t notice a difference in your daycare bill if your child is not yet in school. However, if you do have children in school you’re probably not used to having this extra expense. One way to cut the cost is to hire a summer time babysitter. If your neighbor down the street has a responsible high school student, this is a great way for them to earn some extra cash and for you to save a few dollars.
If you don’t have anyone in mind that you would willingly trust your offspring to then consider a day camp. These are typically less money than full time day care and will give your child lots of new opportunities that they might not otherwise experience such as fishing, kayaking, and gaga ball. The best part is that almost all camps have a scholarship program, so even if it would typically be more than you can afford, your children may still be able to attend.
Whether it is the individual attention your child gets by having a babysitter or the unique experiences of day camp, you child is sure to become more well rounded and balanced by using these cost effect replacements for pricy daycare.
Attend Free Community Events
During the summer there seems to be a free event taking place every weekend. These events can range from things like movies in the park, carnivals, festivals, open run races, and more. Every city has a least a couple. It’s always worth checking in with your own community to see what day’s free or low cost events will be taking place.
Often museums, art galleries, aquariums, and other publicly funded institution will host at least one free or very low cost entrance day each summer. Map out these events at the beginning of the summer and check to see if you need to register ahead of time.
Go Green and Garden
This hobby is really more of a lifestyle, but it will keep you entertained AND you’ll see yourself saving money. Starting a garden and a compost bin are great ways to stay healthy over the summer. Not only will you get fresh fruits and veggies which will taste better and be healthier dining options, you will also reap benefits of getting out in the sunshine. Natural sunlight is known to combat Seasonal Affective Depression (SAD) but it can also increase your overall energy and reduce stress.
Planting a garden takes a fair amount of preparation as you need to know what grows well in your climate, how much space you have, and how much time you’ll have to tend it. However, nothing is more rewarding than eating a meal that you grew yourself!
While we are talking about gardening, it is worth mentioning that no good garden lacks rich soil. Starting a compost bin is an excellent way to reduce your households waste, produce rich dark dirt, and help your garden grow great produce. While you can invest in a professional grade compost bin, it is not wholly necessary. All you need is a container and a place to put it.
Best Plants to Grow in Your Garden
When to plant it
Late Spring/Early Summer
Opt for Outdoor Entertainment
If you live in a cooler climate like me, you’ll find that you experience eight months of winter and an almost lightning fast summer. Don’t let the heat breeze past you. Make the most of the sunshine and trade your TV time for some healthy (and FREE) outdoor time.
Geocaching is a great hobby that you can enjoy as a family or as a day date. If you have a smart phone with GPS capabilities and some spare time then you have everything you need! All you have to do is make an account and you can start your world-wide treasure hunt.
You can also forego hunting for knickknacks and simply go on a hike. If you’re lucky enough to live near a body of water you can also add fishing and swimming to the list of things that are absolutely free and 100% fun. After all, who doesn’t love going to the beach? Just be sure to wear sunscreen.
Camping can also be a fun way to spend a night, weekend, or whole week. You can go camping with as few supplies as a tent and a cooler of food. You should educate yourself on your local areas policies about camping before setting up your camp site. Some townships won’t allow you to have a fire and others require camping permits. If you want to forego the hassle of packing everything up you can even pitch the tent in your own backyard!
While you’re camping, take a few hours to star gaze. You can find star maps online for free or download skykey if you have a smart phone. It can be a fun and educational experience.
Tell me what you think
Do you prefer a staycation or a vacation?
Treat yourself to a Staycation
We’ve all heard of this before, you can’t go to the vacation so you make the vacation come to you. Fire up the grill, decorate the back yard, throw up a tent and you’re camping at home. While you’re at home you could even try glamping (glamorous camping) by bringing your furniture and nice dishes outside for the night.
Make your staycation the best non-trip you’ve ever taken and host a game night tournament. You could also set up a large sheet and projector and have a back-yard movie night or even a movie marathon. Make each dinner of your staycation themed to where your dream vacation would be. Have a Hawaiian luau, Italian pasta night complete with wine tasting, or even a Texan barbeque. Having a great time at home only requires creativity!
Sleep under the stars
Host a yard sale
Why stop at saving money when you could make money? That’s right, all you have to do is clear out all of the old junk in your house that you no longer want and put some price tags on it.
Okay, so it takes a little more effort than that, but you get my drift. When you clear out the clutter during your spring cleaning make a spot just for yard sale items. Also, make sure you have a modest supply of change (one dollar bills, five dollar bills, and change is usually sufficient) and avoid taking personal checks from someone you don’t know. You’ll make some extra money, clean up your house, and get a decent workout all in one day.
Form energy saving habits
There are many ways to reduce your energy bills this summer. For instance, only run your air conditioner during the day and opt to open your windows at night for the cooler fresh air. Shut the windows in the morning and use sun blocking curtains to keep out the heat. Also, opt to keep you house just a few degrees warmer and wear lighter clothing instead.
Another great tip for keeping your bills down is to reduce your water usage. Having a beautiful garden can really spike your water usage. To reduce the amount of water needed make a habit of watering your plants early in the morning or later in the evening. By watering at the coolest points in the day, the water is less likely to evaporate before reaching the plants roots. You’ll find that you need to use less water for the same results. Similarly, you can reuse those old milk cartons to water your plants by poking holes in the bottom and burying them throughout your garden. Simply open the caps and pour in the water, then your soil has been water directly to your plants roots! For more energy saving tips read ‘Save money by reducing your household’s energy use - tips and tools that will lower your family's usage’.