It’s usually in January when we check in on our finances, set some goals and move on with our lives. By the time summer rolls around, many of us have fallen off track or gotten too caught up in the nice weather to remember where our priorities lie. But it’s not too late for those New Year’s resolutions and we have some tips to help you make this summer a savings success.
1. Travel Smarter
If you are planning any summer getaways, it’s important to know your budget. If you know where you want to go, it’s a good idea to try to search several flight, hotel and car price comparison sites for the best deals. You could also look for deals on summer entertainment like amusement parks, botanical gardens and sports destinations. If possible, let the available deals be your guide and shop around through discounted options for what suits you most.
2. Cut Back on Energy
High monthly bills can add even more to an already expensive time of year. But you can take some action to reduce energy costs. Since gas prices increase in summer to match demand, try to combine errands when you drive out of the home to save on gas and time. It can be a good idea to also use apps to get gas at the cheapest station on your route. Avoid driving in rush hour as much as you can.
To reduce other energy costs, it’s a good idea to adjust your air conditioning throughout the day to more accurately meet your needs. If you can, only use AC during the time of day you need it most and rely on fans the rest of the time. Some thermostats will allow you to program them to only turn on at certain times of day. It’s also important to make sure your filters and units are clean and that all blinds, windows and doors are closed when the air conditioning is on.
3. Eat Better
Summer is often a popular time to dine outside at restaurants. To avoid getting roped into eating out for every meal, you can make a point to always have foods in season and ready to eat at your home. It’s a good idea to go to the store with a plan. Try to create a loose menu for the coming week around a few main ingredients and buy only what you need. If you eat fresh and healthy, this will likely help you save money on healthcare down the line as well.
4. Patio Parties
Nice weather provides the chance to party at home in your outdoor living space. Invite friends over instead of meeting them out where you will have to pay a premium for the same products and experience. Instead of having an event catered or buying everything for the whole party, consider making the theme potluck and have everyone bring something to add to the party.
5. Plan Ahead
No matter what you are looking to do this summer, the earlier you plan the more time you have to search for deals. Beyond cutting back on entertainment or eating out for this season, it’s important not to forget about fall and winter. Remember that your year does not end at Labor Day, so it can be a good idea to re-evaluate your financial situation now and then set a reminder to do it again once fall comes.
This is a great time to set some solid goals too. If you want to get rid of your credit card debt by Labor Day, make a month-by-month plan that can actually get you there. (You can use this credit card payoff calculator to see how different payment timelines would work for you.) Or maybe your summer goal is to build a better credit score so you can get a better interest rate on a car loan or mortgage. (You can check your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com to track your progress.)
6. Sell Your Stuff
While saving money is great, making money can really help you meet your financial goals. Consider having a yard sale out of your home with everything you do not really use or are ready to part with. You can also host auctions or participate in second-hand sales online. The key to actually making some money is setting the right price. You can do some research and even ask your friends what they would be willing to pay. It’s important to remember that people will likely want to haggle, so think about whether you are trying to get the best possible price or just trying to make some money with minimal effort.
With the right attitude and some discipline, we can stick to our goals and still enjoy everything summer has to offer.
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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.