Summer is typically a season for laid-back attitudes, vacations, concerts and hanging by the pool. It’s important to keep your family entertained, but you don’t have to empty the bank. Take this summer to participate in your usual activities while spending less. Consider these four unexpected ideas from experts at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union for saving money this summer.
1. Kids Activities
There are plenty of activities for kids during the summer, from enrolling in summer sports to summer care programs at their school. Aside from the upfront costs of these activities, many of us forget the added costs. Sports equipment, dance shoes or a musical instrument tend to be expensive. Consider buying items like these secondhand. Look at thrift stores, Ebay, Cragislist or even other families for lightly used items. Finding these gently used items may be easier than you think, and often cheaper. However, it’s important to purchase items such as helmets or running shoes new for safety reasons.
2. Entertainment Habits
This summer, pick one entertainment or lifestyle habit and reduce or eliminate it. That weekly manicure or pedicure could save you more than $200 over 12 weeks. What about the cold drinks you buy? Three dollars for an iced coffee even a few times a week could save you $100 by Labor Day. Consider the number of Apple iTunes downloads, weekly movies or game rentals; these also add up. Reducing small weekly costs can make a big impact on your savings account over the long run.
3. Make Your Own Fun
Our National Parks are celebrating 100 years this summer. Visiting one of them is a great activity and most of them offer free entrance. Many outdoor malls show free movies or host free concerts. Museums are a fun option and many offer free entrance one night a month. Finally, consider a game night in with friends as a way to have fun and spend less. The money you would have spent on a night out can be put into savings.
4. Automatically Save
Contributing to your 401K savings is an important and smart way to save for retirement. Don’t think you can save any more? Try it. For three months, increase your contribution by one percent and watch your savings grow. Another idea is to have money automatically deposited into a savings account each time you get paid. Slowly but surely, you will build a savings that you hopefully won’t miss from your checking account.
Trying to stay financially fit? Check out more money-saving stories in our Financial Fitness Zone