It’s summertime, so what does that mean? It means higher air conditioning bills, expensive get-togethers, and more travel. These can add up to a significant amount of money you don’t have to spend across the rest of the year. Summer comes with a lot of extra costs, but, with some foresight, these costs don’t need to be overbearing.
Probably the biggest increase in summer costs is the bill from running your air conditioning unit. Because temperatures increase and many people have more time at home during the summer, the spike in costs can be significant. Kimberly Palmer on U.S. News & World Report Money gives tips on how to reduce energy costs. One of these tips is closing shades, which helps keep the temperature from increasing by keeping the sun out of the house. Another way to help efficiency is by keeping air conditioning filters clean–Palmer recommends cleaning them once a month. Also, It goes without saying that the air conditioner should not be running when no one is home; getting a programmable thermostat can save a lot of headaches and create an annual savings of 30 percent, according to Geoff Godwin, VP of marketing at Emerson Climate Technologies.
“Avoid the oven as much as possible because it will heat up the whole house.”
While those all apply directly to air conditioning, there are a few not-so-obvious ones. This includes avoiding the oven as much as possible, which will heat up the whole house and increase the amount of work an air conditioner has to do, and taking colder showers so you can turn down the water heater (and honestly, sometimes cold showers in the summer are exactly what you need to cool off). Lora Shinn on Bankrate also gives 9 Ways to Cool Down Air-Conditioning Costs that include less conventional tips such as increasing plants around your house to reduce sun, using window films on closed windows, and using ceiling fans to make the temperature feel lower because of wind chill.
It’s summer, and summer means more barbecues, pool parties, and summer mixers. We get it– summer is a time to have fun with all your friends and families! Unfortunately, these kinds of parties can create quite the strain on a budget if you’re the one providing the food. If you’re looking to do a barbecue or party, consider doing a BYOG (Bring Your Own Grillables) one. This way you don’t get saddled with the cost of providing expensive cuts of meat to a large group of people. If you don’t want to do that, at least do a potluck-style party, and assign out the sides and the desserts. Friends and family are usually more than happy to help out with bringing food and it can create a fun variety with lots of options to choose from!
Kasasa outlines ways to host a barbecue on a budget. They mention having a large amount of sides also decreases the amount of meat you will need to serve since there are more items to fill up on. Another really easy way to cut costs is to serve water instead of drinks at the barbecue. No one will mind since the focus of a barbecue is the meet, and this frees up money for other areas of your party.
Summer often has an increased cost in travel because of vacations and wedding season. No matter where it is you’re traveling to, look into cost effective options such as Airbnb, instead of hotels, and Uber instead of taxis. If you’re traveling to a wedding, there are some very specific costs included. According to Experian, 1 in every 20 wedding guests borrows money to attend a wedding because of the large costs involved, and 1 in 3 of those who borrow money don’t have a clear plan on how to pay it back. Because of this, it’s smart to try to keep your costs down. NBC details ways to decrease those costs. Renting an outfit for the wedding or shopping for one at a discount store is a good start, along with buying your gift first to get a cheaper option, or splitting the cost of the gift. If you have to stay overnight, you can cut down on the cost of lodging by rooming with others attending the wedding and splitting the cost. Whatever your budget is, it might be smartest to be honest to the bride and groom; if traveling for the wedding just isn’t an option, explain that to them and offer to make it up to them in a cheaper, but still thoughtful way.
Summer fun doesn’t have to be dampened by summer bills. Just be smart when dealing with summer-specific bills, and you will be a frugal lifestyle champion in no time.
The views expressed by the articles and sites linked in this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions and policies of Cash Central or Community Choice Financial®.