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  • Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

How To Save Money In The Summer And Still Have Fun

Looking to learn how to save money in the summer? Today's blog post is full of money saving tips for the summer months.

School is almost out for children, and the weather is starting to warm up, which means the summer can be the most expensive time of the year for many people. Between paying for extra summer activities, daycare, vacations, higher electricity bills, and more, the summer means you may be spending more money than usual.

However, that doesn’t always have to be the case!

For us, the summer months are actually some of our most affordable months. We are already fairly frugal people, but there are many things that happen in the summer that make it even more affordable for us, such as better weather for fun outdoor activities and free festivals to attend.

In today’s blog post, I am going to talk about the many different ways you can save money in the summer, so that you can truly enjoy the season without letting your spending get out of control.

How to save money in the summer:

Enjoy the outdoors.

In many places, the summer can be a great time to enjoy the outdoors.

But, even if you live in a place that gets very warm, by just waking up and getting outside a little bit earlier you can enjoy the outdoors before it heats up too much.

Getting outside is always a great way to save money in the summer, no matter where you live. There are plenty of outdoor activities that you can enjoy, like going for a hike, setting out for a camping trip, walking your dog, riding your bike, going for a swim, going on a run, having a BBQ, and more!

The options are endless.

Combine your errands.

I’m the type of person who regularly combines all of my errands, no matter what the season is. If I need one thing, I will wait until there are more things on my to do list.

This is good because it saves me valuable time, and I’m not wasting money on transportation.

However, I know that not everyone is this way. I know many people who will go out of their way to get one small item, even if they don’t need it right away.

If you are looking for a way to save money in the summer, or even time, this may help. If something can wait, then you might as well save yourself some time and money by combining your errands and getting multiple things done at the same time.

Ride your bike to do errands.

If you have errands to run, you may want to ride your bike to complete them. This is a great way to save money in the summer because you can get in a good workout, enjoy the weather, and complete an errand all at the same time.

So, strap some baskets on your bike or purchase a saddle bag and set out to complete your errands. While you may not be able to carry much, you'll be much more mindful of what you buy, while saving money on transportation.

Remember though, always bring a bike lock so that your bike is safe! And, of course, wear a helmet and use any other safety precautions that you deem necessary.

Cancel your gym membership.

If you aren't using your gym membership, then you may want to think about canceling it and saving your money.

There are many summer activities that can provide a great workout. And, if it’s too hot to get outside, you can still work out in your home for free. Plus, that AC you are already paying for will keep you cool! For some people there are positives to paying for a gym membership, but the majority of those with a gym membership do not get their money’s worth.

Travel on a budget.

Summer is a popular time for most families to travel because children are out of school. Before you think that you have to break the bank in order to go on a fun family vacation, here are some tips for saving money in the summer while traveling on a budget:

  • Be flexible with your flights.

  • Travel in the mid or off season.

  • Earn free budget vacations by using credit cards. I recommend reading this How To Take A 10 Day Trip To Hawaii For $22.40 – Flights & Accommodations Included.

  • Stay in an Airbnb for budget travel.

  • Ask for a discount at your hotel.

  • Find free campsites.

  • Eat like a local.

  • Buy groceries and eat out less.

Read more at How To Travel On A Budget And Still Have The Time Of Your Life.

Turn your AC up a few degrees.

The summer means it’s hot outside for most of us. I know this.

But, you may be able to save a little on your utility bills by turning your AC up just a few degrees.

I couldn’t find information about what the average person sets their thermostat at, but I always see social media posts about what people set their AC at during the summer. Many of the commenters say that their AC is set below 72 degrees and sometimes even as low as 65 degrees!

To save money, I recommend setting your thermostat at 76 to 78 degrees when you are home. When you are going to sleep, or if no one is home, then you may even want to raise it a few degrees more.

Doing this can save you around 10% or more on your next electric bill.

Block out the sun.

Our RV heats up quickly, so on hot days we make sure to block out the sun by closing all of the curtains. This keeps a lot of the heat out and helps our RV stay at a better temperature.

This can even help you if you live in a “normal” home 🙂

It may sound like a simple thing, but blocking out the sun can really help if you are trying to figure out how to save money in the summer. You may want to shut the shades, close the curtains, close your front door, and more in order to block out the sun and contain the cool air conditioning.

Use a programmable thermostat.

If you haven’t yet, a programmable thermostat is something you may want to invest in. They are relatively affordable and you will most likely make your money back within a year, maybe even just a few months.

With a programmable thermostat, you can set exact temperatures for different times of the day. It automatically changes on a set schedule, meaning you won’t have to think about it.

For example, your AC can automatically turn up when you leave for work so that you don’t waste electricity or money cooling a house that no one is in. You can also program it for while you are sleeping, for the weekend, when you are on vacation, and so on.

I did a simple online search, and I was able to find plenty of programmable thermostats for less than $50, well worth the small investment.

Hot foods can make your house hot.

It’s hot in the summer, I don’t have to say that twice.

If it gets too hot where you live, you may want to be careful when it comes to what you cook for meals. Instead of using your oven for a lot of meals, you can try making something that won't heat up your home or cause you to sweat while cooking.

Cooking meals in your slow cooker, your InstaPot, outside on the grill, and more can be great alternatives to using the oven. This can also help you save money in the summer because you won’t have to turn down the AC when the oven heats up your house.

We haven’t used the oven a whole lot, and if we do, we make sure that it’s not scorching hot outside. After all, we live in an RV, so using the oven heats up our entire home.

Instead, we try to use our slow cooker when it’s hot outside. I love a good crockpot meal because they are so easy to make.

Get rid of cable.

The average monthly cable bill is around $120. By the year 2020, the average cable bill is expected to be around $200 a month.

Instead of paying for high cable bills, you may find it easy to save money in the summer by cutting your cable and heading outside for less expensive entertainment.

You can read more about cutting cable here and how to save money by doing this. I recommend getting a digital antenna so that you can receive local channels for free!

Head to the library.

The library can be a great way to catch a break from the heat (they are always so cold!), while finding a good book to read or movie to watch.

Your local library can offer many frugal ideas for you and your family.

You can borrow books or movies, which you can then bring home and have a fun night in with friends and/or family members.

Start meal planning.

Meal planning is something that has completely changed our lives. We eat healthier than ever, we are saving money, and we have less food waste.

Did you know that the average person wastes over 40% of the food they buy? Yes, 40%!

If you have trouble eating at home, then try the $5 Meal Plan. It’s only $5 a month, and you get meal plans emailed directly to you along with the exact shopping list you need in order to create the meals. This allows you to save time because you won’t have to meal plan anymore, and it will save you money as well! If you are interested in joining for free, click here.

Learn more about weekly meal planning at The Power of Weekly Meal Planning.

Shop second hand.

The summer means it’s garage sale and flea market season, so if you are looking for something to buy this summer, you may want to first search around at garage sales, flea markets, and more.

This can also be a fun way to spend your morning while allowing you to save money in the summer on the things you need and want to buy. I have many friends who love going to garage sales and flea markets, and because things are so cheap, it may be worth it to you.

Find free fun.

Free fun is probably the best way to save money in the summer. I recommend checking out your town’s calendar and website to see what free attractions and events are offered. In many towns, there may be free festivals, free concerts, and more.

Also, if you live near a national park, you may want to find out when their free entry days are. They usually have a few each year, which can be a great way to save money while enjoying amazing views. The free entry days for 2017 are August 25, September 30, and November 11-12th.

How are you saving money in the summer? Do the summer months tend to be expensive for you or not?


My name is Michelle and I'm the author/owner of Making Sense of Cents. Learning how to save money and make more money changed my life. It allowed me to pay off $40,000 in student loans, start my own business, and I now travel full-time.

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