Seasons of savings: Tips to manage your budget this summer

2021-07-07   minute read

Tina Powell

Lifestyle Debt

This post about summer activities is intended to suggest budget friendly alternatives to common seasonal pastimes which may or may not be possible right now due to COVID-19 restrictions. Be sure to reference your local public health authority before taking any advice offered here and follow all public health precautions when and where appropriate.

Let’s go out, grab a bite, and cut loose! These are familiar words when the weather starts to heat up. Summer is a wonderful time for most people: The days are long, weather is warm, trees and flowers are in full bloom, and — now that the spring cleaning is finished — everyone’s ready to socialize.

However, managing your household budget without missing the action can be tricky. The following tips can help you manage the balancing act of staying in the black while still having fun.

A family on a bike ride

Love your local library

Your local public library is a great resource to access free entertainment and dip your toe in the heart of your community’s culture. Physical library branches offer books, DVDs, music and magazines, as well as free internet access — not to mention all sorts of free events, social clubs, and learning opportunities for people of all ages.

For those of you who like to go digital, you can get all the benefits of the library from home by accessing thousands of eBook and audiobook titles. Most public libraries also have their own streaming apps like Kanopy or Hoopla, which could save you up to $200 per year.

Check your local library’s website to see what they have to offer and how to sign up.

Everyone loves a sale

Yard sales are one of the most popular weekend activities in the summer. Hosting one could help you declutter while putting some much-needed money in your pocket. You might be surprised how quickly a small table with a few items from around the house can attract treasure hunters looking to add to their collection or wanting to flip rare finds for a profit.

Need to stock up on beach supplies or backyard games for the family? Keep your eyes peeled for yard sales in your neighbourhood, which can often offer steep discounts to other retailers.

A teaching moment for the kids

Did you ever host a lemonade stand as a child? Believe it or not, these are still popular with the youth today. Encourage your kids to test their entrepreneurial mettle and potentially earn some summertime pocket change in the process. That way when the ice cream man comes calling, they’ll be ready.

Brown-bag it!

Besides housing, food is the biggest monthly expense for most households. Bringing your own lunch to the beach, the park, or on a road trip is a great way to save money and avoid going overboard on high calorie, sugar-filled treats every time you go out. Plus, a picnic is a quintessential summertime activity that has become highly undervalued in recent years.

Some summer-friendly meal ideas that are surprisingly inexpensive include: potato or pasta salad, cucumber sandwiches, veggie sticks and dip or hummus, and Asian-inspired noodle bowls.

Host at home

The average night out can cost well over $100 for dinner, drinks and a cab. Hosting parties and get-togethers at home is a veritable bargain in comparison — and even cheaper if you make it a potluck.

Invite people over for a bonfire, barbeque, tapas night, pool party, or a lawn games.

Cheap and easy party-friendly snacks include stove-top popcorn, smores, cheese and crackers, cupcakes, BBQ hotdogs, and cold salads.

Do less

People have an understandable urge to fill every waking moment with activities and responsibilities throughout the summer. Before you know it, it’s September, the leaves are falling off the trees and it’s back to your regularly scheduled programming (literally).

Make a conscious effort to leave some time open this summer, to just sit back, relax and enjoy yourself. Not only is this the single most budget friendly activity possible, but it will also provide an opportunity to reflect on what you have, what you’re grateful for and what you truly need.

We could all use some time to recharge our batteries. Make sure you treat yourself to some deliberate over the balmy days ahead. Just remember to wear plenty of sunscreen and a good shading hat if you plan on laying in the sun.

Get your hands dirty

Have some space in your back yard to plant a garden? Not only are fresh fruits and vegetables a refreshing treat to beat the summer heat — growing them yourself is a thoroughly enjoyable way to pass the time and save some money in the process.

Do some research online to find out what grows well in your area. If you’re new to gardening, there are plenty of free resources to help you do everything from preparing the soil to harvesting your bounty. If you have kids, this can be a great teaching moment to help them understand where their food comes from and how they can be more self sufficient as they grow up. 

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