The smell of barbecue is in the air, the hum of air conditioners fills the neighbourhood, and there’s a heat mirage at the end of the road. It’s official: summer’s here.
And with it comes added pressure on your budget as you’ll be tempted to make the most out of the season.
If your bills are rising along with the mercury this season, check out the tips below. They include simple yet effective money-saving habits that provide a cooling balm to your overheated budget.
1. Spend More Time Outside
Check to see what’s happening in your neighbourhood and plan your days around free festivals, events, and other outdoor activities.
To maximize your savings, pack a lunch and bring a refillable water bottle, so you won’t be tempted to buy costly snacks or other treats while you’re out.
2. Don’t Crank Your AC
If your AC’s running nonstop, chances are your utility bills are higher than usual. You can offset some of these costs by handling your air conditioner with care.
If you plan on taking advantage of the great outdoors, make sure you raise your AC to 85°F or 29°C while you’re out of the house.
It may be an adjustment, but it means you won’t be wasting money cooling a home you won’t be around to enjoy.
Don’t worry if you can only raise your AC by a few degrees at first. You can save 3–5 percent of your air conditioning costs for each degree you raise your thermostat.
3. Change the Way You Bank
Does your bank charge you any time you take money out of an ATM? Do you have to pay a monthly fee just to keep a chequing account? How about all the other daily banking tasks you do? Do things like money orders, e-transfers, or personal loans cost you money?
If you have an account with one of the Big Banks, then the answer is yes. You might be paying as much as $30 a month to keep an account with these commercial banks.
But by switching to a banking alternative like a credit union, you’ll be able to keep that money in your pocket. More still, you’ll earn higher interest rates on deposits and lower rates on local personal loans.
If you’re ready to branch out, click here to learn more about how credit unions do things differently.
4. Walk or Cycle to Work
Strap on your sneakers or helmet and get to work under your own power. With the sun shining brightly in the sky, the summer has the perfect weather for a walking or cycling commute.
Changing up the way you arrive to work has a profound effect on your mood. People who walk or cycle to work feel less stressed. And let’s not forget, you’ll be getting in your daily recommended steps.
Better yet, you’ll see an immediate change in your bank account as you spend less on gas, maintenance, and parking fees.
5. Make it a Staycation
It’s hard to say no to a beachside retreat. Here, it may seem like your only worry is how you’ll refill your piña colada. But then the post-holiday blues sink in — and not because you’re back at work instead of the beach. A vacation puts pressure on your budget, costing the average person as much as $1,145.
You stand to make serious savings by changing how you holiday. Take some time to explore your own backyard, and check out free events and affordable outings in your hometown.
Bottom Line: Be Summer Savvy
The summer can be surprisingly expensive, but not if you follow this guide. These tips promise to protect your budget, so you’ll beat the heat with your cash intact.