Who doesn't want to know how to spend less this summer? With the beautiful weather comes more opportunities to blow through your cash, whether it's on a vacation or just on activities around the backyard. But believe it or not, there are easy ways to keep more cash in your wallet this summer while traveling, gardening, and having fun outdoors. Here are four of the best!
Cut your electric bill while on vacation.
Planning to take a summer trip away from home? Before you leave, you’ll probably raise the thermostat setting so you don’t waste electricity while you’re gone. Another easy way to keep your home electric bill down during your trip: Switch off the circuit breaker that turns off your hot water heater since this is one of the three top energy consumers in your home (and don’t worry — most models reheat water within one hour of being turned back on).
Emptying your refrigerator before leaving town to avoid food waste? Pack it with containers holding water or ice, since a full fridge requires less electricity to chill than an empty one.
Save cash by using “old-fashioned” repellents.
Think you’ll ward off more bothersome mosquitoes by using the latest repellent devices, such as clip-on fans and bracelets? Nope! A new report found that old-fashioned 30 percent or less DEET-containing sprays and nontoxic essential oil lotions are far more effective at keeping biting bugs at bay — and cost a fraction of the price.
Keep driving costs down by logging on.
Taking more car trips to the beach, amusement park and other popular summer destinations? Not only are fuel prices predicted to rise, the prices of road, bridge and tunnel tolls have been steadily climbing around the country—and if you don’t have an electronic pass for some of them, you’ll be charged an even higher rate. The easy way to keep these costs down? Use AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner to plan your route. This easy-to-use interactive map allows you to plot a course that steers you clear of tolls (pick “options”, then “avoid tolls”). You’ll also be able to compare the prices of gas along your route by selecting “Places” in the top menu, then “gas”, so you can select the cheapest station.
Get free gardening supplies.
There are many ways you can save on gardening, but here's a biggie: Before you head to a store for plants, seeds, tools, and other gardening needs, check out your local Freecycle.org group and the “free” section of Craigslist.com. There’s typically a steady flow of ads from folks giving away these items at no cost because they have extras or are moving, changing their yard landscape or no longer need them!
Can’t find the tools you need? Some local libraries have a wide selection of hoes, spades and other tools to lend! You can find other low-cost gardening essentials at dollar stores, garage sales, Habitat for Humanity ReStores and thrift stores.