With traveling expenses, air conditioning costs and entertainment events, summer can ravage your wallet all over again. Fortunately, multiple summer bills mean there are multiple opportunities to save money.
1. Grow Your Own Food
Growing your own food can really cut down on grocery bills. Seeds only cost $2-3 per packet, and seedlings cost about the same per plant. Considering how many pounds of tomatoes you can get from a single plant versus how many pounds of tomatoes you can buy at the store for $3, both seeds and seedlings are a great deal! If gardening isn’t your forte, make friends with green-thumbed neighbors who will give or sell you their excess produce. Farmers markets are also a great alternative, since they are cheaper and carry some of the freshest produce available.
2. Fun and Entertainment
To save money at the movies, get a subscription to a movie rental service, like Netflix, or go to matinées and refuse the temptation of movie theater snacks. As for amusement parks, hold out for promotional offers, which are frequent in the summer! If you frequent a water park or pool in the summer, consider buying a season pass instead of buying individual passes every time. For movie goers, try to avoid all the expensive food once you’re in the gates. In some cases, you may be able to use your student ID card to score student discounts on tickets. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
If you like to entertain or spend time outdoors, chances are you’ll want to purchase some patio furniture. Buy your patio furniture late in the season or near major entertaining holidays like Memorial Day and July 4th to get a price break. Buy durable, low-maintenance items because patio furniture is subjected to the elements and tends to fade, crack and break.
3. Monthly Bills
Consider limiting your AC use to the time of day when you need it most. Some people like to be cooler while they sleep; others may need the air more during the day while doing household chores like cooking and cleaning. When you’re doing something that involves sitting still, like watching TV, turn on a fan rather than AC. When you leave the house, turn the AC off. When you have the AC on, close doors to areas like closets and bathrooms that don’t have vents and don’t need to be cooled. Make sure the air filters in your air conditioning unit are clean – dirty ones will make your system work harder than it needs to, costing you money.
4. Energy Costs
Gas prices tend to go up in summer because of increased demand. Combining errands saves both gas money and time. Also, find the cheapest gas along your normal driving route. Try to choose regular gasoline, not premium, unless your car’s manual specifies a higher octane fuel. Driving defensively, following speed limits and avoiding aggressive stops and starts also saves fuel. In addition, look for opportunities to walk, bike, take public transit or carpool. Finally, avoid driving in rush hour as much as possible. All that time spent idling in traffic wastes a lot of gas. Perhaps your employer will let you adjust your schedule so you can avoid traffic. The HyVee Fuel Saver is also a great way to save on fuel costs! Look for the HyVee Shopper to find grocery items that are currently fuel saver eligible. Just swipe your Hy-Vee Fuel Saver card at the pump and watch the price you pay per gallon drop.
Wishing all of our students a safe, fun and savvy summer!