Need to make your summer funds stretch a little further? Here are nine creative ideas to help you save money in the summer months, without getting a second (or third) job.
Try a New Phone Plan
For most of us, our phone is a daily necessity—but that doesn’t mean we need to spend top dollar on a phone plan. If your current plan is making a sizeable dent in your budget, check out MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) plans. You’ll often find lower monthly prices as well as pay-as-you-go options, so that during times when you’re using your phone less, you’ll have more cash to spare.
Some lenders offer skip-a-pay, letting borrowers skip a loan or credit card payment without any negative effect on their credit score or payment history. Skip-a-pay can be a good option if you’re strapped for cash and need a one-time reprieve. However, if you foresee more serious difficulties making your payments long term, speak with your lender immediately to see what options are available.
Shop Bulk With Friends
Buying food in bulk is almost always cheaper than purchasing items one-off. But what happens if your household is small or you don’t have a ton of storage space? Grab a few friends and go in on bulk purchases together! You can make a spreadsheet of who needs what, shop together, then divide your buys. Staples like bread, flour, sugar and milk are usually a good place to start.
Share Your Car
If gas prices are gouging your summer cash flow, why not let your vehicle earn its keep by helping you bring in a few extra bucks? A car sharing platform like Turo or Getaround connects car owners to drivers, so you can list a car you already own and get paid to let other people use it. Experimenting with car sharing may be especially good in the summer, when it’s easier to walk or bike around town.
Do a No Buy Week
The little purchases really do add up. Make your summer cash stretch further by instituting one No Buy Week every month. During a No Buy Week, you can’t spend money on anything besides groceries and essential toiletries. A successful No Buy Week may involve inviting friends for iced tea rather than meeting at a bar, or blocking your favorite online retail sites—but the money saved is well worth it.
Studies have shown that the average US household tosses over 31% of its food. This summer, reduce your spending and your spoilage by not letting any food go to waste. Plan meals weekly and only buy what you need, and try using a recipe generator like SuperCook or MyFridgeFood, which offers recipe ideas based on what’s already in your fridge and pantry.
Say No to Special Promotions
While it may sound counterintuitive, when you’re trying to make cash stretch it’s best to steer clear of anything claiming to be a “special promotion” or “limited-time only” sale. Retailers use these tactics to ramp up the pressure and encourage purchases you don’t actually need. Stick to your budget by not shopping the sales, unless it’s an item that’s already on your list.
When your favorite shows and movies are spread across five different streaming services, it’s natural to want access to them all. One tactic to save money without giving up your entertainment is to rotate subscriptions—so you can still see the content you love, during alternating months. Cancel all your services except one, then the next month, cancel it and choose a different service. Yes, yearly fees are usually a better deal, but if you’re reducing your spending from four or five services per month to just one, you will definitely see the savings.
Reduce Electric Bills
Want to save some cash and do something good for the environment? Reduce your electricity usage! Use free online videos and instruction manuals to check your air conditioner and ensure it’s functioning at full capacity, or try a few days relying on just fans and see how that feels. And, on the hottest days of the year, head to the lake or the library so that you’re not paying top dollar to cool your house.