Today is what I am hoping is the first of many beautiful days to come this season, and so I was inspired to write about saving money in the summer season.
1. Water bottles. Some people prefer stainless steel canteens, some like nalgenes, but I prefer store-bought fresh-off-the-self recyclable pre-filled water bottles. I make sure we have a case in the trunk at all times. When I’m in dire need of water, it’s not the container that I value most but what’s inside. Rather than hitting a vending machine, 7-11, or the corner store for a $3.00 bottle of Dasani (and many times, when I’m at this point I need a second, or a friend does), I grab one out of the trunk of my car. Honestly, by buying them on a regular basis, I probably save about $40 over the summer. Now you may be saying, “But isn’t it cheaper to fill up a reusable one?” Well yes, but when you’re at the beach or out playing tennis and there isn’t a place to fill up, you’re out of luck. And if your car begins to overheat, it’s a lot more expensive to replace an engine block than to grab a couple bottles out of the backseat. Savings = $40.
Also, keep a couple in the freezer to defrost over long car rides or days at the beach.
2. Air conditioning. It’s easy to see a jump in your cooling costs over the summer. A $50-100 increase per month in nothing to scoff at. See if you can optimize a combination of room fans and AC. The average fan will cost you about $3 per month, but potentially save you a lot more. Depending how long you can hold off: Savings = $100.
3. Happy Hour. When the weather starts getting nicer and the days get longer, I am often attracted to inviting a friend or co-worker out for a refreshing beverage after a long day. A $6 beer, split a plate of nachos, another beer, and very quickly you’ve totaled up a bill that was more than you intended.
Instead, make a pitcher of iced tea or a large batch of your favorite adult beverage in the morning and head to your patio or a park at the end of the day. You’ll probably save both of you and anyone else in your party around $30 that night, and will have just as good or bad a time as if you were in a dark and stuffy bar. Savings = at least $20 per week.
4. Summer concerts. As most of you know, we try to have a dedicated date night once a week. Fortunately we love outdoor concerts that don’t break the bank. We know for certain that Columbia, MD, New Haven, CT, and Chicago, IL all have a concert in the park series that plays at least once a week. Grab your blanket and a couple of PBJs and enjoy some great live music. If the act isn’t very good, you haven’t wasted any money and you probably enjoyed just catching up. Savings = $50 per week.
5. Sun block. Now this one isn’t a direct savings, but the alternative is quite costly. Chances are that last year’s sunscreen in your bathroom cabinet is expired by this year. Buy a new tube for this season now! Maybe it will prevent you from buying a new bottle of aloe when you realize the old one didn’t work, or maybe it will prevent a very serious melanoma. I can’t quantify the savings on this one, but it’s just not worth the risk.
Total Savings = a couple hundred dollars.
A vacation, a new bathing suit, Lollapalooza tickets, or (less fun) debt repayment? Whatever you do, put it to good use!
Friends don’t let friends forget sun block! Pete W. helps me reapply without my consent. I was thankful in the end.