How to Lower Your Living Expenses Over the Summer

As we approach the halfway mark of 2016, it’s time to check in on your budget goals. If your savings aren’t looking as robust as you hoped they would, summer is the perfect opportunity to play catch up, or to get ahead, if things are already on track.
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With good weather on your side, you can pare down your usual living expenses throughout the summer months, opting instead for simple and inexpensive lifestyle changes that won’t compromise your quality of life.

We’ve assembled some quick and easy ways to help you change your living habits this summer, while still keeping your savings on ice for the cooler months.

Take a low-cost vacation

There’s no need to indulge in a costly getaway when good times can be had close to home. Take advantage of the weather by planning an inexpensive camping trip to a nearby destination. A campsite rental is way cheaper than booking a hotel room, a road trip is the fraction of the price of airfare, and odds are good that you can borrow the gear from a friend for free (if you don’t already have your own). By day, entertain yourself by going for a swim or taking a hike. Nights are all about cooking dinner over the open fire and taking in a spectacle of stars.

Grow your own food

Flex your green thumb and try planting your own vegetable garden. If you have space, start one in your backyard, or rent a plot from a community garden. Plot rental involves a modest initial investment, but once you’re up and running, you’ll be spending precious little more than your time. Growing your own organic food can help you skip the expensive grocery store, and food you grow yourself will taste that much more delicious, guaranteed.

Give your utility bill a break

Still reeling from those sky-high winter utility bills? It’s time to give yourself a break by cutting back on your energy-guzzling appliances.

Let’s start with the clothes dryer. Not only does it use a lot of power, but the heat it creates can make your house feel like a hot yoga studio. Give your dryer the summer off, and choose instead to pick up a drying rack. Pop the rack outside and let the sun do its thing. For once, your clothing will actually smell like summer breeze, something that no dryer sheet could ever replicate.

Next, let’s talk about the stove and oven. Save the stews, casseroles, and roasts for the winter. Using your stovetop and oven in the summer will only make your house feel hotter than it already is, and who wants to be chained to the kitchen when the sun is beaming? Summer is all about foods that are light and fresh, so whip up a salad and make good use of that outdoor grill.

Party in your backyard

Summer may be patio season, but is it really worth paying a few extra bucks just to have another person open your bottle of beer for you?

Skip restaurants and pubs and choose to entertain your friends (or just yourself) in your own backyard. Chips and salsa, some good tunes, and fine company are all you really need to have a great time. Gather your circle of friends and take turns hosting, and you’ll save a few bucks without sacrificing sweet summertime memories.

Embrace the lunch hour picnic

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: brown bagging your lunch can help you save a ton of money. Sure, packing your own lunch for work will keep you in the green, but who wants to forego social hour in the food court for a lunch spent chained to your desk?

Summer weather makes it easier than even to get the best of both worlds. You can bring your own lunch while still escaping the office; just find a bench in a park or a fountain to perch on, and make your midday picnic an inexpensive way to take a physical and mental break from work. The sun on your face, some home cooked food and a bit of a walk will make the rest of your day seem way more manageable. Best of all, you’ll save a good chunk of dough.

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