Summer on a Budget

Warmer weather, longer days, and plenty of excuses to get outdoors: It’s totally cool (and doable!) to do summer on a budget. Here’s how.
Summer on a Budget

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 easy ways to help you summer on a budget without sacrificing any summer fun.

Get away for less

Looking at #wanderlust travel pictures on Instagram can make it tempting to spring for a summer getaway, but if you’re trying to save money, it might not be in the cards this year. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get away without booking an expensive trip.

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, 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. Summer nights are all about cooking dinner over the open fire and taking in a spectacle of stars.

Create a summer bucket list

You can also save by taking day trips or mini-adventures instead of planning long trips away from home. With your friends, partner, or family, create a summer bucket list of no- and low-cost activities to keep you engaged and entertained all season long. Here are some ideas!

  • Hike local nature trails at your nearest state park
  • Pick strawberries at a local farm
  • Rent or borrow canoes and float along a river or lake
  • Check your local library and park for upcoming events and concerts
  • Attend free summer festivals and holiday celebrations
  • See if your local museum offers free days during the summer
  • Take your dog to all the local dog parks
  • Head to a park with a picnic basket full of goodies
  • Flex your creative muscle by doing a mural with sidewalk chalk
  • Fill up water balloons for some backyard fun

Hint: Want to do something more expensive? Make it a Goal in your Simple account and save up for it over time!

Save up for your summer bucket list!
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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?

To save some money, skip restaurants and pubs and choose to entertain your friends (or just yourself) in your own backyard. Chips and salsa, some chill tunes, and good 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.

With the money you save, you can upgrade your patio furniture, get one of those nifty projectors for watching movies under the stars, or get that pellet smoker you’ve always wanted. Or, you can always put it towards your emergency fund, paying off debt, or saving for something big. Your house, your rules!

Save up for summer fun with Goals!
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Eat seasonal produce and save

Summer is farmer’s market season! Instead of stocking up on your usual buys at the grocery store, take advantage of the bounty of summer by shopping for locally grown produce. You’d be surprised how far your budget can stretch when you’re filling up on dark leafy greens, sweet corn, summer squash, watermelon, and other seasonal favorites!

If you’re feeding a family of two, four, or more, look online to see if you can participate in a summer CSA. CSA stands for community-supported agriculture, and it’s a great way to support local farmers while eating fresh, healthy fruits and veggies at their peak of freshness–usually at a far cheaper rate than you’d spend at the grocery store. While some CSAs require you to commit for a full season, others allow you to pay by the week, giving you flexibility to pick and choose when you want to participate.

Keep track of your grocery bills with Expenses.
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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 to make quick, tasty meals while lowering your utility bills.

Another opportunity to cut back? Your air conditioner. Yes, yes. It is hot outside. But, by opening your windows at night and closing the blinds during the day, you can really reduce that electric bill, while still regulating the heat in your house!

Check here for more tips to help you lower your utility bills.
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Shop your closet for summer clothes

Do you tend to go on a mini shopping spree whenever a new season arrives? Inspired by the first few days of summer weather, you might be tempted to peek at your favorite stores online to give your wardrobe an update.

Before you do that, take inventory of what you already have: You might find summery tops, shorts, and sandals that you forgot you had hiding just behind all your winter gear! To curb spending even further, create a rule that you have to donate or sell something before you can buy anything new.

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.

For more tips to help you budget and save with Simple, check out the Budgeting section of our blog!

Disclaimer: Hey! Welcome to our disclaimer. Here’s what you need to know to safely consume this blog post: Any outbound links in this post will take you away from Simple.com, to external sites in the wilds of the internet; neither Simple nor our partner bank, BBVA USA, endorse any linked-to websites; and we didn’t pay/barter with/bribe anyone to appear in this post. And as much as we wish we could control the cost of things, any prices in this article are just estimates. Actual prices are up to retailers, manufacturers, and other people who’ve been granted magical powers over digits and dollar signs.