This summer is going to likely look a lot different than we’re used to. With COVID taking over, and physical distancing guidelines enforced for the foreseeable future, it feels like summer is miles away even though it starts in just a few short weeks.
Even though summer may look a bit different in terms of what we’re allowed to do. No one can take a Canadian summer away from us, and even if we’re needing to continue to distance ourselves. No matter what the situation, summer can cost you more than a normal season.
The weather is turning around, and all you want to do is go outside and play. Attend fun events, drink on patios, and it’s hard to say no to any plans that come up because in Canada we only get a few short months of this.
Even though the future can seem unclear right now, it’s important to still save for summer fun. Even if that summer fun ends up being pushed to fall fun.
The good news is, there’s no better time than now to save money. We don’t have anywhere we can go, and even if we did, everything is closed. We are stuck inside our homes, and not spending money the way we would normally. So here are some of our tips to take advantage of the situation and save.
In preparation for summer
Need new patio furniture? Garden tools? A summer wardrobe? No matter what expenses a new season brings, you can buy it used. We always rush to buy things brand new, when you can usually find the same products gently used. Not only is this option good for the environment, but it’s also good for your wallet. Before you jump into buying something new, do your research in buy and sell groups on Facebook or online forums like Kijiji and Craigslist. Just make sure you’re safe, and only provide payment with the person when you meet, in-person, in a public place.
Invest in long term
The summer is something everyone looks forward to. We’ve been waiting all winter for this! The longer days, the sunshine, the warmer weather. It can feel so good! Investing in the long term can help you save expenses. You don’t want to be purchasing items every year. If you need patio furniture, buy good quality patio furniture, and take care of it, so it lasts years. Even though investing in stuff like this upfront can feel like a lot out of pocket, in the long term it’ll save you money.
A great way to save money anytime of year is to meal plan. Planning meals in advance can help you eliminate food waste while also putting more money in your pocket. Create lists before heading to the grocery store. Make these lists around the meals you’d like to make for the week. Each week, make note of the things that you don’t use before they go bad, so you can ensure you don’t buy them again. This is one of the biggest areas in your life you can be saving money. Plus, it can help you stay healthy.
Ditch or pause expenses
We are home less in summer, so why are we paying so much for cable, movie subscriptions, and large internet packages? Take a look at all your subscriptions and expenses, and look at ones that you can cut. Even if it’s just for the summer months. Alternatively, look at what other options are available. Maybe you can lower your packages for the summer so you are paying less.
Budget and plan
If you plan on wanting to take a vacation in the summer months. It’s important to start thinking about it before the summer even begins. This way you can look for deals, and most importantly, save the money you need so you can have a great vacay without clearing out your bank account. Maybe you want to save your tax return so you don’t have to dig into your current savings at all. Maybe you want to keep your end-of-year bonus for a summer vacation. By thinking of these things in advance, you won’t kick yourself for not thinking of how you could’ve saved or used your money in a different way.
Set up a separate savings account
Leading up to summer, you may find it helpful to set up a separate account to save. Just like saving for anything, keeping things separate can often help you save more. Why? Because you aren’t reaching into this account for daily expenses. You can also set up auto withdrawals or transfers to go from one account to the other every payday. You’ll get used to living without this money and your savings account will build up fast!
Once summer has begun
It’s not all about saving money before summer begins, but also, you don’t want to blow all your money during summer either and leave yourself broke for the rest of the year. There are so many great tips you can follow to have a great summer while also not breaking the bank.
Scope out free events and activities
Summer is about getting outside and enjoying the weather. There are always so many fun events and activities to take part in. However, this can add up quickly. The good news is, we often forget that not all activities and fun needs to cost money. There are several local events, markets, and activities that you can find in your city or town that are completely free. Take the time to see all the options out there for entertainment, and remember that having fun is about being with the right people, and not always about breaking the bank on tickets and events.
This summer we may not have the option to travel outside of our own country, let alone our own province. So taking advantage of local travel is not only a way to explore and have adventures, but also not spend as much money as you would on a larger vacation. Not to mention how much our local economy can benefit from it after being in lockdown for months. Find fun in your own backyard.
Here are some great tips for planning the perfect staycation.
Turn off the air conditioning
Okay, you don’t want to die of heat in your house. But when you aren’t home, consider turning down or off your AC to save on your hydro bill. Alternatively, if you know the night is going to be cool, turn off the air, and open the window. You can also open windows on opposite sides of your home and set-up a fan to exhaust out one window. This is a great tip if you don’t have AC but also to cut down your AC cost.
Speaking of AC, cooking indoors with your oven or stove on can overheat your house or apartment quickly. In turn, you’re going to be turning up that AC. Instead, opt to cook outside on the BBQ instead. Not only will it be nice to be in the fresh air, but BBQ tastes great and can allow you to keep your house nice and cool.
Let your laundry dry outside
Another way to cut costs on your electricity bill is to let your laundry dry outside. The weather is beautiful and sunny, why pay to use a dryer? This tip is simple.
Cut back on transit costs
The weather is nicer, and you no longer need to opt for a car or transit. Instead, walk or ride your bike. This can be a fun way to do errands, get outside and get fresh air. Plus, who wants to be crammed on a stuffy local bus or subway in the heat? This can also significantly cut your costs as well and help you save money for other fun summer activities instead.
Plant a garden
This can be such a fun activity for the whole family and a great way to cut back on food costs. Plant fruits and vegetables in your garden this summer. It can be a great way to get outside, plus, you will eat healthier. There’s nothing more rewarding than growing your own food and you’ll save money on your grocery bill.
Invite family and friends over
This is an easy one. It can be just as fun to have your friends and family over versus always going out. Have a potluck, host a dinner party, have a themed backyard party, there are so many options that you can do in the summertime, and with your friends or family by your side, you’ll have fun no matter what.
Summer can be one of the best times of the year. Like we said, living in a country with four seasons, we look forward to the few short months we get in the heat, and sun. We’ve earned this after a long winter inside, but even though it can be easy to blow all our dollars when the summer hits and live a very YOLO lifestyle, you want to ensure that you aren’t going broke. Afterall, there are 3 other seasons in a year that you need to get through. So make sure to keep these tips in mind:
- Buy used
- Invest in good quality items
- Meal prep
- Look at the expenses you can ditch or pause for the summer
- Budget and plan
- Look at modern ways to borrow money if need be
- Set-up a separate savings account for your summer fun
- Scope out free events and activities in your city
- Travel local
- Turn off the air conditioner (or down)
- Cook outside
- Let your laundry dry outside versus in the dryer
- Cut back on transit or car costs by walking or riding your bike
- Grow your own food in a garden
- Get creative with fun activities your friends and family can enjoy at home
What are your tips?