5 Easy Ways to Save Money This Summer
School's out! (Yay!) But like most families right now, you're short on cash. (Boo!) Sure, times are tough all over, but that doesn't mean your kids' summer break has to be a bummer. Here are five easy-as-key-lime-pie ways to save money and enjoy some fun in the sun.
1. Brown-Bag It Whether you're heading to the beach, pool or park, an easy way to save money is to pack meals ahead of time and avoid the ice cream truck temptations and price-gouging snack shacks. Grab a cooler and stuff it full of sandwiches, healthy fruit and munchies. And don't forget the beverages! 2. Cook Outside As if you needed a reason to BBQ, dining alfresco actually saves you dinero. Air-conditioning accounts for nearly 70 percent of summer home-energy use. Plus, cooking inside creates excess heat in your home (and who needs THAT?). Cooking and eating outside can actually lower your electric and gas bills. 3. Get Local Passes Rather than paying full-price admission for local zoos, movie theaters and museums, invest in annual or summer passes. This way you can enjoy what these local attractions have to offer without rushing through it all in one day. Do your kids love animals? With a pass, you can see the polar bears and monkeys one day and focus on the birds and tigers another. 4. Find Lower Gas Prices The price of gas is on the rise again. If summertime for your family equals a road trip, save some money on fuel before you put the pedal to the metal. Websites like GasPriceWatch.com and GasBuddy.com post prices for thousands of stations across the country. Some GPS devices will even map out toll-free roads for you. (50 cents adds up every 10 miles!) 5. Go Camping Who needs a fancy hotel? Campgrounds are cheap. But you can do one even better: Set up a tent in your own backyard. Let your kids invite some friends for an outdoor sleepover. Roast marshmallows, tell scary ghost stories and count the stars.
So with a little creativity and planning, you can find all sorts of ways to have family fun in your backyard, without spending a cruise-boat full of dough!