With summer comes some sunshine, flowering trees and BBQs. No matter how you spend your summer, one thing is true: when it comes to saving money, there are a lot of little and big tweaks you can consider to shave a few pounds of your summers costs.
In this article we’ll discuss some of the costs you can cut over the summer, so you can save a little for other saving goals, like birthdays or Christmas.
Saving money around the house
Turn off the heater
Though the weather in the UK isn’t always reliable, over summer it is hardly necessary to turn on the heater. Turning off the heating completely will make sure they don’t accidentally run after all. If it does get a bit chilly, use it as an excuse to bring out the cosy blankets, candles and have a nice night cuddled up in front of a movie. Not only do you get a fun time together, it also saves loads compared to going to the cinema!
Pause or cancel subscriptions
If you are going away for longer than two weeks, it might well be worthwhile pausing or cancelling any subscriptions you have running. If you are on any subscriptions that can be cancelled any month (you’re not on a fixed contract or will receive a fee for cancelling) it could save you a few if you pause or cancel them.
This would also be a good time to review your television and broadband deals. If you’re no longer getting the best deal in your area, cancel your contract now. Some companies will offer you a better rate to keep you from leaving. Do your research before cancelling, and you’ll know if the offer is worth it, or if you can cancel completely and go with a different provider. Activate with the other provider after you have returned from your holiday. Not only will you pay less every month, you will have saved (part) of a months entertainment bill.
Lastly, if you have cancelled or paused memberships, like magazines or the gym for example, before subscribing again consider; did I really miss these? If the answer is yes go on ahead and unpause your subscription. If you’re not so sure, have a good think if it’s worth cancelling for good, or finding a (cheaper) alternative that you enjoy more.
Longer evenings and decent weather are the perfect backdrop for hanging out with your friends. But instead of hitting the beer garden, why not have beer… in your garden?
Organise a barbeque for your friends and/or family. You can keep costs low by asking a contribution towards food, have people bring their own alcohol or have everyone bring some dishes, potluck style.
The costs per person will most definitely be lower than drinks and dinner in a restaurant or bar, the kids can run around freely, and everyone can come and go as they please. Maximum fun for a minimal cost and medium effort!
Slash grocery bills
Coupons are not a seasonal item, but they can definitely help you save a few! Found online, directly from brands, or in the free supermarket magazines, coupons can help you save money on your staple buys. Just don’t use them if it’s not an item you buy regularly. If you didn’t plan for it, it’s not a saving, but an expense.
Summer makes us think of warm weather, beaches, long evenings, and…. Ice cream! Instead of splurging of sugary store bought ice creams, why not make your own ice lollies? All you need are a few moulds and some squash. You can also make ice lollies from fruit juice or blend some fruit into a smoothie. Little fromage frais cups easily become an ice cream when frozen with a popsicle stick stuck in them.
Save on holiday expenses
Most people know about comparison sites for hotels. However, you can go beyond this and compare flights and car hire as well. On top of that, always make sure you also check the packaged holiday deals – they might just be cheaper, or the same amount, but all from one supplier.
Get travel insurance
Accidents happen. You drop your phone in the pool, your luggage doesn’t make it to your destination (or back home), or someone steals your bag.
While it seems like a cost, travel insurance is a small price to pay for when accidents do happen, as these costs can quickly run over £1000. Find yourself the best suited travel insurance for the trip you are taking through comparison sites, and again, you can often get it through the cashback sites mentioned above. A limited expense to cover for the worst case scenario.
Whether you’re having a staycation or have gone abroad, when in Rome… eat where the Romans eat.
Especially abroad restaurants full with tourists are probably okay, but could be marked up on price. Search a few backstreets for the restaurants where the locals go for a bite. It will probably be less expensive as it’s not on the main street, and could even be more authentic in taste and menu, if even the locals prefer it!
Other ways to save money over the summer
Summer is not just about holidays. With better weather and the kids out of school, it’s all about fun activities and day trips. The following tips focus a bit more on our summer staples – and how we can save on them.
Depending on where you are going, it might be cheaper to travel by train. The little ones under 5 years old travel for free, and with a Friends & Family Railcard you can get ⅓ of your tickets. Booking in advance usually offers a cheaper fare as well.
With the nicer weather, consider doing your errands on foot, or by bike. It will save you petrol money for the car or your bus fare, and you will enjoy the sunshine and get some exercise in. If this is not a possibility, consolidate your errands as much as possible, so you only have to go once. This will save both time and money.
Free days out
There are a lot of activities that can be done for little or no money. Why not take the kids to a ‘pick your own’ farm? Search online for a farm near you that allows for picking your own produce. Not only will you come back with fresh food, it is a fun and educating day out, for only the costs of the food you decide to pick!
How about a picnic in the park? Bring your own refreshments for a great time playing football, games or just chatting away. You’d be surprised how many of your friends are up for a lounge session in the local park, or a game of footie, regardless their age.
Check if your council is running a Summer Playscheme, or if there are any free holiday clubs taking place in churches and community buildings that you could sign the kids up for. The kids get to enjoy fun activities, while you save money on childcare.
Vouchers and discounts for days out
Most outings will have some form of discount available. Go through websites like Groupon to find great offers such as 2 for 1 entry or 30% discount on a group activity. Don’t forget to check social media and the brand’s website – they often post their own discount codes as well.
Bringing your own lunch and snacks, and drinks in reusable bottles can also save you quite a few pounds. If your destination allows you to bring your own food, you can pack healthy lunches for a fraction of the costs of the fast food available in the park or zoo you’re visiting.
Check if you have any unused vouchers or gift cards lying around. They could have been from a birthday, or perhaps you saved for Christmas with Variety last year. Gift cards are just as valuable as money, so do make sure you spend them. If you have any Love2Shop gift cards left from last years Christmas savings, you could use them to pay for trips, such as tickets to Alton Towers, Gulliver’s Theme Parks, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Drayton Manor and many more.
Summer often brings loads of sales in shops. However, before you draw out your wallet, think if you really need the item. Summer fashion is often short lived, and because we like to flaunt different wares at every social, this quickly adds up. Browsing in charity shops often brings about as-good-as-new if not brand new items, for a lot less than you would buy on the high street. If it’s just a single event, check in with your friends: do they have something you could borrow?
If you are tired of a lot of your clothes, perhaps your friends and/or family are too. Organising a clothes swap can be a lot of fun, and you get rid of your unwanted items while adding fresh items to your wardrobe. The leftovers are always more than welcome at your nearest charity shops.
Whether summer time is a time for lavish extravaganza or just like any other day, there is no need to always go full price for your expenses. With the above tips you can easily save a few pounds here and there, which can go to other useful goals, like paying off debt, saving for big expenses, or just to have a little cash on hand. If you want to read more about saving money, take a look at these five changes that make big money.