Summer’s in full swing, and that means there are more ways than ever for you to spend your time and money. However, if you’re trying to stick to a budget, this can be a problem, especially in an expensive city like Chicago! With so many expensive summer temptations, we thought we’d put together a list to help you stay on budget this summer.
7 Ways to Save Money This Summer
- Turn down the air conditioner. Cut down your overall air conditioning usage and take advantage of window and ceiling fans. By raising your thermostat only two degrees and using a ceiling fan, you can lower air conditioning costs by up to 14 percent over the summer. A programmable thermostat can cut energy costs for heating and cooling by up to 20 percent. Each degree you are able to raise the thermostat, you will save 3 – 5 percent on air conditioning costs.
- Ditch your car. Think of the places you frequent. Could you walk, bike, take public transportation or carpool more often? At first it might be an adjustment and slightly inconvenient, but the exercise, conversations and outdoor enjoyment are added bonuses in addition to saving money on gas!
- Look for inexpensive entertainment. If you are headed out to eat, shift your time and hit the happy hours. You will find price breaks on food and drinks by arriving earlier. Summer in the Chicago area provides many opportunities for free entertainment. Plays and movies in the park are common, as are outdoor concerts and summer amateur athletic events.
- Pack your own lunches. Making your own meals the majority of the time is healthier and more cost efficient than dining out. Plan some brown-bag lunches with some friends at work instead of going to a restaurant every lunch hour. Organize a potluck meal for your office or small group twice a month. Pack lunches in a cooler when you're off to the pool, park or on a road trip.
- Do a home energy audit. If your home isn't brand new, it's probably leaking energy somewhere. You can save hundreds or thousands of dollars per year by doing a home energy audit. Home energy audits cost a few hundred dollars, but the U.S. Department of Energy has a helpful guide for doing a home energy audit yourself.
- Experience your town for free. Why travel 3,000 miles away for fun and relaxation when there's stuff to do right on your block? Be proactive about finding free activities around your town. Not all of them will be highly publicized, but with a little investigation, you could find the hidden gem that could be the highlight of your summer.
- Get out of the house! Take advantage of the longer days and sunny weather by getting outside to experience it. If it will help you, get rid of the cable and gym membership for now. Both can confine you indoors and soak up your time and money. Consider renting movies from the library and exercising at home and outside instead.
If it’s going to take more than these awesome money-saving tips to keep you out of big-time debt this summer, you may want to speak with a bankruptcy or foreclosure attorney and explore your options. Request a Free No-Obligation Legal Evaluation Today to learn more.
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Did You Know?
- The average allowance an American child now receives is about $780 per year, or $65 per month, according to a recent study by the American Institute of CPAs.
- According to data from Trulia.com and the National Association of Home Builders, in the 1950s, the average American home was just under 1,000 square feet; by the 2000s it had ballooned to 2,300 square feet, despite steadily decreasing family size during the same period.
- The average amount of a new car loan is now more than $30,000 (a 40 percent increase over the past 10 years) and about 45 percent of those loans are now longer than six years.
- When you factor in monthly service plans and other costs, the true cost of owning a $199 iPhone 5 is likely to run between $1,000 and $2,500 per year.
- According to the website CreditLoan.com, the average American will now pay more than $600,000 in interest over the course of a lifetime!
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The article above appeared in the Suburban Legal Group Newsletter: 7 Ways to Save Money This Summer | Issue 38 | July 2014