Tap into Savings: 12 Great Ways to Save Money This Summer

When the temperature heats up, don’t let your budget melt down! Summer is here-staying busy and active, taking trips and cranking the AC can really do some damage to your pocketbook! Here, our top tips for keeping your wallet intact.

  1. Ditch the soft drinks and try making "sun tea" (a favorite here in North Carolina). Toss four large tea bags into a clear pitcher or jar full of filtered water, and let it bake outside for three hours. Later, dilute with filtered water, add a little lemon and sugar, and refrigerate!
  2. Skip the produce section at your pricey grocery store and hit your local farmers' market. Spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, string beans and red bell peppers are cheap and in season now. While you're there, pick up petunias at bargain prices to brighten your flower beds.
  3. Go on a stay-cation. Bring Maui, Miami, or Montego to your own backyard! Let your kids make decorations or pick up some floral centerpieces, colorful place mats and leis from your local dollar store. Play a Hawaiian CD and grill fish or chicken with pineapple and coconut rice for dinner and end the weekend with a hula contest and a dip in the kiddie pool.
  4. Turn down the AC. Set you thermostat's fan setting to "on" to keep the air circulating. Better yet, get a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature for the times you're not at home.
  5. Have a clothing swap. Reserve a Saturday afternoon to trade your most gorgeous "not for me" leftovers with your friends. And don't forget kids' clothes! It's good time, too, to hit the summer sales: swimsuits, sandals and sunglasses are all marked down now.
  6. Cancel the cable bill for the summer and enjoy the beautiful weather instead. Visit your neighborhood pool, go on family hikes, camp in the backyard, attend minor-league baseball games, hit local parks or check out the zoo. Need your TV fix? Try Hulu Plus and Netflix on Demand. 
  7. Skip the coffee shop and make your own coffee slushes ($1 for four servings, versus $12 in stores). Pour leftover coffee into ice-cube trays and freeze, then toss the frozen cubes and flavored liquid creamer into a blender. Voila!
  8. Forego ice cream and try freezing bananas, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries for a sweet, cheap summer snack. Toss any uneaten frozen fruit into a blender, pour into ice-pop molds and refreeze for later.
  9. Leave the restaurants to the roadside when you're on vacation. Make sure you've booked hotel rooms equipped with microwaves (see hotels.com). Before you check in, go to a supermarket and buy microwave dinners and snacks like popcorn and pizza bagels. Pack your Brita pitcher and you'll have clean, filtered water straight from your hotel room tap. 
  10. Freshen your filters.If you’ve got an HVAC system in your home, the simplest money-saving move you can make is to change your air filters. It will reduce allergens and air pollutants in your home and improve the efficiency of your air flow. Pro Tip: replace them each month when you get your electric bill. 
  11. Tap it. Water, that is! Ditch the bottle and drink filtered water from your tap or fridge dispenser for $ .002 a gallon.
  12. Save money. Literally. There are about 94 days of summer. Aim to save just $7 every day of summer, and you’ll have more than $650 accumulated by Labor Day. Whether you use it to pay down a credit card, loan, or to fund the upcoming holiday season, it may be the most important money move you make all summer.

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