Even though it’s still cool here, I know summer is just around the corner. It’s time to relax and have some fun, but summer can also be an expensive time of year. There are vacations, activities for the kids, lawn care, and air conditioning bills. It’s time to get ready and start thinking about ways to lower some of those summer expenses. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Get your A/C tuned up: For around $100, you can have a professional come out and check your air conditioner. They will clean it, top off the coolant if it needs it and suggest any repairs that need to be made. This will not only extend the life of your unit, it will keep it operating at maximum efficiency so you don’t waste electricity. If you need a replacement, look into it now while you’re not in desperate need. Now you have time to compare and negotiate. You won’t have that luxury in the middle of July.
Book vacations now: Decide now where and when you want to vacation. You’ll have the best choice of accommodations and discounts. Once summer is in full swing, rates rise and rooms are harder to get. Flights and car rentals are also usually cheaper if you book farther out. If you don’t want to book, at least start comparing prices so you’ll know a good deal if it comes along.
Start buying things on sale as you find them: Sunscreen, swimwear, shorts, fans, pool rafts/floaties and other summer necessities can be found on sale now. Think about what you might need this year and start scouting for sales. Spring is also prime time for yard sales, so you may be able to score some kids clothes or toys at bargain prices. If you see a good sale, grab what you need. It beats paying full price when you have to have it “now.”
Plant your garden: If you’re planning to have a garden, it’s time to get your seeds and start your plants indoors (in some places it’s past time). A garden, even a small one, can be a great money saver.
Start pulling together ideas for activities for the kids: Now is the time to look into camps, museum or church programs, pool memberships, season passes to amusement parks, sports leagues and other activities. Many of these activities give discounts to those who sign up early. If you wait, you may pay more so go ahead and think about what the kids will be doing this summer and look for discounts.
Stock up on things to do: There will be rainy days when the kids whine, “I’m bored” and beg you to take them somewhere (probably expensive) to alleviate the boredom. As you see fun toys or activities on sale, put a few away to be pulled out in case of a boredom emergency.
Look for freebies: Now is the time when many libraries, movie theaters, and sports teams start advertising their free/discount days and activities. Some put coupons in your local papers (our minor league baseball team already put their BOGO coupons in the Ad-Pak). Start collecting these coupons and noting who offers what and on which days. You’ll have a place to go and things to do that cost very little.
Save on lawn care: Now is the time to look for new mowers, tillers, and other equipment. Many retailers are having pre-season sales. This is also the time to take your things in for repair. Once summer is in season, mower repair places get booked up and can command high prices. Right now, you may be able to score lower rates since they aren’t in high demand. If you plan to use a service, look into signing up now. Many have pre-season specials and the rates go up as summer nears.
Summer fun can be had for less, but now is the time to plan. Once summer is off and running, demand goes up as do prices. Discounts become scarce. Get your ideas together now and start collecting what you will need. You’ll not only save money, but you’ll also give yourself more time to relax and enjoy the summer.