Now that Memorial Day has passed, it’s the unofficial start of summer. You might be dreaming of your next vacation or road trip or getting pumped for happy hours al fresco. All the extra fun and warmth of summer can lead to an increase in costs. Before breaking the bank, here’s how you can save money in the summertime.

1. Limit your AC use

You might want your home to feel like a freezer to deal with the increase in temps in the summer. But all that extra use could add to your utility costs. Limit your AC costs by:

  • Only using AC when you’re home.
  • Having a set window of hours you’ll have the AC on.
  • Keep your thermostat high.
  • Keep your windows open at night to let cool air in.

Keeping your AC use to a minimum can help lower your utility bills. Additionally, you can use fans, which may not use as much energy. Using these tips can help you save money in the summertime and make sure your energy bills don’t skyrocket.

2. Make your own iced coffee

I love an iced coffee in the summer as much as the next person. The intense flavor of java mixed with the coldness of ice. It’s such a summer treat.

But getting one every day can add up quickly. To prepare for the week, you can make a big batch of coffee and put it in the fridge. That way you can make your own iced coffee. I’ve started doing this on Sundays. I make two french presses like normal and then put it in a large carafe in the fridge. Then I have my iced coffee for the week.

You can save the iced coffee outings for meetings or with friends, but day-to-day save your money by having your own iced coffee on hand.

3. Take advantage of summer sales

The summer can bring a lot of sales, from Memorial Day to July Fourth to Labor Day. If you’re strategic, you can use this time to get what you need at a discount and save money in the summer. The crucial part here is what you need.

If you buy something you weren’t going to buy because of a sale, then you just spent more money. But if you were going to buy it anyway, then waiting for a summer discount can put money back in your pocket.

Another hack is to get any winter clothes or any other items that are off-season during the summer. Items cost the most in the season they’re needed, so if you can plan ahead for winter and score some savings now, you could be better off.

4. Know when to buy new vs. used

When the summer comes, you might realize you’re unprepared. You don’t have any shorts on hand. Your bathing suits don’t fit. And you need a new barbecue for the backyard. One way to save money is to know when you should buy used versus when you should buy new.

Obviously, buy a bathing suit new. Buy flip flops for the summer new. But you can consider buying items like barbecues, sunglasses, and shorts at your local thrift shop.

Why spend full price when that item likely exists somewhere else in good condition at a fraction of the cost? You can check out your local Goodwill or Salvation Army or online via Craigslist or Offer Up.

When creating a shopping list of things you need, think carefully and write “new” or “used” next to it. That can help you shop smarter and save you some money.

5. Get the most out of free entertainment

There may be additional summer costs with road trips and vacays. But in the meantime, you can save money and still have fun by getting the most out of free entertainment.

In the summer, many cities have free concerts, festivals, parades and other activities. Check out your local newspaper, an online events calendar, EventBrite, and Next Door to hear about events in the area.

You can also check to see if there are free museum days or workshops at the local community center. Enjoying free activities can ensure you’re having fun in the summer but also not spending a fortune.

6. Save money on gas and parking

Summertime might mean more driving with road trips, adventures, and more. You might be going to amusement parks and the beach and need to spend a ton on parking.

Before you go somewhere, check the best gas prices on GasBuddy.com. For parking, research if there are any free parking options in the area. Sometimes a little research can go a long way. There may be a residential neighborhood or a free lot just a block or two away.

7.  Walk or bike

Since the weather is nice in summer, you could save money by skipping the car altogether. Get your walking shoes on or get your helmet and go for a bike ride if you need to go somewhere. That way you’re saving on fuel and parking while enjoying the sun and getting a workout.

The sun is out for a few brief months so why not make the most of it? You can walk or bike to where you need to go.

8. Know the best happy hours

Going out for drinks in the summertime is fun. There are great patios, fun drinks, and even better appetizers. All of that can add up quickly. Check out the best happy hour deals in your area using Yelp and Google.

Some places have buy one get one free deals or extremely low costs for drinks. Even here in LA, I know a happy hour where I can get a $5 cocktail (unheard of in the land of $16 cocktails!). Having a list of places with the best deals can help you when you do want to go out but don’t want to spend half of your restaurant budget in one sitting.

Final word

You want to get the most out of summer and enjoy it. But you also don’t want to go overboard and incur credit card debt. Using these eight tips, you can save money in the summertime and still have fun.

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