I’m the type of person who would rather have a vacation over a diamond any day. My simple mission on earth is this:
Do and see as much as I can in the short time I’m here.
But this philosophy can’t happen without a plan. Summer, of course, is prime save on everyday items, splurge on experiences time for all of us, so in order to make sure my family and I get out and do memorable things, I have a strict save/splurge program in place and I'm going to show you how I do it so you can do it, too!
Here are 5 things you can save on this summer and the 5 things you can splurge on (with all the money you'll have saved!)
Ten years ago, my husband and I came to a realization. We are cooling our house and heating our pool. Nobody was swimming in the pool and our utility bills were through the roof. Talk about a waste. We presented the choice to our family; pool or air conditioning. The pool won hands down. We ripped out the air and have never looked back. Bills cut in half. And the fun factor when you get to jump in the pool with your clothes on? Priceless.
Look for ways you can save on heating and cooling bills. It may be as simple as turning your thermostat up a few notches in the summer or down a few in the winter. The savings will be noticeable if you're diligent about it.
Laundry is the bane of my existence. First, I hate doing it and secondly, why is there so much of it? I'm not alone here, right? There is no way on earth I’m spending a penny more than I need to on a chore I hate so much. My mother used Tide products when I was growing up and it’s a brand I’ve come to depend on. I use Tide Simply Clean & Fresh because it delivers the results I expect at a price I feel good about. Being frugal should not mean you have to compromise on quality.
The other way to save on laundry in the summer is good old line drying. Have you seen the price of electricity lately? Yikes. Your money is better spent elsewhere when Mother Nature can do such a good job.
Summer in Canada is prime time for fresh local produce, so there's no reason to not cook at home when there are so many fresh ingredients to get creative with. From strawberries in June to corn in August, make it a habit to shop local farmers’ markets for the best prices on summer’s bounty. Eating at home almost every day is not only healthier but it’s much easier on the pocket book than eating out.
Here’s the biggest secret to my splurge success. I save big on everyday items. There are certain things a household needs that are simply non-negotiable like dish soap and toilet paper. Being cost-conscious doesn’t mean you have to buy lower quality products. I’m a big fan of Ultra Dawn dish detergent (a powerhouse of a grease cutter) and Charmin Basic Toilet paper because they both give me the best value for my buck.
When you look for sale items and use coupons routinely, you will rarely have to pay full price for what you need. A great spot to get coupons is P&G Everyday Solutions for great savings on items you routinely buy. The best thing about these coupons is that they are not store specific and can be used anywhere P&G products are sold.
Now that you've saved money with my savings suggestions, here are some ways you can use those savings to splurge.
I love my friends and I love summer - I'm pretty sure you do too. There is no better way to celebrate than to entertain friends and family. But pool parties, barbecues and campfires can add up financially. It’s a splurge that’s worth it (to me) because spending time with friends and family is never a bad expense.
If you are into experiences that are a bit outside of the box, you'll love this one. Last summer my family went White Water Rafting for the first time on the Ottawa River. We’re officially hooked. This summer we’re heading out again and bringing friends with us. Best of both worlds.
Summer camp for children can be a major financial strain on a budget. It’s part of the reason I’m diligent on everyday savings. Even though it requires some belt tightening it’s worth every single penny for the independence and life long memories kids acquire every summer. Its value can’t be measured by dollars.
Have you seen the exchange rate lately? It's scary. While I’m all for splurging on experiences why even bother leaving Canada during the summer months when we live in one of the best and most beautiful countries on earth. This August, we’re planning on RVing in P.E.I. and bringing home a few memories with us. When coming up with your vacation plans, think of places closer to home.
Most of us simply can’t resist summer blockbusters. Going to the movies nowadays is a definite splurge but nothing beats seeing a movie on the big screen. Added bonus: on the rare day that living without air conditioning is too much to handle, the theatre brings welcome relief.
Do you have a similar philosophy? What do you save money on? What do you splurge on?