This is proving to be a summer like no other! While some families may find they have more disposable income than usual without paying for commuting, lunches and coffee, along with hair appointments and new work clothes, others are finding that they have less money than usual with jobs being furloughed and layoffs happening at an ever-increasing rate. Either way, with fewer options than usual for going out, it’s a great time to save some money this summer. These are some of the things we’re doing to have a frugal summer this year, or have done in the past. You can find even more ways to save money this summer here.
Frugal Summer Ideas
There’s no better time to organise your collections into something you can admire instead of a jumble in a shoe box. Coins, bank notes, postage stamps, postcards, movie stubs, ball caps, hockey cards, spoons, etc. My family thinks I’m a little crazy finally getting around to doing this, but those coin ‘doubles’ that are no longer needed can now be put aside for a future rainy day (or take a walk on a sunny day and buy ice cream)!
Learn a new skill that you’ve been interested in. Forging, foraging, crochet, woodwork, letter writing, write a recipe book for the kids, the list is endless, and there’s surely something around you have the supplies for but haven’t started yet.
Spend time outdoors and soak up the feel-good factor the sunshine provides. We combined a gift and cash-back points on a credit card that was closing down and purchased a simple but lovely table and chair set for the back garden so we can have our meals outside together and pretend we’re dining somewhere fine. And with working and educating from home, it also provides an extra space in a refreshing environment instead of being cooped up inside.
Pack a lunch and have a picnic in your backyard, a nearby park, or further afield, if you’re able. Take your own blanket so you don’t have to use a public picnic table, and be sure to take all of your rubbish home with you or place it securely in a garbage can.
Also in the outdoor arena, hang your laundry out to dry on the days when the pollen count isn’t too high (for hay fever sufferers).
If you have lawns or flowerbeds, water early in the morning or late in the afternoon/early evening rather than at the height of the heat.
Discover your green thumb. I don’t have a green thumb, but I keep trying something new each year. Grow your own veggies or fruit, or plant some seeds to give your yard or neighbourhood some colour and cheer. Sometimes people in our community have extra seeds or seedlings that they offer to others on local Facebook groups. Others will request items in case someone has something hanging around they no longer need.
When your flowers bloom, make a posy wrap and pick some flowers to take to a neighbor to brighten up their day.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Summer is the best time to upcycle furniture and other items. You can take them outdoors and not have to worry about the dust and fumes that can hamper indoor work.
Clean out your closets and thin out the toys and clothes. Give them to your favourite charity. And now you won’t have as much to keep clean, either! Currently most charities here aren’t accepting items, but once again, Facebook groups are available for people to sell or give away items in good condition. From clothes to bikes to sandboxes, there’s not much that isn’t available from time to time to help you have a frugal summer.
Don’t Give Money Away
Try out those No Spend Mondays that you’ve seen others talk about in the past. They don’t seem to be as common as they were, but don’t spend in the shops or online for a particular day of the week or even a set week. The time in waiting will give you time to ponder whether your really do need that purchase or not.
Check for discount coupons online, in the newspapers, in the mailbox, etc. They may not be as easy to find as they were a year ago, but there are still some bargains and sales to be had. Don’t pay full price unless you have to – that’s just giving money away.
Frugal Summer Finances
Stop burying your head in the sand and clean up your finances and plan a budget for the rest of the year and start saving for a getaway once it’s safe to do so. Saving ahead is a lot less stressful than paying for it on credit after the fact.
Have a pot-luck barbecue. Don’t heat up the house, invite your friends or neighbours, and enjoy the company and some great food together. Perhaps have a contest to see who can make the best chili or pie. But be sure to be mindful of your local regulations and keep social distancing in mind when setting up the lawn chairs so that everyone is comfortable and safe.
Set up your own summer sports camp using some of the ideas we’ve shared during our Olympics posts. After all, athletes train all year every year, not just one summer every four!