16 Summer Savings Tips

Updated on: by Amy Kennedy
A couple enjoying summer with their dog

As the temperature rises, so too can your spending.

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Between vacation plans, barbeques, and keeping your home cool, summer often brings a surge in expenses.

But fear not, you can enjoy all the season has to offer without breaking the bank.

We’ve compiled 15 practical summer savings tips to help you keep your finances cool even as the weather heats up.

1. Plan Your Vacation Smartly

Book in Advance

Planning your summer vacation well in advance can help you save significantly. This applies to both flights and accommodation.

Sites like Skyscanner and Expedia often have early-bird deals that can be significantly cheaper than last-minute bookings. Additionally, booking ahead ensures you get the best choice of dates and accommodation.

Opt for Off-Peak Travel

Consider traveling during off-peak times. Prices for flights, hotels, and even activities can be significantly lower during non-peak periods. For instance, traveling in late spring or early fall can be cheaper than in the middle of summer.

Choose Less Popular Destinations

Tourist hotspots are typically more expensive. Consider visiting lesser-known destinations instead. Not only could this save you money, but you might also enjoy a less crowded, more unique experience.

Websites like Offbeat Travel can offer inspiration for such trips.

2. Optimize Home Energy Use

Upgrade Your Thermostat

A smart thermostat, like Nest or Ecobee, can help you save on cooling costs by learning your schedule and preferences, then adjusting the temperature accordingly.

Use Energy-Efficient Appliances

If you’re in the market for new appliances, consider energy-efficient models. These use less electricity and can help save money in the long run.

Look for products with the Energy Star label, which is government-certified to be energy efficient.

Maintain Your Air Conditioner

Regular maintenance of your air conditioner can ensure it runs efficiently. This includes cleaning or replacing filters regularly and having periodic check-ups by a professional.

3. Be Smart About Water Use

Install a Rain Barrel

A rain barrel can collect runoff from your roof that you can use to water your lawn or garden, saving you money on your water bill. Check out The Rain Barrel Depot for options.

Use a Pool Cover

If you have a pool, using a cover can reduce water evaporation, meaning you’ll need to fill it less often. A cover can also help keep the pool clean and reduce the need for chemicals.

Water Plants in the Early Morning or Late Evening

Watering plants when it’s cooler means less water will evaporate, so more goes to your plants. This can save you water and make your watering more effective.

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4. Cook Smartly

Grill Outdoors

Cooking indoors can heat up your home and make your air conditioner work harder. Consider grilling outdoors in the summer to reduce your cooling costs.

Use a Slow Cooker

Slow cookers use less energy than an oven and don’t heat up your house as much. Consider making some summer slow cooker recipes like the ones on Allrecipes.

Make No-Cook Meals

Consider meals that don’t require any cooking, like salads or sandwiches. These can save you on energy costs and keep your house cooler.

5. Be Frugal with Entertainment

Take Advantage of Free Events

Many cities offer free events during the summer, like concerts in the park or free museum days. Check your local city or town website for a schedule.

Visit Your Local Library

Your local library can be a great source of free entertainment. Besides books, many offer movies, music, and even free passes to local attractions.

Start a Garden

Gardening can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to spend your time. You’ll get the double benefit of a fun hobby and fresh produce to eat.

6. Utilize Nature

Enjoy Free Outdoor Activities

There are countless outdoor activities that require little to no money at all. Activities like hiking, biking, and picnicking take advantage of the great summer weather and the beauty of nature without costing you a dime.

Make Use of Public Parks

Public parks often provide amenities like swimming pools, tennis courts, and playgrounds for free or a minimal fee. They’re a great place to spend a day out with family or friends without spending much.

Go Camping Instead of Hotels

Instead of spending money on hotels, consider a camping trip. Campsites typically cost much less than hotels, and it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors.

Websites like ReserveAmerica can help you find and reserve a campsite.

7. Save on Summer Clothing

Buy Out of Season

One of the best ways to save money on summer clothes is to buy at the end of the season and save it for next year. Most retailers will have end-of-season sales with significant discounts.

Opt for Second-Hand

Consider shopping at second-hand stores or online platforms like thredUP or Poshmark. You can often find high-quality, gently used summer clothes for a fraction of the original price.

Swap with Friends

Organize a clothing swap with friends. This is a great way to refresh your wardrobe for free and get rid of items you no longer wear.

8. Save on Groceries

Visit Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ markets often have fresh, local produce at lower prices than supermarkets. Plus, buying from farmers’ markets supports local businesses.

Grow Your Own

Consider growing your own fruits and vegetables. Seeds are inexpensive, and you’ll save money in the long run by having fresh produce right in your backyard.

Plan Your Meals

Planning your meals can help reduce waste and unnecessary spending. By knowing exactly what you need from the store, you can avoid impulse purchases and save money.

9. Do-It-Yourself

DIY Summer Fun

Instead of spending money on costly summer activities, think of ways you can have fun at home. Set up a homemade slip and slide, have a backyard campout, or make homemade popsicles. Websites like DIY Network offer tons of ideas.

DIY Home Maintenance

Save money by doing simple home maintenance tasks yourself. This could include tasks like cleaning your air conditioner filter, sealing gaps in your windows and doors, or painting your own deck.

DIY Beauty Treatments

Skip the costly salon visits and do your own beauty treatments at home. From homemade face masks to DIY pedicures, you can save a lot by treating yourself at home.

10. Car Maintenance and Efficiency

Regularly Service Your Vehicle

Summer can take a toll on your vehicle with higher temperatures affecting various components. Regular servicing, like checking tire pressure, oil and coolant levels, can enhance your vehicle’s efficiency, saving you money in the long run.

Here’s a useful guide from Consumer Reports.

Carpool for Summer Activities

If you’re planning to attend events or activities with friends or family, consider carpooling. This can save everyone involved money on fuel and reduce environmental impact.

Limit Use of Air Conditioning

Using the air conditioner in your car can increase fuel consumption. When possible, limit the use of the A/C, especially for short trips.

If it’s not too hot outside, rolling down the windows can be a good alternative.

11. Minimize Dining Out

Plan Picnics

Instead of dining out, consider planning picnics. They’re a great way to enjoy the summer weather, and packing your own food can save you a significant amount compared to eating at a restaurant.

Use Coupons for Dining

If you do plan to dine out, check if there are any available coupons or discounts. Websites like Groupon or RetailMeNot can offer substantial savings.

Cook in Bulk and Freeze

Cooking meals in bulk and freezing them can be a great way to save both time and money during summer. You can prepare meals for several days, saving on cooking energy and reducing waste.

12. Budget Your Summer

Set a Summer Budget

Having a budget can be especially helpful in managing your summer expenses. This includes entertainment, travel, dining, and any other special summer activities.

Track Your Spending

Regularly tracking your spending can help ensure you’re staying within your budget and can help you identify areas where you can cut back.

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Save for Summer Early

Start saving money for summer expenses early in the year. This can help you spread the cost over a longer period and avoid financial stress when summer arrives.

13. Plan for Back to School

Shop Sales Tax Holidays

Some states offer tax-free shopping days for back-to-school shopping. If your state offers this, it can be a great way to save on school supplies and clothing.

Start Shopping Early

Avoid the last-minute rush and start your back-to-school shopping early. This allows you to spread out the expenses and take advantage of sales as they arise.

Reuse and Recycle

Before you start shopping for school supplies, check what you have left from the previous year. Many items, like backpacks and binders, can be reused, which can save you money.

14. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Sell or Donate Unused Items

Summer can be a great time to declutter your home and sell or donate items you no longer use. This can not only clear out space but also bring in some extra cash if you sell items.

Repurpose Items

Instead of buying new, think of ways you can repurpose what you already have. For example, old t-shirts can be turned into rags, and cardboard boxes can be used for storage.

Shop Thrift Stores

Consider shopping at thrift stores for any items you need. You can often find great deals, and it’s a more sustainable option than buying new.

15. Save on Gym Membership

Workout at Home or Outdoors

With the beautiful summer weather, consider working out at home or outdoors instead of spending on a gym membership. There are plenty of free workout routines available online, and outdoor activities like jogging or biking can be great for fitness.

Take Advantage of Free Fitness Events

Many cities offer free fitness classes in parks during the summer. This can be a fun and frugal way to stay fit.

Do a Fitness Swap with Friends

If you and your friends have different fitness equipment or workout DVDs, consider swapping for the summer. This can provide you with new workout options without having to spend any money.

16. Utilize Energy-Efficient Appliances

Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances

While this might require an upfront investment, energy-efficient appliances can save you money in the long run by reducing your energy usage. The Energy Star label indicates appliances that meet or exceed efficiency guidelines.

Unplug Electronics

Many electronics use energy even when they’re turned off. Unplugging these “energy vampires” or using a smart power strip can help reduce your electricity bill.

Take Advantage of Off-Peak Hours

Many utility companies offer cheaper rates during off-peak hours. Doing energy-intensive tasks, like running the dishwasher or doing laundry, during these times can save you money.


Summer doesn’t have to mean extravagant expenses.

With a bit of strategic planning and a dash of creativity, you can make the most out of the season while keeping your budget intact.

Use these 15 summer savings tips to manage your money effectively, and enjoy a stress-free and financially healthy summer.

Remember, the goal is to create memorable experiences, not debts.

Stay cool and save on!

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