21 Ways To Save Money In Summer [And Still Have Fun!]

By Zach Buchenau

Last Updated: July 2, 2021

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For many people, myself included, saving money in summer is much easier said than done.

It’s the time of the year that we are planning vacations, trips to the beach, and outdoor activities with family and friends. And if you aren’t careful, all those summer activities can get pretty expensive!

Fortunately, there are lots of opportunities to enjoy this time without spending a lot of money.

In fact, we’ve created a list of 21 summer savings tips to make sure your summer break doesn’t break the bank.

Let’s dive in!

How to save money this summer and still have fun | Be The Budget

1. Create A Summer Budget

The most important thing you can do as you head into summer is to create a summer budget.

Think about the things you plan to do during the warmer months of the year, including vacations, concerts, and visits to museums and amusement parks. From there, if you already have a budget [and I really hope you do!], just make sure to factor in enough money to cover additional summer expenses.

Your budget will help ensure that you aren’t overspending and give you the freedom to enjoy fun activities without worrying about the cost.

Want to get better at budgeting? Check out some of our other helpful content:

2. Adjust Your Air Conditioning

During the hottest time of the year, you can expect to see an increase in your electric bill from running your air conditioner all day long.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to keep your home cool and keep your bill low.

To reduce your bill, be mindful of the settings on your thermostat.

Depending on where you live, we recommend setting your thermostat to between 72 and 78 degrees during summer. This is low enough to keep your home at a reasonable temperature without running up your electricity bill.

Also, you can also turn your air conditioner off when you are going to be gone during the day.

However, keep in mind that it takes a lot of power to return your home to the optimal temperature.

So, if you are only going out for a few hours, it’s best to leave the settings alone.

A smart thermostat can help automatically adjust the temperature during the day to use the least amount of energy.

3. Cook Outside

Cooking indoors generates a lot of heat and it can make your home uncomfortably warm.

So, take advantage of the nice weather and cook outside whenever possible!

Not only is this a fun activity, but you can keep your home at a pleasant temperature, thus, saving you a ton on air conditioning costs.

4. Save On Laundry

Air conditioning isn’t the only large appliance that you use in your home. Your washing machine and dryer also use a lot of energy.

There are a couple of things that you can do to reduce your energy draw when you are washing your clothes.

First, turn your washing machine to a cold-water setting. Your clothes will still get clean and your water tank doesn’t have to heat the water.

You can also give your dryer a break by letting your clothes air-dry on a clothesline in your backyard.

5. Replace Your Air Conditioning Filter

Before you start using your air conditioner this summer, take a few minutes to change out the filter.

Running the unit with a dirty filter not only reduces the efficiency of your air conditioning unit, but it can create costly mechanical problems.

When your air conditioner filter is dirty, less air can flow through the unit, forcing your air conditioner to work unnecessarily hard. Ultimately, this can reduce the life of your air conditioner and cause your unit to fail when you need it most.

And let’s be honest, repairs to an air conditioning system can be very expensive during peak season—which can really hurt your summer savings.

6. Plant Your Own Garden

Gardening is a great summer activity. It’s the perfect way to get some fresh air and save money on your grocery bill.

Clear a place in your backyard to grow amazing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and legumes.

If you have a large amount of space, you could share it with your neighbors by creating a community garden. This will allow you to share the workload and have a wider variety of produce.

If you live in the city, you can still create a small herb garden.

7. Wash Your Own Car

We all want our cars to look good in the summer. Unfortunately, the cost to keep them looking good can add up quickly.

In my experience, the average carwash costs $10 to $15, with a full detail ranging as high as $50 to $125.

So, you can easily spend hundreds of dollars over the summer especially if you have more than one vehicle.

The best solution is to wash and detail your own vehicles. 

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even make a little extra money by offering to wash and detail cars for your friends, family, and neighbors.

8. Seal Your Windows And Doors

If your home is older or a bit drafty, you might consider using caulk to seal around your windows and doors.

This will help improve the temperature of your home and reduce your electric bill.

This upgrade not only helps in the summer but will help keep your home warm in the winter.

9. Pack A Lunch And Eat Outside

Eating out frequently is expensive. Summertime is the perfect opportunity to pack a lunch. Not only is this better for your waistline, but it’s also better for your wallet.

Most workplaces have a place outdoors to eat. If your workplace doesn’t, find a nearby park to enjoy the weather.

If you find your coworkers are constantly encouraging you to eat out with them, challenge them to join you a few days a week by packing lunch as well.

10. Plan A Camping Trip

Summer is the best time of the year to take a vacation with your family.

And no matter where you go, you can save a lot of money by camping rather than staying in a hotel.

And the best part is, if you’re not an camper, you can still go camping without your own gear.

Outdoor gear companies will rent you the equipment you need to go camping. For example, REI allows members to rent a 4-person tent for $76 for a full week.

11. Cancel Your Gym Membership

With so many activities outdoors during the summer, you can save a lot of money by canceling your gym membership.

Activities like hiking, cycling, swimming, and jogging are the perfect free alternatives to staying in shape.

And with many gym memberships costing over $100 per month, this can result in significant summer savings.

12. Ride A Bike Or Walk Instead of Driving

If you live in a pedestrian-friendly area, you can save money by switching up your transportation.

For instance, biking and walking are healthy, low-cost alternatives.

If biking or walking isn’t feasible, you can still reduce the costs of your commute by using public transportation. Or, if driving is necessary for your lifestyle, think about options like carpooling with a coworker.

13. Plan A Staycation

Going on vacation is likely the most expensive item in your summer budget.

But getting out of town doesn’t have to be your only option. A staycation is a budget-friendly alternative and a great way to save money in the Summer.

Take a week off work and spend some time relaxing at home or being a tourist in your city. Make a list of the attractions and museums that you have never visited near your home, and go for it.

Seriously, you’d be amazed how relaxing and enjoyable a staycation can be! Plus, you get to sleep in your own bed and don’t have to deal with the stress and headache of traveling.

14. Enjoy Free Activities In Your Community

Summer is the peak time of the year to find amazing free activities in your community.

Check out your city’s website or message boards to see what events, concerts, and activities are available. Most cities have a wide range of activities for adults, couples, and families.

And the best part is, it’s easy to plan for these events.

Most community calendars are published months in advance, so look ahead and plan out your summer.

15. Purchase A Reusable Water Bottle

Keeping hydrated when the weather gets hot is important. But staying hydrated can easily get expensive if you have to buy hundreds of plastic water bottles.

Not only is it expensive, but it’s terrible for the environment.

So, if you want to save some money in summer, or any other time of year for that matter, purchase a stainless steel water bottle that you can take with you wherever you go.

It will keep your water cold and your bank account nice and full!

21 simple ways to save money in summer | Be The Budget

16. Do Your Own Lawncare And Pool Cleaning

Instead of hiring a professional to do work around your house, you might consider taking on some of the chores yourself.

There can be dozens of opportunities to reduce your homecare costs including mowing your lawn or cleaning your pool. If you have kids, you can even include these things in their list of chores.

17. Cut Back On Cable

With warmer temperatures and more daylight, you will likely be spending more time outdoors.

So, make a point to spend fewer hours indoors watching television.

In fact, you should consider cutting your cable altogether!

This can easily help you save hundreds of dollars over the course of the summer, and it will probably be a nice improvement to your lifestyle!

18. Borrow Or Rent Tools For DIY Projects

When working on home improvement projects around your house this summer, you will likely need to purchase additional tools and supplies.

However, purchasing new tools and equipment can quickly increase the cost of a project.

So, if you only need the tool for this one job, you might be better off renting it.

Most home improvement stores have a wide range of tools and equipment that can be rented by the hour or day.

For example, a gas-powered pressure washer from Home Depot will cost you around $80 to $100 for the day. A similar, brand new pressure washer will cost $300 to $500.

Take the time to evaluate if renting the equipment is more cost-effective than purchasing new. While it might be tempting to own something outright, it can seriously hinder your ability to save money in Summer.

19. Buy Off-Season Clothes

Sometimes planning ahead is the best way to get the most savings. By simply timing your purchases for season items, you can get significant discounts.

One of the greatest opportunities is clothing.

As the seasons change, clothing goes on sale to make room for the next round of clothing.

So, at the end of each season, take a moment to check out the sales and stock up on clothing for the next year.

This extends to other seasonal items as well. Everything from pool toys to portable air conditioning units.

20. Look For Discounts On Theme Parks

Theme parks and waterparks are some of the top attractions during the summer months.

However, if you purche tickets at retail prices it can be expensive. In addition to the cost of tickets, the food and beverages inside the park will cost you an arm and a leg.

So, if you are looking to visit a theme park near you, start by reaching out to a friend and family members that work at the park.

In most cases, employees of the park can get guest admission passes for free or deeply discounted rates.

If you don’t know any park employees, you can post on your social media that you are looking for passes. A friend of a friend might also be able to get you in.

If you do need to purchase tickets, you might be eligible for discounts as many theme parks and waterparks offer discounts to students, seniors, and members of the military or other public service.

Also, check the park’s policy for outdoor food and drinks.

You be able to save money by packing your own lunch and snacks.

21. Close Your Blinds, Curtains, Or Shades

Sometimes there are very simple ways to keep your home cool during the summer.

One way is to keep your blinds, curtains, or shades closed.

This is especially critical during the hottest times of the day. You can even purchase special window films and blinds that are designed to keep the heat out.

According to the Department of Energy, reflective blinds can reduce heat absorption by up to 45 percent.

How To Save Money In Summer: Final Thoughts

By making simple changes this summer, you don’t have to worry about choosing between enjoying the beautiful weather and dipping into your savings.

We hope this list of ideas will help get the creative juices flowing.

So, what do you do to save money in summer? Be sure to drop your answer in the comments!

Zach Buchenau

About The Author:

Zach Buchenau is a self-proclaimed personal finance nerd. When he isn't writing about budgeting, getting out of debt, making extra money, and living a frugal life, you can find him building furniture, fly fishing, or developing websites. He is the co-founder of BeTheBudget, and Chipotle's most loyal customer.

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