The arrival of sweet summertime after a long Canadian winter can feel like total bliss. The easygoing relaxed summer vibe drives many of us out of our homes taking outdoor adventures and enjoying each moment of the longer days, however, as temperatures rise, so do Canadians' spending habits. A report from BMO reveals that 52% of Canadians say that their summer habits have negative long-term effects on their savings.
It’s easy to get swept up while basking in the sunshine, but between paying for extra summer activities, daycare, vacations, higher electricity bills (and don’t forget about patio season), things can start to add up more than usual. We may have the best of intentions to keep our summer spending on track, but if you are struggling to keep your budget in line with your plans, discover our summer money saving tips below.
1. Walk and bike
Most Canadians are in the habit of using vehicles to get just about everywhere. In the winter months, that is typically the only option we have. But when summer rolls around, walking or hopping on our bike instead of the car is a great way to save a little cash. While you may not be able to carry as much, it will make you much more mindful of your purchases. Not only does your wallet benefit, but your mental and physical health do too.
2. Shop garage or yard sales (or have your own!)
The pandemic may have scared people away from the summertime staple of selling our gently used items on our front lawn, but as vaccines roll out and public health guidelines ease, rest assured that garage sales are making a comeback. Not only does it give you something exciting to do on weekend mornings, but there’s the added thrill of the hunt and satisfaction when you find that one, fabulous item you won’t find anywhere else.
3. Watch the AC usage
If you are one of the fortunate folks with the option of cranking up the AC on a hot summer day, you know that this can be one of the most costly items on your electric bill. Instead of relying on the AC to cool you down, try using it more sparingly. If you leave for the weekend, turn the temperature up or AC off completely. Use fans instead of AC, make sure the curtains and blinds are closed during peak sun hours, and open the windows on a cooler night. Be sure to replace your air filters regularly as well. Dirty filters are far less efficient and increase cooling costs.
4. Plant a garden
Who doesn’t love fresh garden vegetables? Start growing your own herbs and vegetables or purchase seasonal fruits and vegetables at the local farmers’ markets, which cost far less than out-of-season produce. Plants, seeds, tools, and other outdoor project materials can be purchased at your local dollar store. You can even trade your garden goodies with neighbors, family and friends for more variety!
5. Dry laundry outside
If you have the space to do so, try hanging up your laundry outside to dry. Let the warm sun and breeze do the hard work instead of your dryer. Your clothes will smell fresh and your electricity bill will thank you.
6. Don’t eat out, eat outside
It may not be something we often think about, but if anyone has camped in a trailer before, you know that using the stovetop or baking in the oven can create a lot of excess heat. Consider taking meal prep to the barbecue or picnic outside so that you can keep your cool inside and give your AC a break. Also, by eating in instead of hitting that popular patio, you could supply a week’s worth of meals for the cost of one family outing or date night at an upscale restaurant.
7. Get rid of your memberships
Gyms, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Crave, Disney+, cable TV, sports, it all adds up. Instead of ending the evening on the couch, go outside for a walk or bike, read the books you’ve been meaning to, listen to a free podcast, sit outside and watch the birds, the options are endless! Save these expenses now and consider bringing these TV options back in the cooler, winter months.
8. Keep the events low-key
Instead of meeting your friends for drinks at a nearby patio or splurging on an outing with the whole family, why not host a potluck or beer/wine tasting in your own backyard? For less than $20, you can each bring a different beverage and appy to try out. More variety and less money? Who wouldn’t want that! Or, skip the backyard and opt for a picnic at the park.
8. Visit a thrift shop or host a clothing swap
New season, new clothes. Before you splurge on the latest tie dye bucket hat or matching sweatsuit, think about what’s already in your closet just waiting to be worn again. If you need to scratch the shopping itch, try looking at a local thrift store first. On average, you can save 50% on your clothes shopping costs by going to thrift stores. It’s not just clothes either – home furnishings, books, games, toys, and all sorts of hidden gems await. When you buy second hand, you're also helping the environment by reducing the carbon footprint that goes into the production of new items. You can also host a clothing swap with friends. This is a great way to get nice pieces that someone else is tired of, while hanging out with friends. Anything unclaimed can simply be donated.
9. Take the time to enjoy nature
Canadian summers are amazing and are the best time to enjoy the great outdoors. Connecting with nature is free. Check out a local park, go for a hike, cruise down a bike path, or consider backcountry camping for a getaway. By skipping a theme park, a movie theatre, or hotel staycation, and choosing a nature park instead, you can save some serious cash.
10. Meet with a financial advisor
Summer may feel like the time to splurge and live your best life, but your finances will catch up to you. A financial advisor can bring you closer to the chill summer vibe you are seeking all year long. By creating personalized savings strategies for all your short and long-term goals, selecting the right investment strategies for you, setting up insurance and estate planning for you and your loved ones, a financial advisor can help you not just with your summer budget, but keeping things on track all year long.
While the summer months can be pricey, they also offer money-saving opportunities we don’t have the rest of the year in most Canadian cities. Take advantage of these tips to save money this summer and keep your budget on track. If you need help or want to run your savings strategy by a professional, match with a financial advisor for free on Vexxit.