The signs of summer are beginning to appear: Air conditioners are humming, pools are opening, and gardens are just starting to show some activity. Nature is unfolding and temperatures are rising - along with the temptation to spend money.
Here are 3 ways to keep summer spending under control:
1. Ride your bike instead of driving your car.
Fuel prices typically rise during the summer with peak prices hitting the pumps in May. Companies producing summer-blend gasoline generally push up prices. Winter-blend gas evaporates more quickly, which equips cars to start easier and more quickly during cold months. The summer-blend fuels produce less smog and emissions. The transition drives prices higher.
Motorists spend on average nearly $9,000 a year to maintain their vehicles, which includes paying for gas. Using your bicycle a couple days of the week translates into big savings and better health. You can also use your bicycle to run short errands.
2. Improve your air conditioner's efficiency.
Cooling our homes in the summer can get expensive. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling our homes consumes nearly half of the energy we use. You can trim your monthly expenses by improving your air conditioner's efficiency. Here are some simple tips:
- Plant trees or shrubs to shade your A/C: Shade will help keep your unit cooler and could increase your system's efficiency by 10%.
- Install solar window screens: By decreasing the heat coming into your home, your A/C doesn't have to work as hard. Solar screens can block nearly 70% of the solar energy from entering your house.
- Raise your A/C temperature at night: Simply making your house slightly warmer at night can save you up to 15% on your air conditioning bills each month.
3. Take more efficient showers.
Showers or baths are good, if temporary, ways to get cool during the height of summer. Low-flow showerheads cut water use by more than half. Older showerheads can use nearly 5.5 gallons of water per minute while the low-flow ones use about 2.5 gallons. That means you can cut your monthly water bill by more than half. People who take showers typically use about 35 gallons of water per shower. Using low-flow showerheads and switching to 5-minute showers can save you more than 25 gallons of water per shower.
A few simple lifestyle changes can save you money during the summer. If you'd like to learn more about ways to manage your finances, we'd be happy to talk.