Tips for budgeting, saving money, and the art of being thrifty this summer
Along with summer comes longer and (much) warmer days, usually filled with destination holidays, back-to-back BBQs, and picnics in the park. However, with the cost of living steadily on the rise, we recognise that this summer might not be feeling as bright as most. Although the words ‘saving money’ and ‘summer’ don’t exactly roll off the tongue quite as easily as ‘gin’ and ‘tonic’, it certainly is a necessary concept worth exploring. Luckily, with just a bit of planning, saving, and budgeting, a fun and financially sustainable summer holiday can still be achievable.
One of the oldest and most efficient ways of saving money is by planning. It’s amazing how much money you can save simply by planning ahead, rather than spending money spontaneously. Before you can start budgeting for your summer, it’s helpful to have a plan of action in place. This plan can include prioritising the things you’re looking forward to most, be it a holiday, social events, festivals and entertainment, a membership at your local swimming pool, shopping, etc. Once you have a plan, not only can you create your budget and start saving accordingly, but you can also take your time to research better deals.
The idea of setting a summer budget is much worse than the actuality of doing it, promise. There are also tons of free online budget templates to use to make it even easier. Taking time out to set a budget is one of the most financially empowering things you can do because it allows you to be in full control of how and where your money goes. Once you have a plan, and you’ve budgeted for your non-negotiables like rent/mortgage and bills, you can start allocating the rest of your money to the variables in order of your list of priorities. This way, it’s easier to recognise where the potential for saving might be.
With the ultimate goal of saving in mind, you can really start to get creative with the ways in which you put your pennies aside. Start with the stock standard methods of buying fewer take-away coffees, taking packed lunches to work, cycling rather than driving, and swapping to slightly cheaper alternatives in the grocery store. Then consider the less obvious methods like selling your unwanted clothes on Vinted or cancelling some of your paid for telly, streaming and mobile phone subscriptions - there are always ways to pinch some pounds.
Here are 7 possible ways to save that you might not have thought of yet:
- Ditch, or pause, your gym contract while the weather is good and embrace the great outdoors! There are loads of outdoor gyms, streets, parks and tracks for you to use, and the best part is that they’re free!
- Run your appliances at night – outside of high usage hours – and save on electricity if you’re on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff. You can also forego the tumble dryer and hang your laundry outside.
- Plan a fun staycation somewhere closer to home rather than jetting off. There are tons of lovely camping sites and Airbnbs dotted around the country just waiting for you to enjoy. The best part of this plan is that your pets may be able to join you! (Which also saves on boarding fees).
- If you are jetting off, plan in advance so that you can nab cheaper tickets. Also, pick a destination where sterling is stronger than the local currency and try to find ‘breakfast included’ deals – or even better, a place with its own kitchen.
- If you’ve already booked a holiday and are looking for ways to make it more cost-friendly, consider; planning your meals in advance to avoid ‘tourist trap’ prices, explore attractions that don’t cost any money, (free museums and monuments) and embrace a leisurely ‘free Wi-Fi only’ life by skipping international phone plans.
- Work remotely? Save on A/C or other cooling appliance costs by finding a local ‘cool zone’ café to work from. What you spend on a coffee or a sandwich will outweigh what you’d spend on A/C.
- Cook outside as much as possible. Not only will you save by using gas or fire, you’ll also avoid heating up your kitchen/indoors and having to switch on the fan again.
The Art of Being Thrifty
For some, being thrifty is innate. For others, it’s an art worth learning if you’re serious about saving. Being thrifty means making the most of all available opportunities to save. This includes:
- Hunting for end of season sales (across all departments)
- Rather than online or high street shopping, explore charity shops and second-hand stores in your area for quality bargains
- Use money-saving grocery Apps to earn points and save on in-store deals
- Where possible, buy in bulk
- Check what company benefits you have and use what’s applicable
- Repurpose, fix, and/or upcycle before replacing with new
- If possible, start a side hustle for an alternative stream of income (think Rover, UpWork, or SpareRoom, etc.)
- DIY – discover what services you can manage to do yourself, or can teach yourself to do via YouTube, rather than pay someone else to do it. Or set up a skills-swap and barter your to-do lists!
- Go reusable – washable makeup-remover cloths can save you money on expensive wipes. The same goes for reusable cups, coffee filters and grocery bags. It’s good for your pocket and the planet!