Summer Money Saving Tips: 18 Ways To Save

I love the warm summer weather, but it can mean extra spending on traveling, entertainment, and energy costs. To help your budget, I have some great summer money saving tips. The summer has always been one of my favorite times of the year. The sun is out, there is more to do outside, and I…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: March 4, 2024

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summer money saving tipsI love the warm summer weather, but it can mean extra spending on traveling, entertainment, and energy costs. To help your budget, I have some great summer money saving tips.

The summer has always been one of my favorite times of the year. The sun is out, there is more to do outside, and I loved being home from school when I was a kid (of course).

As an adult, I realize that the summer months can be expensive.

With school being out for your children and the weather getting warmer, the summer might be one of the most expensive times of the year for you. Between paying for extra summer activities, daycare, vacations, higher electricity bills, and more, the summer means you may be spending more money than usual.

However, with the summer money saving tips I have for you today, you can actually save money this summer instead of spending more of it.

For us, the summer months are actually one of the most affordable seasons of the year. We are already fairly frugal people, but there are many things that happen in the summer that make it even more affordable for us, such as better weather for fun outdoor activities and free festivals to attend.

In today’s blog post, I am going to talk about different best ways to save money this summer so that you can actually have fun this season without going into debt and/or spending more money than you’re comfortable with.

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Here are my summer money saving tips.


Ride your bike when doing your errands.

We ride our bikes all the time, since we live on a boat and still have errands to do off the boat. We ride our bikes to the grocery store, to the post office, when going out to eat, and more. Yes, sometimes it is hot (the other day the heat index was over 105 degrees and we rode 27 miles on our folding bikes), but it’s a great workout and super eco-friendly.

If you have errands to run that are close by, riding your bike is a great option that can save you money while letting you get a great work out in. And even though it might be hot where you live, I always think that being out in the sun feels so good and motivates me throughout the rest of my day.

To make running errands easier, you can attach a basket to your bike or purchase a saddle bag. While you may not be able to carry much, you’ll be much more mindful of what you buy, while saving money on transportation.

Remember though, always bring a bike lock so that your bike is safe! And, of course, wear a helmet and use any other safety precautions that you deem necessary.


Go down to one car.

Not everyone can do this, but for people who work less during the summer, like teachers, going down to one car is one of the best summer savings tips. It saves you money, and it’s great for the environment.

My brother-in-law is a teacher, and he and his wife put their less fuel efficient car aside for the summer when it makes sense. Sometimes this mean carpooling or riding bikes to complete errands. But, it saves them a decent amount of money on gas.

If this is one of the summer financial tips that you’re interested in, plan your days out by who is driving where. You may have to put some errands off until another day, but if you take some time to make a car schedule, you can save money on summer fuel costs.


Combine your to-do list tasks.

I regularly combine errands, no matter what the season is. If I need one thing, I will wait until there are more things on my to do list.

This is good because it saves me valuable time, and I’m not wasting money on transportation.

However, I know that not everyone can do this, like the last point. I also know many people who will go out of their way to get one small item, even if they don’t need it immediately.

If you are looking for summer money saving tips, or even time saving tips, this may help. If something can wait, then you might as well save yourself some time and money by combining your errands and getting multiple things done at the same time.


Plant a garden. 

One of my dreams is to one day have a big garden that provides me with fresh fruits and vegetables during the summer. 

You do have to spend some money buying plants or seeds and weed/maintain your garden, but growing a garden is one of the summer money saving ideas that is healthy for you too. Just think, with all of the fresh produce in front of you, you have healthy things to eat right in your backyard!

Even if you just grow basic things like lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs, you are spending less on your food budget. Plus, if you don’t use pesticides or herbicides, you have organic fruits and vegetables for much less than you would buy them for at the grocery store.

If and when we ever settle down in a “normal” home, planting a garden will be one of the first things I do.


Spend more time outside. 

In many places, the summer can be a great time to enjoy the outdoors. 

But, even if you live in a place that gets very warm, you can wake up just a little bit earlier in the day to  enjoy the outdoors before it heats up too much.

Getting outside is always one of the best summer money saving tips, no matter where you live. There are plenty of outdoor activities that you can enjoy, like going for a hike, setting out for a camping trip, walking your dog, riding your bike, going for a swim, going on a run, having a BBQ, and more!

The options are endless. 


Get rid of your gym membership.

This is one of the easiest summer money saving tips because there are lots of free ways to get a work out in during the summer.

So, if you aren’t using your gym membership, then you may want to think about canceling it and saving your money.

You can get a work out in by going for a bike ride, hiking, swimming, and more. And, if it’s too hot to get outside, you can still work out in your home for free. Plus, that AC you are already paying for will keep you cool! For some people there are positives to paying for a gym membership, but the majority of people paying for gym memberships do not get their money’s worth.

So, I simply want you to evaluate whether or not you get your money’s worth with your gym membership. Depending on your gym, you could even cancel your membership during the summer, and re join when the weather is cold again. 


Learn how to travel on a budget.

Summer is a popular time for most families to travel because children are out of school. Before you think that you have to break the bank in order to go on a fun family vacation, here are some summer money saving tips for helping you travel on a budget:

Read more at How To Travel On A Budget And Still Have The Time Of Your Life.


Take a staycation.

One way to save money on your summer vacation is to take a staycation. A staycation is when you visit places around where you live that you normally wouldn’t.

Many people live in areas that draw people in for one reason or another, even if you don’t live in a really popular tourist destination. When I lived in St. Louis, people came from all around the country to visit the Arch, the Zoo, and City Museum. However, these are places I rarely went to because I lived in town.

To take a staycation, make a list of popular tourist destinations in your city, think about the places you’ve always wanted to visit, and look online for ideas. You can make a travel itinerary for a weekend, few days, or week. And, you save money on travel expenses, such as airfare and your stay.

This is a great way to explore where you live while saving money on your summer vacation.


Turn your air conditioner up a few degrees.

The summer means it’s hot outside for most of us. I know this.

But, you may be able to save a little on your utility bills by turning your AC up just a few degrees.

I couldn’t find information about what the average person sets their thermostat at, but I always see social media posts about what people set their AC to during the summer. Many of the commenters say that their AC is set below 72 degrees and sometimes even as low as 65 degrees!

To save money, I recommend setting your thermostat at 76 to 78 degrees when you are home. When you are going to sleep, or if no one is home, then you may even want to raise it a few degrees more.

Some people might find this to be one of the hardest summer money saving tips – people have strong feelings about what their thermostat can be set to. But, doing this can save you around 10% or more on your next electric bill.


Block out the sun.

Our boat heats up quickly, so on hot days we make sure to block out the sun by closing all of the curtains. We even had some sunshades built for our windows which really helps. This keeps a lot of the heat out and helps our boat stay at a better temperature.

This is one of the summer money saving tips you can use even if you live in a “normal” home 🙂

It may sound like a simple thing, but blocking out the sun can really help if you are trying to figure out how to save money in the summer. You may want to shut the shades, close the curtains, close your front door, and more. This can block out the sun during the hottest parts of the day to contain the cool air conditioning.

Related: If You Live In California, You Can Make Extra Money By Cutting Your Electricity Use


Purchase a programmable thermostat.

If you haven’t bought one yet, a programmable thermostat is something you may want to invest in. They are relatively affordable and you will most likely make your money back within a year, maybe even just a few months.

With a programmable thermostat, you can set exact temperatures for different times of the day. It automatically changes on a set schedule, meaning you won’t have to think about it.

For example, your AC can automatically turn up when you leave for work so that you don’t waste electricity or money cooling a house that no one is in. You can also program it for while you are sleeping, for the weekend, when you are on vacation, and so on.

I did a simple online search, and I was able to find plenty of programmable thermostats for less than $50, well worth the small investment for one of the easiest summer money saving tips.

Related: Energy Ogre Review – How To Save $800+ A Year On Your Electricity Bill


Remember, cooking food can make your house hot.

If it gets too hot where you live, you may want to be careful when it comes to how you cook your meals. Instead of using your oven for a lot of meals, you can try making something that won’t heat up your home.

Cooking meals in your slow cooker, your InstantPot, outside on the grill, and more can be great alternatives to using the oven. This can also help you save money in the summer because you won’t have to turn down the AC when the oven heats up your house.

We haven’t used the oven a whole lot, and if we do, we make sure that it’s not scorching hot outside. After all, we live in a boat, so using the oven quickly heats up our entire home.

Instead, we try to use our slow cooker when it’s hot outside. I love a good Instapot recipe because they are so easy to make.

Related: 10 Delicious Summer Lunch Ideas


Invite your friends or family over.

The summer is a great time to have your friends and family over for potluck dinners and nights grilling out. Rather than spending money on going out, this is one of the summer money saving tips that can save you on food and entertainment costs.

It gets darker later in the summer and it’s usually cooler in the evening, so having a night out on your patio or in your backyard can be a fun way to entertain guests. If you do it potluck style, you can save even more. It’s also a fun way to get people involved.


Stop paying for cable TV.

The average monthly cable bill is around $120 and it just continues to keep climbing.

Instead of paying for high cable bills, one of the easiest summer money saving tips is to cut your cable and heading outside for less expensive entertainment.

You can read more about cutting cable here and how to save money by doing this. I recommend getting a digital antenna so that you can receive local channels for free!

For anyone who has cut the cord and gotten rid of cable, streaming services are great options to help you save money while still watching your favorite shows and movies.

Here’s what these services are currently charging per month:

  • Netflix. $7.99 to $13.99
  • Hulu. $7.99 to $39.99
  • Sling TV.  $20 to $40
  • Amazon Prime Video.  $8.99 (requires an Amazon Prime subscription, which is $119 per year)
  • HBO Now.  $14.99
  • YouTube TV.  $40+

Related: 16 Alternatives To Cable TV That WILL Save You Money


Visit the library.

The library can be a great way to catch a break from the heat (they are always so cold!), while finding a good book to read or movie to watch.

Your local library can offer many frugal ideas for you and your family.

You can borrow books or movies, which you can then bring home and have a fun night in with friends and/or family members. At some libraries, you can even borrow hiking/camping gear, state parks passes, telescopes, and more. So, there are a ton of great benefits of visiting your local library.

If you have kids, most libraries offer summer reading programs that encourage kids to keep reading during the summer while rewarding them with movie passes, gift certificates to ice cream shops, and more. 


Start meal planning.

Meal planning is something that has completely changed our lives. We eat healthier than ever, we are saving money, and we have less food waste.

Did you know that the average person wastes over 40% of the food they buy? Yes, 40%!

If you have trouble eating at home, then try the $5 Meal Plan. It’s only $5 a month, and you get meal plans emailed directly to you along with the exact shopping list you need in order to create the meals. This allows you to save time because you won’t have to meal plan anymore, and it will save you money as well! If you are interested in joining for free, click here.

Learn more about weekly meal planning at The Power of Weekly Meal Planning.


Buy second hand items.

The summer means it’s garage sale and flea market season, so if you are looking for summer money saving tips while also shopping for things you need, you may want to first search around at garage sales, flea markets, and more.

This can also be a fun way to spend your morning while allowing you to save money in the summer on the things you need or want to buy. I have many friends who love going to garage sales and flea markets, and because things are so cheap, it may be worth it to you. 


Find free fun.

Finding free activities in your area is one of the best summer money saving tips because most cities and neighborhoods have lots of fun activities during the summer months. I recommend checking out your town’s calendar and website to see what free attractions and events are offered. In many towns, there may be free festivals, free concerts, and more. Even places like museums often have free days.

Also, if you live near a national park, you may want to find out when their free entry days are. They usually have a few each year, which can be a great way to save money while enjoying amazing views. The free entry days for 2019 are August 25, September 28, and November 11.

What other summer money saving tips do you have to share? Do the summer months tend to be expensive for you or not?

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. I’m trying to save more and luckily journey are longer and living near train station I use my foots to go from/to station, I’m limiting the use of my car and honestly I never had cable but I lived really well too!!! I’m thinking about pool summer subscription because in the end cost will be cheaper instead pay for every single access…however for me planning ahed expenses and have budgeting day helps to stay focused on goal!!!

  2. Sam Lodaria

    Nice tips Michelle! Personally, using Instapot for a lot of cooking has been really helpful. Almost 70-80% of our meals are cooked with Instapot and it does avoid the extra heat in the house generated by normal cooking! Also, beginning last summer, we increased the AC temps to 75 degrees from 71 degrees and we saw a noticeable change in our monthly electric bills – this one allows to save a good chunk of money (something you could put toward your savings money)

    Another tip would be to do a Summer cleanup of your household items (clothes, accessories, furniture etc.) and sell them on FB marketplace, Ebay or through your town community. This year we are selling my daughters crib (she’s a toddler now) through our town community and that will be a nice little chunk of money coming in!

  3. Yes, meal planning has helped us so much!

  4. All excellent tips, Michelle! We don’t have AC here (haven’t for years) but what we do is we close all the windows during the day, and open them at night, with box fans on the windows to cool the inside of our home quickly. It also helps when you turn your box fan facing out to get all the heat out the windows.

    1. Where do you live? It’s 100 degrees here in the summer so I wouldn’t be able to survive, haha.

      1. I hear you haha. I live in Vancouver, WA (Not BC, not DC 😛 ) Our weather is fairly decent during the summer, with only a couple weeks of scorching hot temps, and it rains pretty much all the time during fall, winter and spring. On the other hand, I am from Puerto Rico, where our winter temps are around 85+, at least in the coastal towns, and the rest of the year is 90+, so I totally understand! The little fan in the window trick wouldn’t get me anywhere there haha.

  5. Celina

    Great tips! We became a one car family a few years ago and it works for us. We have access to the train and use a bucket bike to get around town. I love your tip for cancelling the gym membership. I put mine on hold a few weeks ago because most of our time is spent outdoors in the summer months.

    1. In addition to canceling the gym membership, you can still lose weight by looking into the health benefit of “Bragg apple cider vinegar with the mother.” Food for thought. 🙂

  6. Maaike @Travellous World

    Definitely some great tips in there! I agree, we tend to be outside a lot in summer. I’ve got camping plans, always get groceries by bike and work out outside. The cancellation of cable TV is a good one I hadn’t thought of! In my situation I would cancel two of the three TV streaming services I pay for (Netflix is staying! 😉 ). Such a waste of money in summer.

  7. I’m looking to the future and changed many of my old financial habits. So happy to graduating to elite side hustle millionaire status. 🙂

  8. WBH

    If I didn’t live in a condo, I’d plant a garden yesterday. One of these days I will transition to a house with a garage and a fence and a yard and I will have my garden! Just putting it out there. First thing I’m planting? Jalapeño peppers.

  9. I’m getting a 2023 weight loss headstart now by starting my weight loss Summer transformation now for next Summer! 🙂