Now is the time of year when everyone is thinking about "the good ole' summertime."
Registrations for financial management classes are down and plans for summer vacations are up. But summer is a time when you may be able to reduce expenses and build up a savings cushion for fall. Instead of completely forgetting about money management while having fun in the sun, try using some of these cost-cutting strategies to free up some funds for savings:
1. Take advantage of cooler evening air by turning off your air-conditioning and opening the windows at night. Then in the morning, close the windows and blinds to keep the cooler air inside.
2. Use ceiling fans to create air movement, making the room feel cooler. (But turn the fan off when you leave the room.)
3. Reduce the amount of heat you create when cooking by using smaller appliances (i.e., a toaster oven), grilling outside, or using a microwave.
4. Make the most of the summer weather by hanging your laundry outside for at least part of the drying process.
5. Help your air conditioner run efficiently by replacing the filters (once a month is a good rule of thumb).
1. Don't speed! At speeds higher than 60 miles per hour, your gas mileage decreases tremendously.
2. Read the road ahead. Braking sharply and accelerating too fast are major gas wasters.
3. Remove winter items, such as sand or cat litter, shovels, etc. from your vehicle. Only carry what you need on any given day. Extra weight decreases gas mileage.
4. Try not to let your vehicle idle. If you are going to be sitting for more than a minute, turn the engine off.
Have a "Staycation"
1. Instead of spending a lot on a trip to some far away place, try staying at home for the week. There are probably many places within driving distance that would make great day trips, some of which are low-cost or even free.
2. The Virginia is for Lover's website http://www.virginia.org/ lets you search for vacation destinations, find out about attractions, and even order a free vacation guide.
3. The Virginia State Parks website http://www.virginiaoutdoors.com/ provides information on trails, fishing and hunting opportunities, camping, and more, including audio podcasts and video tours.
P.S. If you don't have an "emergency savings fund," now is the time to start one! For many people, it is easier to set money aside during the summer months. So do yourself a favor and begin today!