After what seemed like an unseasonably cool spring, many of us are longing for the familiar Charleston heat and the endless beach days that come with. Though we’ll soon be wishing for less humid days by June, there’s no denying the summer is a time for fun, relaxation, outdoors and vacation.
While vacations and high air conditioning bills can take a toll on your wallet, there are some easy ways to keep cool, and your cold hard cash in your pocket this summer. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite tips, and ones were testing out this summer.
- Free your Fridge: If your fridge is pushed tight against the wall, move it away a few inches. Up against a wall limits circulation and makes the unit work harder, increasing energy costs.
- Consider recycling older, secondary fridges: 25% of US households use an older model as their secondary fridge. These older models are less energy efficient and could add $300 to your electric bill, annually.• Keep fridges between 35 and 38 degrees. Colder temps mean wasteful energy.
- Turn Up your thermostat but turn on your fan. One of the biggest culprits of increasing costs during the summer is running the AC. While mandatory for Lowcountry summers, offset some of the cost by turning up your thermostat by two degrees but turning on your fan. A downward breeze can keep family and pets cool, slashing your bill by 14%.
- Program your thermostat – many newer thermostats allow you to program your temps even while away. Keep it a few degrees warmer (keeping in mind any indoor pets) and have it cool off before the family gets home.
- Keeping blinds closed to keep sunlight out and keep the costs down.
- Plug in your devices to a power strip. Though your TV and other appliances may be off, they are still silently draining some power even in the off position. Plug appliances in a power strip with an on/off button and flip the switch off when you’re out of the house.
- Install Solar Lighting: Solar is becoming more and more affordable (Thanks Musky) not to mention can sometimes add a nice tax deduction. Try adding a few panels or simple solar outdoor lights so you can enjoy those summer nights.
- Plan Ahead: Planning ahead can help you lock in low rates and cover associated costs over a period of time. Apps like Hopper can help you keep an eye on flights. Though there is something to be said for last-minute getaways. Check out sites like https://www.lastminutetravel.com/ to find deals.
- Look for Destinations with Favorable Exchange rates. Clearly, it’s not a good idea to rush to put yourself in harms way for a favorable exchange rate. We believe more often than not, currency devaluation is a symptom of deeper problems. However, if you can find less dramatic situations (e.g. fall 2016 when the euro was near a multiyear low against the dollar), there may be opportunity to save.
- Research and Book in Incognito mode. Cookies, little nuggets of data collected on your search and web browsing habits as you surf the web, can alter prices when companies can guess your intentions. Though not fool proof as many of these sites have sophisticated programs to track your data, it can help.
- Negotiate room rates directly with the hotel. Many hotels have to pay booking sites up to a 15% commission. Use the online rate as a starting point and request a price reduction directly from the hotel. This may also help with car rental companies.
- Use Rewards/Sign up for Travel Rewards. Booking through apps like Hotels.com can provide one free night equaling the average of your bookings after 10 nights. Other rewards can come from travel credit cards or points from your current credit cards. See more on travel loyalty programs here.
- REMEMBER: Use Credit wisely and responsibly – not just for the points!
- A little planning can go a long way. Figure out how many people are coming. What’s on the menu? Create your menu off of deals or coupons offered at your local grocery store. Make a list and stick to it! It helps unnecessary items find their way to your cart.
- Talk with your local butcher to find low-cost deals at the grocery store. Ask about the difference in cuts, get meat-prepping advice or seasoning tips. You may learn about upcoming specials or cost saving ways to prepare meats.
- Serve it in style – if you love a good BBQ and plan on hosting a few times a month, consider investing in plastic plates vs. paper or Styrofoam. You save money in the long run, not to mention cut down on waste.
- Got a green thumb? Herb gardens are fairly easy to grow in the summer and a fun family activity. Other summer vegetables are great to plant in early spring and nurture through the summer. Upon harvest time, take pride in eating a salad or side from vegetables grown in your garden or pickle so you can enjoy through colder months.
These are just some of the ways you can save this summer. Have a go-to summer saver? Let us know and we’ll share it on our Facebook page.
For more information on financial planning, contact one of the financial professionals at Morris Financial Concepts.
Morris Financial Concepts, Inc. is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about Morris Financial including our investment strategies, fees and objectives can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available upon request. MFC-18-01