7 Ways to Save Money on Your Summer Vacation

Like everyone else in the U.S. this summer, we’re looking for ways to save money. Gas is expensive. Food is expensive. Air is expensive…. well, maybe not air. Yet.

There are many ways to limit your budget, some passive, some more active. Passive ways to bring your budget into line include switching to less expensive or free banking or other financial services and turning off or downgrading any service you’re not actively using. You can even make simple passive savings changes like switching to lower wattage light bulbs and store-brand peanut butter.

Here, I give you 7 ways to save money during your summer vacation this year. Whether you stay home or travel, you can cut a few corners here and there on your holiday vacation and still have a pretty good time.

  1. If you haven’t changed all your bills over to online auto-pay by now, get with the 21st century and do so, pronto. You save the cost of a postage stamp for mailing paper bills, plus you eliminate late fees which can sneak up on you during your holiday. You should never pay a late fee on any bill, ever.
  2. Plan only one big (>$30 entrance fee) attraction on your summer vacation. For the rest, go to the beach, rent or borrow movies, swim at the local pool, or go camping.
  3. Get yourself four inexpensive items: a frisbee, a walking or hiking stick, a deck of cards, and a small flashlight. The frisbee can keep you and a friend entertained for up to an hour and get lots of exercise. The hiking stick will remove all excuses for not going for a walk. The cards are for the days when it rains– you’ll also need those if you get lost in the woods! And the flashlight lets you feel comfortable having a moonlight picnic instead of eating at a restaurant.
  4. Go camping! With hotels charging $75 and up per night, a $35 campsite with water and electricity is a bargain. Borrow a tent and air mattress from a friend if you don’t have one, but don’t drop a lot of money on new gear. Who wants to take a bunch of new stuff out to the wilderness to get ruined?
  5. Catch up on some reading. If your library doesn’t have a reading program, make your own! Count the number of library books you read this summer, or just the number of pages, and paste a gold star on a sheet of paper for each one you finish. Write reviews for books on amazon.com and see if you can get your reviews to the top of Amazon’s listings for every book you read this summer.
  6. Reuse project materials. For knitters, this means frogging something that didn’t work out and reusing the yarn, but for other crafts, take the materials from a kit or project and turn it into something new, or scavenge at thrift stores and dumpsters for cool stuff you can clean up, repaint, and use. See what you can make without spending a single dime.
  7. Make your meals stretch. Like the crafting stretch, see if you can go “just one more day” without hitting the grocery store. It’s amazing what you can do with a little bit of rice, some frozen veggies, and a can of bullion, and most foods freeze perfectly fine.