Summer time and the living is easy…. yeah freaking right! This song definitely needs updated to consider the recession and the fact that so many young people are struggling to get jobs. While summer is definitely my favourite time of year, there is always the temptation to spend lots of extra money. Here are my 4 tips to on how I save money in summer….
1. Cook Outside!
BBQs are immense fun and completely underrated. I learned the art of barbequing among the masters on a holiday to South Africa and let me tell you, there is quite an art to it! Equipped with my Weber Cookbook (a fantastic read) I am quite the culinary expert these days. The cost of charcoal / gas is only a couple of pounds and there is no end to the fun you can have gathered round the BBQ having a chat. You don’t need expensive steaks either; bacon, sausages, ribs or even a whole chicken are just as tasty (especially when marinaded in one of the book’s recipes). I have also been experimenting with vegetarian dishes such as stuffed mushrooms and peppers on the BBQ which are proving to be a great success!
Cooking outside is a great substitute for spending all day in a beer garden and paying inflated pub food prices! You can throw big parties / gatherings without the worry and hassle that usually goes into planning a 3 course meal for your guests. Heck, you can even ask your guests to take a pack of meat along with them.
2. Hydrate and Re-Hydrate
I have only recently come to appreciate the importance of staying hydrated. Did you know that it takes your body around 3 days to become dehydrated and hence up to 3 days to properly rehydrate? I used to think that downing a pint of water would sort out any dehydration, but it turns out that it is more complicated than that. Summer is the perfect time to become dehydrated and it is important to consciously keep a bottle of water around you (unless you are super-disciplined).
Invest in a sports bottle that can be reused and avoid paying for bottled water. I have a big flask that I drink from at work where there are numerous water filtration machines. It frustrates me the number of individuals who regularly buy bottled water when there is a free alternative available.
Finally, by ensuring that our bodies are hydrated, we reduce the risk of overeating. Our bodies find it difficult to determine whether we are hungry or thirsty; drinking lots of water helps to ensure we don’t pick up (too many) extra pounds!
3. Re-Program Your Heating System
Chances are you will have a thermostat in your home where you can control the heating temperature. Not only do you want to turn this down throughout summer, but you also want to manually re-program your heating system. While some of the new heating systems can be controlled via mobile apps, many of the old systems are not even digital!! Consider turning off the heating altogether and limiting the hot water. Some boilers also allow you to reduce the temperature through a switch on the unit itself (separate from the control panel).
Also related to heating, try and avoid using a tumble dryer… take advantage of being able to hang your clothes outside to dry naturally – they smell so much better too!
4. Cycle / Walk to Work
With an improved climate, the requirement to commute in a car diminishes! Consider investing in your health and fitness by buying a bike or walking to work. In the UK many companies are part of a ‘Cycle to Work‘ scheme where you can effectively buy a bike through your pre-tax earnings. Even if you don’t have this scheme available to you, consider how much you spend on fuel and how quickly a bike would pay for itself.
It’s time to practice what I preach on this last one… I have a cycle route to work planned out and at 24.5 miles, it is going to take a bit of work. I’m currently training up in the gym on the bike to increase my endurance, but I could start saving a fortune. On average I spend £8 per day on diesel (or £40 a week); this could be quite a nice saving over the next couple of months.
Operation get fit at cycling continues…
How do you save money in summertime?