Money Saving Tips for Summer
By Rebecca Lukito
With summer just around the corner, many USD students are going back home or traveling abroad. While some of us may take classes or work to keep busy, others might have more free time to meet up with old friends or hang out with family. Amidst all the catching-up and social events that go into the hot summer months, here are some tips on saving money no matter what you are doing for the summer.
1) Cook at home. This is probably the most popular and tried-and-true tip for saving money over the summer. Instead of dining out with friends for some fancy Italian food topped with parsley, why not find the recipes online and cook them yourselves? Perhaps invite all your friends over for dinner, with everyone bringing a recipe of the dish they would like to eat. You can buy your ingredients fresh at a local farmers market and tweak the recipe to fit your taste. Don’t know how to cook? Well, nowadays, there’s a YouTube video for everything. You will be sure to find a tutorial on how to cook your favorite dish. Most USD students agree that eating in is the easiest way to save money.
“During the summer, I find I have a lot of time to myself where I can cook. I go to Costco and buy in bulk- and then save a bunch of money because I’m not eating out” said junior Anthony Nguyen.
2) Carpool. Carpooling is a fun way to save gas and money. Grab your best buds and take a road trip or day trip to the beach, a national park, or perhaps even go to that one small town known for its soft serve ice cream. You can make a playlist of all the best songs and blast it in the car, or you can do as I do and download the soundtrack to The Dark Knight and blast that in the car just to make an adventure all the more epic.
3) Make your own coffee. Are you a coffee addict? Are you in line for Starbucks every morning? At three to four dollars or more a drink, this little habit can end up costing you a lot of money over time. If you are going back home, chances are that your parents already have a coffee machine. Ask for help and learn how to make your own coffee. You can adjust the sweetness to fit your needs or add flavors in. You can even blend the coffee with milk and ice in a blender, add caramel or chocolate sauce on top and create your own frappuccino.
4) Find a cheap getaway. If you are desperate to get away from home, perhaps a cheaper vacation alternative may be best. While nothing beats the beautiful beaches and warm sand of the Bahamas, perhaps an outdoor camping trip will fulfill your nature cravings. We are already in San Diego, a place known for beautiful beaches, so perhaps a camping trip with friends will be a nice change of scenery.
5) Check out fun local events. Usually, there is a listing of weekly events that can be found either in the newspaper or online. In the summer, there are plenty of fairs and outdoor festivals to go to.
These events are also good events to go with your family. Perhaps bonding with your sister over a snow cone or betting your brother that he won’t eat a fried stick of butter will bring about that bond that you haven’t had since you were younger.
6) Have a movie marathon. Go to a friend’s house or host it at yours, but a movie marathon is the way to relive those high school memories. By gathering at one person’s house, you will also be able to save money on electricity because you will not be using any at your own house. Electricity and air conditioning costs are bound to increase dramatically during those summer months. With a movie marathon, you have an excuse to stay up all night eating junk food and drinking energy drinks for a reason other than finals.
7) Stop shopping. Now this is a hard one for many people, but do you really need that shirt? You probably already have two just like it in your closet. Instead of buying into the trends, buy pieces that make you look good and that will last for a while. Fashion trends come and go but a great classic piece will save you money.
8) Save your receipts. It is important to keep all of your receipts in order to track your day to day spending and spending trends. It is not uncommon to be shocked by the way those small purchases add up once you review those receipts that you keep. By keeping and organizing your receipts, you can keep better track of your spending habits. This also helps you become aware of your spending and reduce the amount of money spent on unnecessary items.
9) Use cash. Today, most of us carry our credit or debit cards. Using a card is easier, faster and there is less hassle. It is also lighter to carry just a card in your wallet instead of bills and a bunch of coins. However, it is extremely easy to overspend using a card because you don’t really need to pay attention as much as you do when you carry cash. With cash, you have a certain amount and you have to learn to ration that amount. You have to count out your coins and dollar bills and then stuff the change back in your wallet. This forces you to be aware of how much you are spending because when you buy something with cash, you are physically giving up something in exchange for another. When you run out of cash, it will make you realize that you are spending too much too quickly.
10) A tip for those traveling abroad: save money when you travel abroad by not staying in fancy resort hotels. This is a little tip I picked up from my own traveling adventures because you are traveling abroad to see the sights and experience a new country- not the interior of your hotel room or the fancy poolside margaritas. The money you spend on that fancy hotel could have gone to scuba diving or parasailing. As a student, staying at a hostel isn’t a bad idea, especially since all you really need is a place to sleep and shower at night. Although, if you are traveling to a more dangerous country, then by all means, stay at a more secure location. Safety first!As college students, summer should be a time to relax, catch up with old friends and start earning money for the real world.
Hopefully these tips will help relieve some of the stress that comes with spending and managing money during the summer months.