7 Ways to Save Money on Family Trips for Summer

Updated: May 11, 2019

Beaches and sunshine. Vacations and fine wine. How can you not get excited about summer?

You've been diligent in your month-to-month planning. You're beginning to see your debt balances decline and your savings starting to rise. With your friends and family talking about road trips and vacation days, summer can be a season where one catches the lazy budget bug.

Laziness can occur in a variety of ways when it comes to money management. From not paying attention to what grocery items you are purchasing to not monitoring your budgeting template at least once a week.

Note: I highly recommend you use the free budget tracker at EveryDollar.com.

With so many distractions and chaos that also may occur during family vacations, you may be tempted to put off your those financial skills you've developed. You may be persuaded to take advantage of the summer shopping sprees and outlet malls. Have no fear; we are here to help!

In this article, you'll learn seven ways to keep your summer spending down by:

1. Limit Your Everyday Expenses

2. Make Small Changes in the Kitchen

3. Keep an Eye on Evening Outings and Entertainment

4. Budget for Vacations

5. Grill outside to cut back on AC

6. Offset Expenses with a Yardsale

7. Cut Expenses Not in Use

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1. Limit Your Everyday Expenses

As I have become more aware of what benefits key foods have on your body and how certain foods can cause my body inflammation, I've discovered that food preparation on the weekends keeps me from splurging during the week.

It isn't that I have deep cravings for anything in particular so I rush to the nearest fast food chain or restaurant to pick up something. It is usually a matter of having not enough time. With the lack of time after working late and sitting in traffic, who wants to spend another hour prepping dinner or getting things ready for tomorrow? Certainly not me.

That is why planning ahead can work miracles in your budget. By bringing enough healthy snacks throughout your day and bringing your own coffee to work can save you anywhere from $10-$50 a week. And if you are planning a summer vacation, a few small sacrifices each day can add up to big savings.

This week, I challenge you to cut out one small item of purchase and bring your own. By reconditioning your mind and having prepped for snacks or meals during the work week will greatly benefit your health and your wallet.

2. Make Small Changes in the Kitchen

There is a quote I heard many years ago when I was a college athlete and was trying to stay in the best possible condition as a soccer player. The quote is "Abs are made in the kitchen." Now, as to being your money coach, I will rework the phrase and declare "Savings are made in the kitchen."

Groceries are a large expense item in every household's budget and no problem with buying food is the amount you spend is rarely consistent and difficult to plan ahead. Let's be honest with ourselves, it is likely we overspend in this category from time to time.

After trying many different methods, strategies, and plans, I am sharing two that have helped me. You don't want just another plan to save money. You want a plan that promotes healthy and delicious food that is also affordable.

$5 Meal Plan charges only five dollars a month with meal ideas, recipes, and directions for 4-servings typically. Each week you are sent a list of recipes with a recommended shopping list. Not only does this save you time, but it saves you money because of the founder, Erin Chase, carefully picks meals that are delicious and can usually be prepped in under 20 minutes.

If you are very health conscious or have allergies and looking to customize meal plans, try using PlateJoy. You can receive two weeks free during a trial period. I've been using this online service for about a year now and the greatest feature about it is being able to pick and choose which meals from breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner you want.

While I am an affiliate for both of these services, I am only recommending these because after trying several others, these are the only two that have over delivered for my meal prep needs and the quality of service is awesome!

3. Keep an Eye on Evening Outings and Entertainment

A common way to distress your budget occurs during evening outings. Your friends are going out and you want to join the evening fun. After all, you did work hard this week! There is nothing wrong with that but plan the evening accordingly. By skipping the appetizers, not only are you cutting back on the calories but can usually save an easy $15-$20. Also, work towards minimizing expenses. Groupon is a terrific way to find local savings in your area.

4. Budget for vacations

The earlier you start planning for your vacation, the lower the rates for hotels, flights, and deals you can get. Rather than booking a hotel, try looking into rates with Airbnb. This online house rental can save you money compared to hotel rates by 20-40%.

Another reason to plan early is to get an estimated cost for your summer vacation. When making plans, work backward. By planning how many days you want to vacation, how long the travel will be, and how many nights of hotel or housing rentals, you can better prepare yourself and your family.

This will provide insights into what you may need this summer so as you browse the store aisles or online; you may come across deals or savings ahead of time-saving you extra money.

Read: Tips to Save Money for Your Ultimate Summer Vacation

5. Grill outside to cut back on AC

Using an oven for baking or broiling generates excess heat and this heat must escape. Unfortunately, during the summer months, it escapes into your house. This forces your air conditioner to work harder and longer which equals more money to pay on that monthly utility bill.

Instead of using the oven, try grilling meals outside. Grilling is a great way to eat healthier because the excess fat drains off plus you can meal prep too. Another option is eating more sandwiches or subs when possible. You can get very creative with sandwiches and who doesn't love a thick sandwich with veggies and cheese with chips and guac! Grilling in the summertime is the best way to go and start racking up those savings.

6. Offset Expenses with a Yardsale

Having a garage sale can be a great way to rid excess STUFF you don't need in the house. It is also a way to recoup some costs back from those items you purchased in the past. But before you sell those items on a spring or summer weekend, research how much those items could sell on eBay or Amazon.

Men's Health magazine did a story a few years back about a man who makes approximately an extra $20,000 a year by purchasing items from yard sales and turning a profit by selling those same items on one of the sites.

It is also recommended that before you start slapping $0.50 or $1.00 on every item, you take some time and research the value of that t-shirt or coffee mug. By visiting Statricks.com, you can review if the value price is going up or down to include its current going rate.

7. Cut Expenses Not in Use

When was the last time you picked up that magazine you pay for monthly or hit the gym? There are months in our lives where we pay for services that are not rendered. Consider canceling these or sending an email to inquire about pausing a service.

I pause services on a regular basis during months where I either am not using it or just to busy to enjoy what I am paying on a month-to-month basis. Companies want your business and will work with you if you can prove to them you are a loyal customer.

Here is a list of items to consider pausing or canceling:

  • Netflix

  • Hulu

  • Shipt

  • Amazon Prime

  • Cable Service

  • Nook or Kindle Magazine Subscriptions

  • Unused Mobile Apps

  • Monthly Box Services

  • Gym Memberships

Fortunately for you, there is an online service that can track all of this down for you and deliver recommendations to cut or reduce your bills. Go to truebill.com and give it a try.

When it comes to saving money for a family trip or vacation, making small and minor changes can stack up quickly. This month, challenge yourself in finding ways to save a few dollars here and there and watch how fast those savings will add up.


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