Having Fun in the Summer on a Budget

The Labor Department recently just released a report that the unemployment rate had raised for the 3rd straight month, edging to 9.2% (as of July 08, 2011), and with the recession still in full swing this summer families across America are looking at ways to save money this summer.

Most American families plan some sort of trip during the summer but this year households are getting creative in how they spend their money while traveling. There are also specific types of expenses that are associated with summer that are unique to this season that many households are looking at ways to avoid.

Summer Budget Grocery Tips:

1. Plan your meals: There are some great fruits and vegetables that are in season during the summer, tomatoes always taste their best during the summer months so make sure you plan and budget your meals with some of these in-season veggies and fruits.

2. Never shop when hungry: When we’re hungry we tend to go on the see-food diet, basically eating everything we see, the same goes when we shop when hungry, we load that grocery cart with everything and anything that looks tasty.

3. Make a list and stick to it: With smart-phones being ubiquitous it’s easy to text our grocery list unto our phones, that way we never lose it and hopefully we stick to that list.

4. Drink plenty of water: It’s summer folks, it’s time to hydrate, and it’s cheaper to drink water than soft-drinks or alcoholic beverages.

5. Costco is your friend: Summer is the season for BBQs and eating outdoors, but when you’re going grocery shopping it’s best to buy bulk, and there’s no better way to go bulk shopping than going wholesale, and Costco-by far-is the king of wholesale.

Vacationing on a Budget

1. Sign up for travel deal sites: Living Social Escapes, Kayak, AirBnb, TravelZoo, and Expedia are all great travel websites that offer steep discounts

2. Go to a destination during an off-season: You don’t want to go to Paris during May and June, when the hotels are priced their highest and the crowds are their largest, instead find destinations that are off-season during the American summer months.

3. Find local hot spots: You don’t need to jump on a plane and sit through a 12 hour plane flight to consider it a vacation. The recession is a great time to find local tourists stuff does in the area.

4. If you’re flying consider a phantom flight: The concept is rather simple, sometimes a direct flight is more expensive than finding a connecting flight and flying from there.

5. Avoid taxis at all costs: Taxis are so expensive, avoid them like a plague. As an alternative walk, take a bus, heck try hitchhiking, actually scratch that don’t hitchhike in a foreign country, that’s probably a bad idea.

6. Use foreign currency to book flights: If you’re traveling internationally make sure that you book the flight, hotel or rental car using the local website, and book the reservation with the local currency. Using local currency is almost always cheaper.

Frugal Summer Tips

1. Check out the library: The library is air-conditioned (hopefully), and it has a lot of books, those two things will hopefully keep you and your kids entertained on a hot summer day.

2. Go get a pool: You can get a cheap, inflatable pool that will keep your children entertained for less than $50 at most Wal-Mart’s!

3. Slip ‘n Slides are cool, literally!

4. Outdoor movies & free festivals: Most towns have free music festivals and outdoor movies, pick up the local newspaper or do a search on the internet for anything local!

5. Chuck E. Cheese: Where else can kids play video games and play for more than 4 hours for only $20, while the sit around and pound beers.

These are just a few things that will save you some money this summer, and like the old saying goes the family that stays together, plays together, so get out there and get creative-on a budget of course-and have some fun with your family

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