Ah, summer. A time when you can spend some time with family and friends - either at home or on a nice, relaxing holiday…
Or that's what many of us would like to do this summer - but for many of us, money is a bit too tight. We all want to have fun, entertain the family and forget our worries - but money worries don't seem to take a holiday (if you excuse the pun).
So if you're looking for a few ways you could save money this summer, and even have some fun doing so, read on!
The 'boring' stuff
Summer is a good time to save on bills - which could free up some money in your budget for some fun, or help you save for a 'rainy day'.
- 1. If you live in the UK, chances are that your lawn doesn't get too deprived of water - even in summer. If it does, though, water it with leftover bathwater, or the water that would have gone down the plughole while you were waiting for the shower to heat up.
- 2. If you can control your water temperature, turn it down.
- 3. Keep more in your fridge and freezer - even if it's just water bottles - because it will help them keep their contents cool during warmer weather without using too much energy.
- 4. Close curtains to keep the heat out, or open your doors and windows instead of using a fan.
- 5. See how long you can go in the evening without turning your lights on.
- 6. Grow your own vegetables. This can actually be quite fun - here's a BBC guide to get you started.
There are ways you can save on your family finances all year round. Click here to read more about this.
The fun stuff!
- 7. The golden rule to combine with many of the following suggestions is: take your own packed lunches. That way, you can eat wherever you like, probably for a fraction of the cost of a cafe.
- 8. Instead of taking the family to see a 'summer blockbuster', have a film night in your front room. Dim the lights, fill up bowls with snacks and dig out a family favourite.
- 9. If there are loads of films you want to see at the cinema, though, consider whether it would be cheaper to get something like a Cineworld Unlimited Card for £14.99 per month.
- 10. See what's going on in your area - and what deals are available - with sites like LivingSocial and Groupon. It's also worth checking out Dan's Deals on thinkmoney.co.uk every fortnight. Keep an eye on our Twitter account for the next instalment.
- 11. Theme parks can be expensive, but if you're considering visiting one, make sure you check out any possible deals - and did you know that you can get discounted theme park tickets through your Tesco Clubcard?
- 12. Stay in the UK for your holiday this summer. Camping and city breaks in the UK can be a lot cheaper than getting on a plane.
- 13. Sometimes, however - depending on the kind of holiday you're after - it can be cheaper to go abroad. Keep your eye out for cheap flights and deals.
- 14. Failing that, book next summer's holiday now - it could be a lot cheaper.
- 15. If you're shopping online for your summer holiday - or anything else for that matter - you might want to have InvisibleHand installed on your internet browser. It can tell you whether the product you're looking at is cheaper on another site. And remember to check whether there's a discount code online or voucher available before you buy anything.
- 16. If the children are getting a bit restless (and it's fairly nice outside), let them camp in the garden. This can also apply to those who are children at heart…
- 17. If you're swamped with summer weddings or parties, consider renting dresses instead of buying them, or organise a clothes swapping party between friends!
- 18. Nice weather (or even when it stops raining for an hour…) presents the perfect opportunity for a BBQ or garden party. It's usually a lot cheaper than a night out - especially if you find deals at your local supermarket and/or ask your guests to bring their own food or drinks.
- 19. If you love to dine out a lot, it's worth considering a taste card. There is a yearly fee, but you could save around 50% when you dine at participating restaurants.
- 20. Go outside! There are endless things to see and do for free in the Great British Countryside - or even in your local park. Keep an eye on your local authority's website for any free festivals or fairs. Or you could just go for a walk or bike ride with your family. Make it a game by taking a camera, even if it's just on your phone, and see who can get the best picture.