Summer is a great time to kick back and relax — just don't plan on taking a vacation from saving money! As the summer heats up, the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) offers ten saving tips to help you enjoy some fun in the sun without worrying about your wallet.
- Give your dishwasher a break.
If you have a dishwasher, turn off the dry cycle and air dry your dishes instead. This can save you up to 1 percent of your energy bill. Or, for more savings, wash the dishes by hand.
- Do your laundry efficiently.
Use the warm or cold water setting to wash your clothes instead of the hot, and always use cold water to rinse them. Whenever possible, line dry your clothes or hang them on a rack.
- Don't forget the filters.
Replace your air conditioner filters. Dirty, clogged filters can force your system to run longer and use more energy. You should replace the filters monthly for maximum benefits.
- Get some fresh air.
Turning off your air conditioning can save money. Leave your windows open or buy several fans to circulate the air, especially at night when it's already cooler outside.
- Pull out the grill.
Throw a barbeque outside instead of using the oven. It will keep your home cooler and taste delicious. Many public parks have grills available if you do not own one.
- Buy a city pass.
Popular tourist cities, such as New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Hollywood, offer special passes that allow you to visit several attractions for a reduced price. In New York, the adult city pass can save you more than $50 on admission to various attractions rather than buying each entrance pass separately. Many theme parks, museums, and national parks offer similar passes, which can be found on the Internet.
- Travel smart.
With rising airline ticket prices and fees, you may want to consider another mode of travel, such as train. If an airline flight is necessary for a vacation, book it early to get the best rate. July is one of the busiest travel months, so perhaps choose a trip later in the summer.
- Go light on the packing.
Packing light will go a long way when traveling by air. Some airlines have started to charge extra fees for checked baggage. You can avoid these extra fees by only packing what you absolutely need for the trip.
If you are traveling by car, you can save on gas by packing light. Every 100 pounds in the trunk decreases your fuel mileage by 1 to 2 percent. Avoid a roof rack if at all possible; they can cut down your mileage by up to 5 percent. And always remember to keep your car in good shape — tires properly inflated, regular oil changes, etc.
- Dust off your library pass.
Visit your local library this summer for an excellent assortment of books you haven't read. Some libraries even have DVDs or movies to borrow, which can save you a bundle.
- Keep an eye out for end of summer sales.
Experts say the best time to purchase home and garden supplies is after the Fourth of July. If you have the financial resources, watch for summer clothing and swimwear sales at the end of the summer. You could stock up for next year then, when the prices are best.
Visit the VSCPA's consumer Web site, ,strong>FinancialFitness.org, for more money management tips and free resources.