You don’t have to wait for summer to save money, but the long, hot days we’re currently experiencing bring savings possibilities that don’t exist in the winter months.
Saving money is rather similar to losing weight. The best results are achieved by changing your lifestyle and habits for good, instead of relying on a radical quick fix. The beautiful weather we enjoy in summer makes it possible to make lifestyle changes that not only save money but, in the long term, lead to different habits. Let’s have a look at some of these options.
- Cook outside. The stove or oven uses a lot of electricity and generates heat that has nowhere to go in your house. We live in a country that prides itself on the perfect braai. Apart from it feeling like a little holiday when you light a fire on a weekday evening, you will save electricity and keep your home cool – which will save even more electricity as you won’t have to use a fan or air-conditioning.
- Let your laundry dry outside. With the sun and warm summer breeze doing the drying for you, your clothes will smell wonderfully fresh, and your electricity bill will benefit from you not having used the energy-hungry dryer. If you can’t hang up clothes outside, use your dryer on a lower heat setting, or dry garments only partially in the dryer and then hang them up inside the house for the rest of the process.
- Take advantage of the longer evenings.Instead of sitting on the couch to watch television, use the extended daylight hours to enjoy the great outdoors. You’ll save a bit of money on electricity by not running the electronics and indoor lights, and get some fresh air too.
- Grow your own food. Growing your own food can really cut down on grocery bills, and connecting with nature is good for your mental wellbeing too. But if gardening isn’t your thing, make friends with green-thumbed neighbours who will give or sell you their excess produce. Farmers markets are also a great alternative since they are cheaper and sell some of the freshest fruit and vegetables available.
- Install solar lighting. Outdoor lighting improves your garden’s ambience, making it more pleasant to be outside in the evening during those warm months. Solar lighting also won’t drain your electricity bill.
- Freeze your gym membership. With warmer weather, you can do more outdoor activities. Why spend money on a gym membership when you can exercise outdoors by swimming, hiking and jogging?
- Save water. Water is becoming scarcer and more expensive. An easy way to save water – and money – is to collect the cold water that comes out the tap before your shower or dishwashing water heats up, in a bucket. Use this valuable, clean water to cook with or keep it at the basin to wash your hands and brush your teeth.
- Get around in a different way. Take public transportation, or ride your bicycle to work. You will save money on fuel and parking, and do your bit to conserve the environment. Also make a point of walking when you can, especially over weekends and when you just want to visit friends down the road or go to the shop two streets away. It might take longer, but you won’t have to worry about parking, fuel or traffic. It’s also great exercise and a good way to meet new people.
- Camp out in your backyard. Experience the fun of camping without leaving your home. Setting up a tent in the backyard will allow your kids to pretend like they’re out on an adventure with their friends. They’ll be safe in your own backyard, and it won’t cost you any money to give your kids a memorable experience.
- Make new maintenance plans. If you don’t have time to keep your garden tidy and don’t want to spend money on a garden service, consider hiring a neighbour’s teenager to help you out. The work might not be perfect, but you’ll save money and make an entrepreneurial teenager happy while teaching him or her some healthy money habits to boot.