Summer Fun, or summer broke?

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    7 ways to spend wisely this summer

    by Aimee Sehwoerer

    Between a few exciting weekend excursions, family reunions, vacations and snacks here and there, these months of the year can have a huge impact on your budget. With a little planning, you don’t have to sacrifice all of your summer fun, and you could even have some extra money left over to contribute to your financial goals. The reality is that you can save without sacrificing a lot. Here’s how:

    1. Avoid eating in restaurants.
    Prepare the food at home, as your mother would. It may seem like a lot of work, but it doesn’t require as much effort as you may think. Consider making simple, healthy meals at least five days a week; you’ll save more money than you realize. Instead of store-brought sugary and sodium-rich snacks, put your DIY hat on and try your hand at homemade ice cream, popsicles, banana chips, granola and popcorn in flavours that the family will love.

    2. Buy wholesale.
    Buying wholesale can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a few months, especially when it comes to meat and vegetables, disposable products, and cleaning products.

    3. Grow a garden.
    Just as cooking at home is going to save you money, growing your own food will also help. You’ll be surprised in the savings compared to buying at the grocery store. Grow a green thumb and try planting tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, jalapeños and cilantro, which are quite easy to grow and maintain.

    4. Reconsider Summer Camp.
    Summer Camp registration can be extremely expensive. If your children are determined to go, see if you can find a community program or one run by a non-profit organization in your area. If not, try to simulate a neighborhood camp with scheduled daily activities and excursions that children and their friends can enjoy together while parents take their turns with supervision.

    5. Don’t go far.
    Instead of planning a vacation that involves paying airfare or driving for hours to get to your destination, find a fun place to go that is one or two hours away from home. Your family can spend the night in a hotel or pitch a tent in the woods. Look for free, fun activities in that area as many towns and cities offer concerts, plays, festivals and other events for a nominal entry fee.

    6. Turn off the kitchen.
    Instead of cooking on the stove or oven every day, use the barbeque several days per week to save significantly on gas and electricity.

    7. Go outside.
    Televisions, video games and computers consume a lot of electricity. Take your children out of the house to minimize their use of electronic devices. Go for a bike ride with them, take them to the park, plan a treasure hunt, make a bonfire, set up a tent in the yard and camp at home. Anything goes, just make it fun.

    Happy summer! Now, what shall we do with all that cash we just saved?

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Aimee loves to help people with her extensive knowledge in financial planning, investment, debt, and estate planning. She is also passionate about volunteerism.