Tips to help you save from season to season

From summer grilling to winter ski trips, each new season brings unique expenses. In the colder months, heating bills rise, while warmer months often mean higher air conditioning and gas prices.

Of course, the cost of these seasonal activities and needs can impact family finances. But there are plenty of ways you can help protect your financial future and enjoy seasonal fun all year long.

Summer

No one wants to suffer in the heat of summer, but home-cooling costs can add up fast. Luckily, there are many ways to boost summer energy savings. Opting for floor or ceiling fans, or even leveraging programmable thermostats can help cut costs by nearly 20 percent.1 Opening windows and curtains vs. turning on indoor lights could save electricity, as does relieving your dryer and hanging up clothes in the warm summer sun to dry.1

Energy savings can extend to the car, too. While gas prices tend to rise during the summer, this year, they are expected to surge to their highest level in three years2, so it’s wise to find ways to save at the pump. With more cars on the road, you’ll want to take advantage of traffic, mapping and parking apps to better chart your course. Once you reach your destination, try to park in the shade when it’s really hot and remove any excess weight in the trunk to help fuel efficiency when you’re back on the road.

Summer activities for the kids can also add up, so research websites for discount tickets or price-matching offers to the zoo, cultural institutions or amusement parks. 

Fall

Back-to-school and Black Friday shopping aren’t the only great savings opportunities for shoppers in the fall. Veterans Day, Small Business Saturday, and even Halloween can offer a seasonal discount. Fall is also a great time to get started on your holiday shopping.

Need a vacation? Fall is one of the best times of the year to travel as airline prices tend to decrease when the kids head back to school and demand for popular locales cools off.3

Autumn is also the time to prep your home for the upcoming winter. Covering drafty windows and sealing any air leaks can help insulate your home, and cleaning your furnace before the cold weather sets in can prevent more costly problems amidst freezing temperatures.4

Winter

According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling accounts for 48% of energy use in a typical American home.5 You can increase energy efficiency by insulating your home up to code and ensuring that all ductwork is sealed. Programming the thermostat to cooler temps when you’re out of the house can also save on heating bills.

Spring

Hit by spring cleaning fever? You’re not alone. But make that elbow grease work in your financial favor. Bring unwanted items to consignment stores, host a yard sale, or donate to a charity for a tax break. (Just remember to save those receipts to claim the deductions.)

Spring break is a popular time for co-eds and families alike to travel. When shopping for lodging, look for hotels with breakfast and snacks included in the room rate. By saving money on meals, you can put more cash to souvenirs and other fun.

Seasons and expenses will always change, but that doesn’t mean your financial plan has to. Staying on budget all year long will help keep your financial future intact.
 

1 “Tips for saving money on summer bills.” Take Charge America. May 2017. http://www.takechargeamerica.org/tips-for-saving-money-on-summer-bills/ 
2 Close, Kerry. “Gas Prices Are Expected to Spike to Their Highest Level in Three Years.” Time. January 4, 2017. http://time.com/money/4621643/gas-prices-higher-2017/ 
3 Elliott, Christopher. “Airfares will drop to record lows this fall.” Fortune. July 27, 2015. http://fortune.com/2015/07/27/airfares-will-drop-to-record-lows-this-fall 
4 “Fall and Winter Energy-Saving Tips” Energy.gov. May 2017. https://energy.gov/energysaver/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips 
5 “Tips: Energy and cooling.” Energy.gov. May 2017. http://energy.gov/energysaver/tips-heating-and-cooling