Summertime is nearly here, along with running ACs, cooling off at the pool, and other quintessential summer actions returning across the country. Beyond the temperature increase, summer can also bring increased spending. Here are some tips to help you trim expenses and maintain a healthy seasonal budget.
1. Consider riding your bike instead of driving your car.
Gas prices typically increase every summer, often peaking between May 9 and May 24. The price increase can result from a number of factors, including companies producing summer-blend gasoline. Winter-blends evaporate more quickly, which enables cars to start faster in cold months. To prepare for summer, refineries must switch this blend, so the evaporative qualities don’t create increased smog and emissions. This process contributes to increased gasoline prices.[i]
On average, people who commute to work by car spend $9000 each year. By swapping your car for a bike — for even just a few days a week — you can turn your commute into some real financial savings (in addition to improved health). You can also use your bike to run errands. Since most errands people run are within a few miles of their home, you can save costs such as gas and wear-and-tear on your vehicle.[ii]
2. Improve your air conditioner’s efficiency.Cooling our homes in the summer costs real money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling our homes make up nearly half of the energy we use.[iii]
You can trim your monthly expenses by taking steps to improve your air conditioner’s efficiency. Some changes include:
• Plant trees or shrubs that shade your AC: Shade will help keep your AC unit cooler, and could result in a 10% increase of your AC’s efficiency.[iv]
• Install solar window screens: By decreasing the heat coming into your home, your AC doesn’t have to work as hard. Solar screens can block up to 70% of the solar energy before it enters your house.[v]
• Raise your AC temperature at night: Simply making your house slightly warmer at night can save you up to 15% on your air conditioning bills each month.[vi]
3. Take more efficient showers.When the summer heat kicks in, you may try to beat the sweat and cool down with baths or showers. But if you don’t already have a low-flow shower head, you probably want to consider installing one. Older shower head models can use up to 5.5 gallons of water per minute (gpm). Meanwhile, a low-flow shower head can cut water use down to 2.5 gpm, and save you up to 60% on your monthly water bill.
If you enjoy baths over showers, you typically use 35 gallons of water every time you enter the tub. You can save even more in your monthly water bill by switching to 5-minute showers using a low-flow shower head. This change in your daily routine can save you 22.5 gallons of water and extra dollars on your utilities usage.[vii]
Overall, you can save money while enjoying the summer months. By following these tips, you’ll more efficiently trim your expenses without drastically changing your lifestyle. If you’d like to explore other ways you can manage your finances, we’re happy to talk. Contact us at (518) 581-1642, today!