This is a recent article I wrote for my good friends over at ChicagoHealers.com that was featured in their eNewsletter. Be sure to like them on Facebook, check them out on Twitter and sign up for their eNewsletter!
There’s something about summer in this great city that just makes people want to spend a little more. Winter leaves us cold and often without much sunshine. Once it hits 70 degrees, we’re ready to venture out sans jackets for some outdoor fun. Unfortunately, many of us take that opportunity to take a shopping offline and increase it with in-store purchases. Whether you’re taking a vacation or just taking a leisurely stroll downtown, there are ways to limit the amount you spend. Here are five tips to keep summer spending down.
Take a “daycation”
Though a full-fledged summer vacation may not be in the cards for everyone this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a getaway. Take a “daycation” to some place you’ve never ventured to close to home. Hope in your car, drive a few hours, and see where you end up (and what you can find along the way).
Grab some cheap deals last minute
If you want a nice weekend getaway that’s too far to drive, booking early may not net you the best deal. But waiting until the last minute just might. Most airlines offer special fares during the week for weekend flights. United’s E-fares offer incredibly cheap flights to almost every major city in the United States. Head over to their website every Wednesday to see which deals you can grab for a last-minute weekend trip on Friday.
Pay cash one day a week
I’m all about setting an intention and following through, and I think scheduling a Cash Only Day a couple days per week is a great goal. I know how tempting it is to pull out the credit card at a local street fest for cute trinkets from a local artist. And what’s a $2 ice cream cone, really? Well those little purchases add up, especially if you’re making them through your Visa. Pick a day (or two or three, if you’re feeling adventurous), grab a set amount of cash and only use that for spending money.
A great way to spend your Cash Only Day is by shopping locally for groceries. Surf the web for the farmers markets in your area, and do your produce shopping there instead of the grocery store. You can get everything from fruits and vegetables to homemade nut butters and even some breads and pastries. If it’s in walking distance, leave the car at home and make it a fun morning activity for the family (the dog too!). Since they are generally held in or near parks, the kids can keep busy and you can cross off an important item on your weekend to-do list.
Foods taste better when cooked over an open flame, and I’m not talking about just chicken and steak. Grilling your vegetables, cooking seafood and baking cakes all taste delicious when cooked outdoors. Why is cooking outside cheaper than your oven? The oven creates heat; when the house gets hotter, the air conditioning blasts longer. And that makes your electricity bill climb higher. So spend a one or two days a week cooking outside on the grill. The internet has an unlimited amount of recipes for delicious ways to grill almost anything. Be creative!