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Advice and tips for saving money this summer

Posted on Tuesday August 06, 2019

Advice and tips for saving money this summer

Summer is a season when many people make certain major expenditures. From renovations to landscaping to travel, people simply tend to spend more during this time of the year. We’re here to share some small saving tips that you can use to make the most of your big projects!

Travel smart

Why not opt for a local destination you’ve never visited? New Brunswick and the surrounding provinces abound with sites and activities that can make for an unforgettable vacation. In doing so, you’ll find new amazing places, support the local economy and avoid unfavourable exchange rates that can dramatically reduce your buying power abroad. Look to our blog post An Eco-Friendly, Adventure-Filled Trip to New Brunswick for inspiration!

Go camping – A classic suggestion that is nonetheless often overlooked, camping provides an opportunity to reconnect with our nation’s great outdoors while also drastically cutting the cost of travel accommodations! And have you heard of “glamping”? Learn more about destinations like Cielo and turn your camping trip into a luxurious outing!

Swap or rent out your home – Home exchange sites such as Homeaway, Homelink and Homexchange can help you find highly affordable accommodations if you’re willing to swap homes with some else during your vacation. You can include the use of your car in the deal to save even more! This option is ideal for visiting traditionally costlier countries like France or the United Kingdom.

Combine work and leisure travel – If your voyage includes attendance at a conference, completion of training or meetings with potential clients, you may be able to claim a portion of your travel costs as a work expense—and it’s entirely legal! And the new connections you make while abroad may certainly prove invaluable down the road.

Choose (cut, prepare…) what you eat wisely

Buy unprepared foods – Pre-cut fruit and vegetables may be handy and tempting for those last-minute picnics but generally cost two to three times as much as unprepared quantities of the same foods. Not having to slice and dice may be nice, but it’ll cost you! Instead, pack a knife in your picnic basket and you’re good to go!

Preserve your own food – The harvest season runs from May through October, and many foods are available in season at a fraction of their price the rest of the year. And besides traditional foods such as tomatoes, beets and other pickled vegetables, consider canning some lobster or freezing fresh crab or shrimp.

Buy only what you need – A recent study by Value Chain Management International revealed that nearly 60% of all food produced in Canada is wasted rather than consumed. Big-box stores may offer tempting prices when you buy in bulk, but you can often enjoy even greater savings by buying less rather than more!

Cook instead of buying prepared meals – Lack of time leads many New Brunswickers to head directly for the frozen and ready-to-eat food departments. However, meals can usually be prepared at home at a fraction of the cost that are generally also much better for your health.

Pay attention at the checkout – Did you know that when a product valued at up to $10 is scanned at a higher price at the cash register, the Retail Council of Canada prescribes that merchants give you that item at no charge? Even if you don’t demand this treatment, you can avoid overpaying at the grocery store by giving merchants a chance to address any errors.

Watch for sham discounts on “family packs” – The jumbo packages available at many retailers often work out to be just as, or even more, expensive per unit as smaller packages of the same foods. Be aware!

Cut the cost of renos

Buy the materials yourself – Most contractors collect a margin on materials, which is entirely to be expected when they have to select, buy and deliver them on their own. However, by making these purchases yourself, you may be able to find better deals or perhaps buy certain items used. This also creates opportunities for you to add a personal touch to your reno project!

Clarify with your contractor exactly what is, or isn’t, included – There’s nothing worse than discovering that certain tasks you assumed were included in a project quote, well, weren’t! Review proposals in detail and ask for clarification if certain clauses seem vague.

Pick up a hammer and do the work yourself – If you have some free time and are the type of person who can follow, say, a step-by-step video on laying ceramic tile, then you may have what it takes to undertake certain reno tasks on your own! Doing your own work is an excellent way to add value to your home—and express your creativity—at a low cost.

And for more information on gauging the scope of renovation projects, have a look at our article Affordable Renovations without Hidden Costs.

Upkeep and recurring fees: cut out what you don’t need this summer!

Suspend your gym membership – Many people enjoy going to a local fitness centre to use the treadmill or stationary bike for a good part of the year. However, if you plan on being active outdoors during the summer, consider suspending your membership for a few months. Take advantage of the weather-your wallet will thank you!

Turn down the AC – Some homes feel like walk-in freezers if the air conditioning is turned up too high. Turn the thermostat down a couple notches and you may find that you sleep just as well (and perhaps also keep that chill from turning into a summer cold!).

Cut the cable (and then shop around for a better deal in the fall!) – Summer is a time for turning off the TV and getting outdoors. In addition to eliminating another monthly fee, you can then take advantage of the offers that abound for new subscribers when you decide to reconnect. If you enjoy watching TV year-round, then you may also simply want to contact your cable provider’s loyalty department to see if you can negotiate a lower package price.

Pamper your ride – Besides helping to maximize your vehicle’s lifespan, getting the oil and filters changed can give you the satisfaction that comes from getting a few extra kilometres out of every fill-up at the gas station. Do this at the start of the summer before you hit the road!

Assign jobs to your teens – Are your children reaching the age where they seem to come looking for money constantly? Good news! By assigning them jobs that you would otherwise hire someone to perform, like mowing the lawn, cleaning the windows or painting the fence, you can kill two birds with one stone.

There are all kinds of ways to spend less in the summer. Share your own ideas with us on our Facebook page… and have a great summer!

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