For kids everywhere, summer is the best time of the year. With school out of session and warm temperatures finally settled into regions everywhere, the possibilities for having fun and making memories are endless. But this abundance of free time and a typically less structured schedule can end up costing you as a parent. Whether it’s from signing kids up for camp or getting them involved in the long list of other summertime activities, the warmest season of the year usually involves dishing out a bit more dough to make it through. And while it may seem like a natural expense that you just have to eat each year, there are easy ways to reduce the amount you spend. Even better, your kids can be the ones driving up your savings. So as you find yourself preparing for the summer this year, consider these tips to help you put some money back into your wallet.
With the prominence of electronic devices these days, it seems like fewer and fewer children are engaging in the fun to be had in the great outdoors. And though our couch potatoes could likely use the physical activity, staying locked up inside all day is also costing us a sizable chunk of change. Whether it comes from blaring television sets, the countless lights left on, or the constant run of the A/C, each minute, hour, and a day that pass with your kids remaining inside for solid lengths of time will run up your electricity bill. In order to reduce this expense, help your kids to start getting outside. You could have them throw a ball around, play some old-school games like tag and hide & seek, or even take a refreshing dip in the pool. Whatever it is, getting kids out of the house consistently for a few hours will do wonders for your energy expenses. And who knows, it may even get a bit easier to coax them outside over time.
Walk and Bike Rather than Drive
Think about your proximity to the spots your kids will frequent this summer. How far are they really? Often times the pool, playground, or the houses of your children’s friends are within biking distance and sometimes even walking distance. This year, drive less and encourage your kids to walk more. The constant physical activity for children improves mood and energy levels while helping overall heart health as well. And for you, this can spell out big savings as less drive time means fewer trips to fill up. Not only is that better for your wallet, it is better for the environment as well.
When the temperature begins increasing, all too often we think the only way to fight off the heat is by cranking up the air conditioning in our homes. The good news is that there are natural alternatives that can cool off our houses without costing us a cent. By cracking a window, gentle breezes are able to circulate, driving out uncomfortable heat. This is particularly useful at night when temperatures outside have dropped, while our houses may not have cooled off. You can open windows for a cooldown before you sleep or possibly leave them open to allow for constant airflow. Night time is also great for reducing the heat in your home due to the tendency of lights to heat up rooms when turned on.
Take Shorter Showers
Hot or cold outside, most people are inclined to take a warm shower after a day of work or physical activity. For adults, this may be an easy and concise routine but for children, that is not always the case. In addition to leaving the water running to heat for extended periods, time from start to completion of a shower can be staggering. And while this is an incredible waste of gallons of water, it is also a waste of the energy used to heat and maintain the temperature of the water. Water heating constitutes about twenty-five percent of consumed energy, meaning if you can reduce your use of it, you will realize savings. By getting your kids to abide by shorter shower times(and shortening your own time if possible), you will help yourself realize some monthly savings.
Though this may seem like a simple hobby, reading does more than transport people to far off lands. It provides a break from electronics(assuming you are not relying on a Kindle or other form of a tablet), which for kids is important because it helps to stimulate the mind while also getting them away from those pesky energy hogs like game consoles and televisions. This will cut down on your energy use from devices and can have other financial benefits. Because reading does not have to be confined to the house, the opportunity exists to cut back on your electricity consumption even more.
With the summer looming just beyond the horizon, there are a number of things to think about. These tips are meant to make your job a bit easier and could even make this summer a bit more memorable for your children. The secret is to find what works for you and run with it. When everything is said and done, it may have been just what you needed to save some money.