Cut Sizzling Summer Costs06.15.11
Summertime weather is here. And you know what that means: spontaneous travels, hot fashion and sizzling times as the season emerges into an opportunity to head out to new places and create new adventures. But with all of the summer excursions often comes added costs to this blazing time of year. If you’re not sure where to cut in travel expenses and energy costs, we can help. Contributor Cotton Candy contributor Ornella Grosz, author of Moneylicious: A Financial Clue for Generation Y, shares five ways to your cut summer costs.
No. 1 Consider Hostels, Not Hotels
If you have an adventurous spirit then thousands of inexpensive, hostels across the world may be the way of travel for you. Hostels, many times, are the choice of stay for young globetrotters who love biking, hiking and exploring in foreign countries. Now if the minimalist experience sounds like one you and your friends might enjoy, you can scour a seemingly endless resource of options at Hostels.com. Gather your girlfriends, book a room and split the costs. Although modest, you’ll have the opportunity to indulge in the culture and experience the traditions without spending hundreds of dollars.
No. 2 Exchange or Rent a Home
House swapping – or home exchange – simply means trading off homes for a week or so, so that both homeowners can try another location for a vacation. A practice believed to have originated in the 1950s, house swapping can be a viable option to save money, emerge yourself in local culture and get away from tourist areas. Some of the most popular Web sites for house swapping include HomeExchange.com and HomeforSwap.com. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of exchanging your home, try renting a vacation home for a short period of time. Top sites to search for vacation rentals include VacationRentals.com and HomeAway.com.
No. 3 Go on a Staycation
Perhaps this summer the budget is tighter than in times past. That situation doesn’t mean you have to give up the idea of unwinding. Explore your city and neighborhood. Dine at unique restaurants in your area, escape to a spa salon for a day or attend free events in the city parks throughout the summer. Remember, you don’t need to leave home to enjoy your summer vacation.
No. 4 Remain Flexible
Rather than picking your destination, let the destination choose you. Sign up for e-mail alerts from services that provide travel deals, such as Airfarewatchdog.com. When an airfare drops on flights you get a gentle, digital reminder. Also try Tavelzoo’s “Top 20” e-newsletter for alerts on airfare, hotels and car rental packages.
No. 5 Cut Your Electric Bill
Summer cooling costs, such as the price of running the A/C throughout the day, can make up more than half of your electric bill. With above average temps already plaguing parts of the country this year, consider the following steps to help manage your electric bill.
a) Install a programmable thermostat. For every degree cooler, you can expect to increase your energy use by three to five percent, bolstering the cost of your energy bill.
b) Replace your air filters. Dirty air filters reduce the effectiveness of the A/C by restricting the airflow, which means your air conditioner has to run more increasing your costs.
c) Properly seal leaks in your heating and cooling duct systems. Energy workers say gaps in your ductwork can increase your bill by as much as 30 percent and can allow air contaminants to enter your home.
Written by: Ornella Grosz