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10 tips to help you save money through the summer

19 February 2020

Summer can be an expensive time, with lots of socialising, days out, and, if you're a grandparent, probably some childcare duties too. Find out how to make your money go the extra mile in summer.

Basket of clean towels and washing online in the garden
Let the sun and warm summer breeze do the drying for you

1. Make your own ice-lollies

It's the little things that can add up – so be prepared when children demand lollies or grandchildren come to stay by making a batch of fresh fruit juice lollies instead of buying expensive ice creams.

Detachable lolly moulds can be filled with fruit juice, pureed fruits, coconut water or yoghurt; you could even get creative by making two colour lollies using a combination of fruits and juices.

For a host of ice cream and sorbet recipes, have a look at our fabulous recipe hub

2. Check your fridge

If you're going to make some lollies, it's a timely reminder to check your fridge/freezer. Regularly defrost them, as just a few centimetres of frost will make them work harder than they need to.

While you are about it, check your fridge temperature. A fridge should operate at between 0 to 5 degrees C. Just a few degrees colder than necessary can increase energy consumption by up to 25%.

3. Eat light

Choose lighter summer food such as salad vegetables and fruit. As they're seasonal, they should be plentiful and cheaper. Plus, if you opt for salads, you don't need to use a stove, hob or oven and that willl save energy too.

Look online for "No cook recipes" – there are some delicious meal ideas which will give you lots of inspiration. 

Healthy salad recipes

4. Pack a picnic

Summer is a great time for family get togethers and days out, but buying lunch at some attractions can give many people financial indigestion.

Make a picnic part of the fun – ask everyone to bring along something interesting (and to avoid everyone bringing sausage rolls or pork pies), set out a rug and have a feast.

Five gadgets for a last-minute picnic

5. Get a deal on train travel

For longer journeys, enjoy longer daylight hours by switching travel times to off-peak, when the fares are cheaper. Booking in advance will also save you money - but be sure to check cancellation policies as often the best deals don't allow refunds.

It isn't just students that are entitled to cheaper travel, if you're a regular traveller look at railcards such as the Two Together card if you're a couple and the Senior Railcard if you're 60+.

During summer holidays it isn't unusual to see some really great offers for children, so keep an eye out if you're planning a trip with the grandkids. Many attractions will even give you a discount if you've come by train as part of the National Rail Days Out 2 for 1 offer.

Use the Trainline's Best Fare Finder to help you get the best price on your trip.

6. Ditch bottled water

In summer months you should definitely drink more water – but now is the time to get out of the habit of buying costly bottles and adding to the mounds of plastic already clogging up landfill.

Buy a sturdy water bottle or even a water filter, fill it with tap water and keep it in the fridge for a continuous supply of refreshing cool water.

You could even save on sugary squashes by adding your own fruit to flavour the water; invest in a fruit infuser bottle and add cucumber and mint for a refreshing treat, or lemon and ginger for something a little zingy.  

Hate still water? Sodastream is there for you. The staple of the 1970s is back big time with a sleek, modern design and it'll instantly carbonate your tap or filtered water. The longer you press the buttom the fizzier it'll become so the added bonus is you can get an amount of fizz that's perfect for your own taste.

7. Save water where possible

If you need to run the hot tap for a while before the warm water comes though, don't let it swirl away down the drain – keep a few large empty milk bottles to hand under the sink, and collect the cold water to throw on the plants.

You can also use bath water to keep the flowers from getting too thirsty, or investing in a rainwater butt will help too – and as lots of plants thrive if they're given rainwater instead of tap water, you might be rewarded with more vibrant blooms.

If you haven't already got one a Hippo bag in the toilet cistern will reduce the amount of water you're flushing down the loo.

Get great ideas for saving money, plus information on your consumer rights, pensions, tax and much more in our Money section.

8. Leave the car at home

Most car journeys are within two miles of where we live. In warm, dry weather that's one less excuse not to get your bicycle out.

Make it a rule to use your bike when the journey is two miles or less, or even walk. Your bank account, your body and the environment will thank you for it.

Would an electric bike be right for me?

9 Dry laundry outside

If you have the space to hang out wet washing outside, let the sun and warm summer breeze do the drying for you. As well as saving you electricity the sun's ultraviolet rays will kill bacteria on your clothes, sheets and towels.

If you don’t have access to an outside area, try using your dryer on a lower heat setting, partially drying your shirts before letting them air-dry the rest of the way, or putting them on a laundry airer by an open window. 

10. Plan ahead for future home and garden projects

As summer begins to wind down, it's the perfect time to be on the lookout for end of season sales.

Landscape plants, tools, and other outdoor project materials tend to go on sale as people begin to look towards autumn and spending less time outside. Also keep your eyes peeled for savings on outdoor furniture and lighting. 

5 ways to liven up your patio

11. Bag a bargain holiday

If you're booking a holiday over summer there isn't much getting around the fact that you'll be paying peak prices, so it's always better to book outside of school holidays, if you can. If you're forced to book during peak July and August dates then try and be flexible with your plans - for example flying at night is often cheaper than flying during the day. And did you know it's usually cheaper to fly on a Tuesday than any other day?

It's always worth checking for last-minute deals, if a package holiday happens to have some spaces left chances are you'll get a bargain compared to having to be restricted by set dates - that's especially great news if it's an all-inclusive as you won't be racking up those extra meal and drink costs.

It pays to look at where you might be planning a holiday to. Cities like Paris, Barcelona and Benidorm will break the bank a little more than other places. Some of the cheapest cities in Europe are Sofia in Bulgaria, Krakow in Poland, Bucharest in Romania and Belgrade in Serbia. These cities are full of exciting and historic sites but cost around €24 a day, compared to Paris' recommended daily budget of €180.

12. Be savvy with your travel money

Whether you're planning on paying by card or cash don't get ripped off. Don't leave buying your cash til the last minute where you might end up paying over the odds at the airport, shop around well in advance for the best deal, being sure to allow for any currency ordered online to arrive by post.

If you're paying by plastic watch our for exchange rate, commission and charges building up. Check the additional charges for your credit and debit card before you leave and ideally look for a card that doesn't levy additional charges on foreign currency transactions. If you don't want a new credit card, or you aren't eligible for one, a prepaid currency card might be the answer. Revolut, for example, lets you load up money in different currencies on your card and you can control transfers into each currency wallet via an app and use the card wherever MasterCard is accepted. 

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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