How to save money when gas prices and inflation are high

An inflation rate above 8% means almost everything is more expensive this summer – from groceries to gas, plane tickets to air conditioning.

But higher prices don’t mean summer fun is out of reach. There are many great strategies to consider that could help you save money on gas, as well as tips to keep in mind for reducing your home‘s air conditioning costs, going on vacation, and more.

How to save money this summer

Here are eight tips for saving money when you’re on vacation or staying close to home, even as prices go up everywhere.

Be smart with air conditioning

The United States Energy Information Administration is forecast that households will spend an average of $454 on electricity in June, July and August, or about $151 per month. This means it pays to be strategic about when and how you refresh your home.

Consider raising your thermostat a degree or two and be sure to close the doors to rooms you’re not using so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard. You can also use a smart thermostat to set a slightly warmer temperature in your home when you’re away. There are also other creative ways to stay cool while you sleep, potentially allowing you to switch your AC to fan mode or turn it off completely at night.

Enjoy the great outdoors

When the weather is nice, consider skipping an indoor outing like a restaurant meal, shopping trip, or movie night in favor of a picnic, hike, or other outdoor activity. air. Many state parks have free admission days, and walks and other outdoor activities are a great way to stay active without paying for a gym membership.

If you’re looking for an extra boost to get out, consider canceling a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu for a few months. Even downgrading to a cheaper level of service or skipping certain pay channels can save a few dollars. Switching from Netflix’s premium plan ($19.99 per month) to its basic plan ($9.99 per month) for three months will save you $30. If you have younger children, you can spend that extra money on water toys to use throughout the summer.

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Celebrate weddings more frugally

Summer is wedding season and 2022 should be the hottest year for weddings since 1984. The average cost to attend a wedding in 2019 was $430, according to a study by wedding website The Knot, and costs are even higher for out-of-town events. If you have a busy wedding schedule and a tight budget this year, it makes sense to cut back on your expenses.

You can rent a dress or costume from a service like Rent the Runway instead of buying a new one, and you can share accommodations with a group if you’re traveling out of town. Be sure to pick your registry gift early (so you can find something that suits your price range), or consider a homemade wedding gift if there’s really no room in your budget. It’s really the thought that counts.

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Be careful where you get gas

Gas prices are at an all-time high, averaging about $4.60 per gallon. That’s a whopping $1.60 more than this time last year. If you’re taking road trips this summer, it’s a good idea to pay a little more attention to where you fill up, especially around state lines.

The GasBuddy app said that since gas taxes and other costs differ from state to state, “waiting to cross state lines can either cost you money or save you a lot of money on gas “.

In Illinois, for example, a gallon of regular gas has averaged $4.97 these days. But across the border in Iowa, the average gas price drops to $4.17. In California, drivers now pay an average of $6.07, compared to $4.91 across the border in Arizona.

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Travel with fuel economy in mind

Making small changes to the way you drive is another way to save money on gas. Avoiding hard acceleration and braking is not only safer, it will also improve your fuel economy. Using cruise control on the highway also saves fuel, as does turning off the engine when parked rather than idling.

And with gas prices so high, consider taking public transit, biking, or walking whenever possible to cut driving costs completely.

Stock up on seasonal items

If there’s a little slack in your budget, the summer months can be a great time to stock up on seasonal items, which can save you money on the products you’ll need. later.

The warmer months are a great time to shop for summer clothes due to heavy sales surrounding the July 4 holiday, according to consumer analyst Julie Ramhold. She expects discounts to average between 40% and 50%. Also look for deals on outdoor gear and sportswear throughout the summer.

Other seasonal items like garden tools and porch furniture also tend to be discounted in August, and Ramhold predicts consumers will see the best deals on barbecue grills and lawn mowers at the end of the season in September. and October.

Buy smart at the grocery store

Food prices increased by 11% compared to last year. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to cut costs at the supermarket. For example, you can swap out expensive cuts of meat for cheaper cuts or opt for frozen meat instead of fresh.

Local, seasonal produce (such as corn and tomatoes in the summer) tends to be fresher and less expensive than out-of-season produce. For many non-perishable items, it’s cheaper to buy the generic option instead of the brand name. Also be sure to take advantage of store coupons and rewards programs.

Travel off-peak

If you’re going on vacation this summer, avoiding the most popular travel days and times can help you stick to your budget. You’ll save an average of $75 on domestic airfare when you fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday instead of the weekend, according to the Hopper travel search site. Booking a holiday for September and October – or sometimes even just at the end of August – rather than the peak summer travel period is also an easy and reliable way to save a bundle.

This logic also applies to destinations: it’s cheaper to travel to less popular places and you’ll also save money when you get there. an april report de Hopper found that a round-trip ticket to Ibiza, Spain would cost travelers more than $1,000 this summer. A ticket to Tulum, Mexico, which offers many of the same amenities as Ibiza, was $455, more than 50% less.

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