71 Ways to Save Money This Summer

by Jan Roland

DIY Landscaping for Less photo

We offer up 71 ways you can save money this summer. Most can be done from the safety of your home. So pick a financial goal and get to saving. You may be surprised how much money you can save by the holidays!

Before you begin looking into these 71 ways to save this summer, first determine what you will do with your savings.

Will you start or contribute to an emergency fund? Pay down debt? Contribute to a retirement account?

Pick a financial goal and then use some of these money-savers to start freeing up some extra cash to put towards it.

1. Batch breakfast

No need to buy frozen waffles and pancakes. Make a batch and freeze them for pennies.

2. Reduce dryer time

Add a tennis ball to your dryer load. It’ll speed up drying time.

3. Stop buying cleaning erasers

You can get the same results with a mixture of ammonia and dish soap.

4. Get nearly-free baby food

Clean then sell your empty baby food jars on eBay or craigslist to crafters. It’ll cover most of the cost of the baby food.

5. Keep the sun out

Reflect the sun streaming in your windows. Hang a Mylar blanket in the window to keep out the sun’s hot rays. (See Cooling Your Home Without Cranking Up the A/C.)

6. Keep snacks handy

Keep some non-perishable snacks in your car. You’ll avoid convenience store stops when your kids request a snack. (See 8 Habits That Plug Parental Spending Leaks.)

7. Stop buying dishwasher rinse agent

No need to buy expensive dishwasher rinse agent. Just fill the dispenser with plain vinegar.

8. Make your own garden mulch

You can use cut open boxes as mulch in your garden. They prevent weeds and help retain water. (See also: Free and Extremely Cheap Sources of Mulch for Your Yard and Garden.)

9. Make your own breads

It is much cheaper to make bread rather than buy it. Here are some simple bread recipes from around the world to get you started.

10. Exfoliate for less

Instead of expensive exfoliating cleansers, put a little baking soda into your hand and mix with your normal soap. The baking soda will act as a very gentle scrub. Or try a few of these recipes for homemade scrubs.

11. Get a better credit card interest rate

If you are carrying credit card debt, see if a balance transfer can help you pay it off more quickly.

12. Save on garden supplies

For anything that comes in a plastic bag, ask the home center if they have torn bags for sale. They’ll give you a great deal just to get rid of them. (See also Cheap and Free Sources of Landscaping Materials.)

13. Eliminate fleas inexpensively

I give my dog a teaspoon of brewer’s yeast every day. Fleas leave her alone. (See Inexpensive Ways to Keep Pets Flea Free.)

14. Save on outdoor home improvement projects

Start with these ideas for outdoor projects that use ‘building seconds’ to save on materials.

15. Save on senior fitness

Many gyms offer free membership through the Medicare Advantage plan. (See also: Special Fitness Deals for Those over 65 )

16. Give second life to kids’ clothes

Some stains just won’t come out. When that happens, dye the item to a darker color. (See also: 9 Ways to Extend the Life of Clothing.)

17. Have some cheap summer fun

With a cheap above ground pool, water pistols and balloons, your kids can have a great time at home.

18. Reduce your A/C bill

Help your air conditioner to work more efficiently by keeping the outside compressor in the shade. If you don’t have natural shade, build a PVC pipe and canvas canopy. (See also: Smart Ways to Save on Summer Cooling Bills.)

19. Find inexpensive plants for landscaping

Don’t buy expensive fully grown plants. Rather plant cuttings from established plants and watch them grow. (See 12 Frugal Landscape Tips for Filling Your Yard with Plants.)

20. Water your garden for free

A rain barrel allows you to capture rain water and distribute it in the garden.

21. Repel mosquitoes for less

Carry a fresh dryer sheet in your waistband or back pocket. It’ll keep mosquitos away. (See also: Insider Report: Eliminating Mosquitoes for Less.)

22. Keep kitty happy

Refresh the catnip in your cat toys by putting it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. (See also: 5 Cat Essentials You Can DIY.)

23. Make your own kid- and pet-safe weed killer

Spray plain white vinegar on weeds. Within 5 days they’ll be dead. (See also: 50 Uses for Vinegar that Can Save You Money.)

24. Save on vacation souvenirs

Use your phone to keep a video diary or your trip instead of overspending on t-shirts and trinkets.

25. Find free vacation attractions

Before you leave home, search for free activities and attractions for your vacation.

26. Keep your bed cooler

Too hot to sleep? Mist your sheets will cool water before you go to bed. Works especially well if you have a ceiling fan.

27. Cut auto insurance costs

When was the last time you compared auto insurance rates? You won’t know if you’re overpaying for coverage if you don’t do periodic comparisons.

28. Stop spending on softener sheets

Pour a capful of liquid softener on a hand towel and add it to your dryer load. Or try one of these homemade fabric softener recipes.

29. Save on rental trucks

When you rent a truck, make sure that you document all damage to the truck prior to driving away. Also make sure that any accessories (hand trucks, dollies, blankets) are accounted for.

30. Save on shampoo

You can buy shampoo and other beauty supplies for cheap online. Buy the bulk sizes for serious savings. Or make your own with these recipes.

Build an Emergency Fund

With these simple tips and tools, you can build an emergency fund, even while living paycheck to paycheck.

31. Spend less on dry cleaning

You can freshen dry-clean only clothes by putting them in the dryer on low heat with a dryer sheet and a damp hand towel.

32. Save time and money in the kitchen

Triple your recipe. Eat one and freeze two for later.

33. Stop paying for unnecessary storage

Don’t pay more to store something than it would cost to sell it now and replace it later.

34. Renew your headlights

You can clean your older car’s headlight lenses with baking soda and toothpaste. Scrub and rinse! (See also: DIY Auto Maintenance for the Frugal Car Owner.)

35. Move into your next rental for less

If you look at a rental that still needs cleaning or painting, offer to do it for reduced rent.

36. Save on paper and cleaning supplies

Visit a local janitorial supply store. You’ll find discounted paper products and cleaning supplies. Or you can make your own cleaners.

37. Get cheaper medical equipment

If your insurance won’t buy needed medical equipment, look on craigslist for used. Items often go on sale after a loved one passes and the equipment is no longer needed.

38. Save on vet visits

If you live in the city, take your pets to a country vet. Their rates are often lower. (See also: 15 Ways to Make Veterinary Bills More Affordable.)

39. Ask for free stuff

Let friends and co-workers know that you’ll take their cast-offs. Sell what you don’t want on eBay or craigslist.

40. Extend the life of razors

If you want your razor to last longer, keep it blade side down in a glass of water.

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41. Make free picture frames

Clear plastic CD cases make great small picture frames.

42. Stop buying eyeglass cleaner

No need for lens cleaning cloths. Just take a soft cloth and wet it with rubbing alcohol. Just make sure alcohol won’t hurt any special coating your glasses may have.

43. Ask for a manager

Get comfortable negotiating for a better price. But before you ask for a discount, find out if the person you’re talking to is authorized to give one.

44. Form a neighborhood work group

My neighbors help each other with home projects that are too big for one person but not big enough to call in a contractor.

45. Become a grinder

Cut the cost of ground beef by buying a roast and asking the butcher to grind it for you, or learn to grind meat on your own.

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46. Open up your windows

When temperatures dip into the 70s, open your windows and put a box fan facing out in one. It’ll draw cooler air into the opposite windows. (See also: Way Cool Savings: A Guide to Fans.)

47. Maintain your gutters for less

Summer is the perfect time to clean and check your gutters. If they get clogged by leaves water can back up into your eves and cause expensive damage. While you’re cleaning them you can check for any loose spots and caulk any leaks.

48. Make frugal family reunion fun

Look for a church or community center to host your family reunion. Much cheaper than a hotel.

49. Save more at the sales rack

Look at the next larger size. Sometimes clothes don’t sell because they’re sized a bit small. (See also: How to Score Big Clothing Savings with Coupon Stacking.)

50. Stencil your walls on the cheap

Don’t buy painting stencils. You can make your own from patterns found online. (See also: Finding Quality Paint at An Affordable Price.)

51. Make your own cheap camping fire starters

No need to bring lighter fluid. Just coat cotton balls with petroleum jelly.

52. Compare prices

Before buying anything expensive at the store, check the online price. Often they’re lower. (See also: 4 Steps to a Guaranteed Smart Buy.)

53. Search for cheaper recipes

Look for recipes from poorer countries. They’re filling, healthy and cost less.

54. Find a good used car

Ask a trusted mechanic if they know of any good used cars. Often it’s a car that they’ve serviced for years.

55. Save on kitty litter

If you’re willing to change it daily, shredded paper works well. And, it’s free. (See also: Cheaper Kitty Litter Alternatives.)

56. Save on your next new car

Shop for financing before you shop for a car. You’ll save yourself quite a bit on interest.

57. Make your own energy drinks

Does the hustle and bustle of summer wear you out? Try making your own energy drinks.

58. Treat your family’s sweet tooth

Instead of going to a restaurant for pie and coffee, have it at home. You can buy a whole pie for about the same as two pieces in a restaurant.

59. Get discounted gift cards

Watch for sites that discount gift cards. Some allow you to buy them for 10% less than face value.

60. Dilute!

Many professional products (like hair salon and janitorial supply) are concentrated. They may cost more per ounce to buy, but when diluted are a bargain.

61. Create cheap party entertainment

Ask your guests to take pictures and load them to a laptop that’s set to display a slideshow on a big screen.

62. Build a low cost walkway

You can create an inexpensive stepping stone walkway by scavenging broken pieces of concrete from construction sites.

63. Extend the life of paint brushes

Save your paintbrushes for another job by storing them handle side down. Any paint that didn’t wash out will drip down onto the handle leaving the bristles clean.

64. Get a salon hair treatment for less

Warm a little virgin olive oil and massage it into your scalp. After an hour, wash it out. Your hair will be full and look marvelous! (See 5 Inexpensive Homemade Hair Treatments.)

65. Start saving on winter costs

Now is a great time to buy propane or heating oil for the winter. Prices are at their lowest during the summer.

66. Get a discount on electric rates

If you use any kind of electrical medical device (like a CPAP machine or nebulizer), check with your electric company about a discount.

67. Seal leaks

Check the joints on your air conditioning ducts. With the fan on, you can tape any leaks. (See also: 9 Steps to Keeping Heating and Cooling Costs Low.)

68. Have a garden swap

Get with your gardening friends and swap any extra fruit and veggies that you cannot use. (See also: How to Frugally Freeze Fruits and Veggies.)

69. Claim the lost and found

Churches, museums and community pools all have lost and founds. Most throw away unclaimed items after a time. Ask if you can have those items.

70. Do your own reupholstery

Sign up for an upholstery class at your community college. For your class project bring in a chair that you want reupholstered.

71. Clean DVDs on the cheap

Clean your DVDs with eye glass cleaner. It’s cheaper than DVD cleaner.

Reviewed July 2022

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