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71 Ways to Save Money This Summer

by Jan Roland

Before you begin looking into these many ways to save, 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 71 money-savers to start freeing up some extra cash to put towards it.

1. Poor College Student? Can't afford your textbooks? Tell your professor. They may lend you a copy or tell you where to find one cheap.

2. Reduce Dryer Time. Add a tennis ball to your dryer load. It'll speed up drying time.

3. Homemade Cleaning Erasers. You can get the same results with a mixture of ammonia and dish soap.

4. 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. Mylar Blanket Cooling. Reflect the sun streaming in your windows. Hang a mylar blanket in the window to keep out the sun's hot rays.

6. Handy Snacks. Keep some non-perishable snacks in your car. You'll avoid convenience store stops when your kids request a snack.

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

8. Cheap and Easy Garden Mulch. You can use cut open boxes as mulch in your garden. They prevent weeds and help retain water.

9. Apartment Laundry Trick. It's tempting to stuff as much as you can into the dryer. Don't do it. Hot air can't circulate in an over-full dryer. You'll add to your drying time.

10. Skin Soft Scrub. 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.

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11. 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. Cheaper 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.

13. Inexpensive Flea Treatments. I give my dog a teaspoon of brewer's yeast every day. Fleas leave her alone.

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

15. Senior Fitness. Many gyms offer free membership through the Medicare Advantage plan.

16. Second Life for Kids Clothes. Some stains just won't come out. When that happens, dye the item to a darker color.

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

18. Reducing Your AC 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.

19. Inexpensive Landscaping. Don't buy expensive fully grown plants. Rather plant cuttings from established plants and watch them grow.

20. Free Water for Your Garden. A rain barrel allows you to capture rain water and distribute it in the garden.

21. Mosquito Repellant. Carry a fresh dryer sheet in your waistband or back pocket. It'll keep mosquitos away.

22. Catnip Trick. Refresh the catnip in your cat toys by putting it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.

23. Kid & Pet Safe Weed Killer. Spray plain white vinegar on weeds. Within 5 days they'll be dead.

24. My Vacation Memories. Save money on souvenirs. Use your phone to keep a video diary or your trip.

25. Free Vacation Attractions. Before you leave home search for free activities and attractions for your vacation.

26. 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. Auto Insurance Savings. 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. Don't Need Softener Sheets. Pour a capful of liquid softener on a hand towel and add it to your dryer load.

29. Rental Truck Trick. 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. Shampoo for Less. You can buy shampoo and other beauty supplies for cheap online. Buy the bulk sizes for serious savings.

31. Dry Clean Only? 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. Cooking Time Saver. Triple your recipe. Eat one and freeze two for later.

33. Before You Store. Don't pay more to store something than it would cost to sell it now and replace it later.

34. Headlight Care. You can clean your older car's headlight lenses with baking soda and toothpaste. Scrub and rinse!

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

36. Toilet Paper, etc. Visit a local janitorial supply store. You'll find discounted paper products and cleaning supplies.

37. 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. My Vet Isn't Local. If you live in the city, take your pets to a country vet. Their rates are often lower.

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

41. Free Picture Frames. Clear plastic CD cases make great small picture frames.

Interest rates could be creeping up this year. Consider these 5 reasons to refinance your mortgage while you still can.

42. Eyeglass Cleaners. No need for lens cleaning cloths. Just take a soft cloth and wet it with rubbing alcohol.

43. Ask for a Manager. Before you ask for a discount, find out if the person you're talking to is authorized to give one.

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

45. 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.

46. Cool Breeze. 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.

47. Gutter Maintenance. 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. Family Reunion Fun. Look for a church or community center to host your family reunion. Much cheaper than a hotel.

49. Sale Rack Secret. Look at the next larger size. Sometimes clothes don't sell because they're sized a bit small.

50. Cheaper Stenciling. Don't buy painting stencils. You can make your own from patterns found online.

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

52. Prior Price Check. Before buying anything expensive at the store, check the online price. Often they're lower.

53. Around the World Groceries. Look for recipes from poorer countries. They're filling, healthy and cost less.

54. Finding 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.

Want to pay off your car faster? Consider refinancing into a lower auto rate.

55. Cheaper Kitty Litter. If you're willing to change it daily, shredded paper works well. And, it's free.

56. New Car Shopping. Shop for financing before you shop for a car.

57. DIY 'Oxygen' Cleaner. You can make your own by mixing one cup hot water, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide.

58. Our 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 2 pieces in a restaurant.

59. Discount 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. 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. A Low Cost Walkway. You can create an inexpensive stepping stone walkway by scavenging broken pieces of concrete from construction sites.

63. Paintbrush Protection. 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.

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64. Salon Hair Treatment. 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!

65. Strike While the Weather's Hot. Now is a great time to buy propane or heating oil for the winter. Prices are at their lowest during the summer.

66. Special 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. Cold Air Control. Check the joints on your air conditioning ducts. With the fan on you can tape any leaks.

68. Harvest Time. Get with your gardening friends and swap any extra fruit and veggies that you cannot use.

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

71. Cheapest DVD Cleaner. Clean your DVDs with eye glass cleaner. It's cheaper than DVD cleaner.

Take the Next Step:

  • Decide which of these tips you'll use to start saving money this week!
  • What can you do with the money you save? Use our simple tool to find the best savings or money market account rates. It's completely private, easy to use and you'll know what rate is available to you in seconds!
  • Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!

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