12 Frugal Living Tips For Summer
I look forward to summer for many reasons, but the number one reason is because our living costs go waaay down. We turn off our heat, head outdoors and take full advantage of the bounty that summer provides. And we enjoy every sun-soaked moment of it while still planning and puttin’ up food and supplies for the leaner months ahead.
In true homesteader style, we work hard during the summer months and are always thinking about the next season and even the whole year ahead. But we make sure to take time to enjoy the simple things in life too. Because that’s why we chose this lifestyle after all.
If you’ve found yourself on a similar path or you’re simply looking for ways to save a little extra cash this summer and live well for less, here are 12 tried and tested frugal living tips for summer that you can use to save money this season without sacrificing a thing. Because summer is the time of year when we finally get to enjoy the fruits of our labour and the abundance that nature provides, and there’s no price tag on that.
Related: 12 Frugal Living Tips For Spring
1. Attend Free Events
Summer is THE time for free outdoor events in just about every city, small town and rural community. Fairs, parades, outdoor movies, barbecues and celebrations abound in the summer months. Check out what’s going on near you and plan some free family time around your local calendar of events.
2. Go Camping
There’s nothing more frugal than temporarily living off-grid for a few days (except maybe doing it full time). But camping can get expensive if you’re not careful. But all you really need is a tent, a sleeping bag, some basic cooking equipment, a way to make fire and a enough food to get you through and you’re set to live money-free in the wilderness for as long as you like! Play cards, sing campfire songs and tell stories for entertainment. And if you have your permits, maybe even do a little fishing and hunting to feed yourself and stock your freezer.
To make sure your camping trip stays frugal, opt for a site at a free campground or find somewhere a little more off the beaten path.
3. Cook Outdoors
Whether you’re off camping or chillin’ at home, you can save some money on electricity by cooking outdoors this summer. Fire up the barbecue at the very least, and cook over a campfire whenever possible.
If you want to up your outdoor cooking game, try cooking in a dutch oven or use a Sun Oven to cook, bake or even dehydrate your food outside using solar power and zero electricity. Good for your wallet, good for the planet. And most importantly, good eating all around!
4. Lay Out Under the Stars
If you live outside of the city away from all of the bright lights, you probably have a great spot nearby to lay out under the stars. And if you live in the city, you should probably find one.
Summer is the best time to stare up at the endless night sky and contemplate life and our place in this vast Universe. Get a map and try to spot the constellations. Have a competition to see who can find the most. And don’t miss the annual meteor shower that happens every August in the northern hemisphere. The meteor showers take place between August 10 and August 13 each year.
5. Hit the Beach
If you live near an ocean or a lake, schedule in some beach time this summer and head to the shore for a free day of family fun in the sun (or some relaxing alone time with a good book if you’re so lucky). Bring a cooler with a few cold drinks, some snacks and sandwiches, towels and chairs and a bucket of toys for the kids to play with and you have all you need for a frugal day down by the water this summer.
6. Plant a Fall Garden
I was going to first suggest that you should grow your own food, but by summertime you probably should have thought about that already. Hopefully you are already growing your own food (but if not, definitely follow the next tip to go frugal this summer). Summertime, however, is the time to start planning for a fall garden.
Plant cooler weather crops like winter squash, beets, carrots, cabbage, kale and salad greens and enjoy harvesting from your home garden well into the autumn and even winter months. Check out fall planting guides and first frost dates for your local gardening zone to know what to plant when.
7. Shop the Farmers Markets
If you’re not growing your own garden (and even if you are), hit up your local farmers markets this summer to get your hands on organic, local, seasonal produce at a good price. Plan meals around what’s in season and cook frugally with the bounty that summer provides. And stock up on that goodness to preserve some for winter when organic local produce is scarce and the cost of living goes up. It’s well worth the investment now!
8. Preserve the Harvest
Speaking of preserving, be sure to do as much as possible this summer and don’t let anything go to waste! Whether preserving your own food that you grew at home, fresh produce from your local farmers markets or food you’ve foraged, gathered, or hunted, be sure to use what you can fresh and preserve the rest to enjoy throughout the rest of the year. Learn to can, dehydrate and ferment foods. And if you’re really short on time or don’t want the hassle, at least throw your excess in the freezer for a later date. Stock up now while supply outweighs demand and you’ll be thankful when supplies are low and costs spike in the winter.
9. Forage & Collect
Summer is the time when everything in nature is most abundant. Take advantage (without taking more than your share) and head out into the wilderness on a foraging trip for berries or other wild fruit or greens, or to collect up some firewood to stock your woodshed for winter. Or maybe just take a trip to the beach to collect seashells, driftwood or other fun things to create art out of. Either way, now is the time to gather up all that Mother Nature has to offer and put it to use in resourceful and creative ways!
10. Live Electricity-Free (Almost)
Take advantage of the hot, sunny weather and put laundry out on a line to dry over the summer months. Save money on heating costs by turning your heat off and letting the sun warm your house (or closing your blinds and opening a window to cool it down). If you use and/or store solar power, now’s the time to soak up the sun! Turn off the TV and go play outside. Cook and dine and entertain outdoors around a campfire. Read a book. Whatever you do, do your best to power down and unplug as often as possible. Summer makes it easier than any other season to live without electricity and save money in the process. Take advantage!
11. Repurpose Something
Summer’s a perfect time to clear out some clutter and find things you forgot you had. Take a walk around your property or clear out a cluttered closet and decide what to keep, toss and repurpose. Maybe you have some old sheets that can be remade into a dress or some cushion coverings. Or make a rag rug out of old fabric scraps.
If you tend to collect scrap wood, metal or other building materials throughout the year, summer is a great time to put these resources to use. Here are some simple, frugal project ideas that can be made from scrap wood and other materials you might have laying around.
12. Plan Ahead For A Frugal Winter
While winter might seem decades away, rest assured it’s only a few months. And there’s no time like the present to start planning ahead for the cold, busy and expensive winter months and holiday season that’s coming whether you like it or not.
Whether you’re preserving food and “puttin’ it up” for winter, making extra jams, jellies, pickles and preserves to give as Christmas gifts later on, gathering natural materials for homemade projects you can make for gifts or just to keep busy over the winter, or even just stashing away some extra “snowy day” cash for the season when living costs seem to skyrocket, it’s a wise idea to start thinking about wintertime now and start putting a little extra away for later while everything else is cheap an abundant. It might be more of a frugal tip for winter than for summer, but to live a truly frugal life you need to always be thinking ahead.
What else do you do to live frugally during the summer? I’d love to continue to grow this list so I totally encourage you to leave your own frugal living tips in the comments below:)
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