Ah, summer in Michigan! The days are long, the weather is gorgeous and the temptation to spend money on a good time is all around us. Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) knows that with so much to do this season, it can be easy to loosen the grip on your budget and spend, spend, spend. This is why MSUFCU has taken the opportunity to share its top five picks on budget-friendly options this summer to help you save money and beat the heat (or soak it up!).
- Enjoy a home cooked meal. Busy schedules can often lead us to settling for the convenience and marked up prices of eating out, but be careful because those expenses can add up! Don’t let convenience govern your budget and drain your accounts. Things to think about when looking to spend less money on food include buying groceries, preparing meals more, and eating out less. Before venturing off to the store to get groceries for the week, make a list and only buy the things that are on it. You will find yourself saving money right then and there by avoiding impulse purchases. Fortunately, the summer is a great time of year to make food at home, with more opportunities to fire up the grill and many varieties of fresh, local fruits and vegetables available to you and your family. It’s a great time for summertime savings and healthy eating!
- Earn extra spending money. Take time to look in your closet and around the house for things you no longer use. Those items might not have value to you any longer, but someone else might see it as a treasure worth buying. Investigate the events in your neighborhood this summer to see if there will be any community yard sales in the coming weeks, or just find a weekend that works well with your schedule to set up shop. While it will take a little work up front finding items, setting prices, and advertising your sale, the reward at the end is extra money to put towards something you’ve been looking forward to this summer.
- Consider Taking Day Trips. Planning road trips around Michigan is a great way to travel on a budget and when it comes to saving money while traveling, the most important thing is to plan and research your trip ahead of time. If you’re not careful, the items you find yourself needing or wanting to buy could add up quickly while on the road and at your destination. To keep your trip low cost, pack meals, snacks, and plenty of water to avoid spending money at rest stops and fast food restaurants. Before you hit the road research any possible free activities your destination may have, such as museums, hiking trails, public parks, or beaches. Save money by planning ahead to ensure you have the right necessities for a happy and safe adventure.
- Attend Free Community Events. We’ve finally reached the season of longer days and warmer temperatures, and there’s so much to do in Michigan! From festivals and races to live performances series, local events will help you avoid breaking the bank while having fun. Check out what activities local businesses and towns near you have to offer. You may be surprised at how quickly your calendar can fill up with fun and free activities for the entire family.
- Get Involved. One of the best ways to enjoy summer without spending money is to get involved in your community—and the warm temperatures are a great excuse to get started! There are plenty of organizations that are in need of volunteers this time of year, so start exploring your options now. If you love animals, volunteering at a nearby animal shelter may be the perfect option for you. Shelters are always looking for volunteers for both indoor and outdoor tasks, but if your goal is to enjoy the sunshine, consider signing up to walk the dogs. Taking some time out of your schedule to help others can have a huge impact on your community, and it will give you the satisfaction of knowing that you made a difference.
Whatever you choose to do, MSUFCU wants to wish you and your family a safe, relaxing and happy summer!