Do you spend more money in summer than in other seasons? If so, you’re not alone.

People often make the most of their long summer days, and the cost of all their beach trips, gardening supplies and more adds up. But with a little ingenuity and planning, you can fill each day with enjoyment and avoid overspending. Let these budgeting tips start you on your way.

Get outside

The desire: Summer means adventure. While you’re keeping safety and health in mind, you also want to enjoy every opportunity. And that means getting outside.

1 big thing: Plan your mega summer vacation for the end of the season. Not only will you avoid bigger crowds, but you may also steer clear of peak prices. Your local AAA Travel Advisor can help you plan and find money-saving AAA Member benefits for your trip.

4 more summer budgeting tips:

  • Seek out free things to do, such as local museums and socially distanced events. There are even two days with free entrance to our national parks this summer (Aug. 4 and Aug. 25).
  • Pack a picnic when you venture out to eat. Dining at home? Consider grilling outdoors a few times each week as a way to save on energy costs. The heat from your indoor oven and stove causes your air conditioner to work overtime, costing you more on your utility bill.
  • Commute by bicycle, if possible, or ride it for short errands. Not only will you save gas money, but it’ll help create a healthier you. If you get a flat tire or your bike becomes inoperable, no worries. Your AAA Membership also includes free bicycle service.
  • Consider camping for your next three-day weekend. Camping can help you disconnect digitally and is less expensive than your average hotel. (Pro tip: You can save at many campgrounds with your AAA Membership)

Reconsider the basics

The desire: Making smart decisions is, well, smart. One area that you may overlook is your routine. Reexamining some of those basics this summer could be a money-saver.

1 big thing: How many times each week do you use your credit card? Now, how often do you really think about what you’re getting back from that card? A new credit card may offer more valuable perks, such as cash back on everyday purchases.

4 more summer budgeting tips:

  • Eliminate (even temporarily) one of your entertainment streaming services. More time spent outdoors this summer may mean less time in front of your TV.
  • Download apps from the restaurants you eat at most often. Those reward points (and free food offers) add up.
  • Bundle your insurance policies. Companies offer big savings when you group your car insurance with your home, condominium, renters and even life insurance policies.
  • Wash your car at home instead of paying for a car wash. Here are 10 car-cleaning tips.

Get greener

The desire: Opting for a more ecofriendly lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive. A few simple, small changes can create a healthier home and save you money.

1 big thing: For the average household, almost half the annual energy bill (or more than $900) goes to heating and cooling, according to Energy Star. Being smart about how you control your comfort can help lower that bill. One idea: Get a smart thermostat that automatically adjusts to energy-saving temperatures when you’re asleep or away. Before you research thermostats, add the AAA Discounts web extension to your internet browser. It will show relevant AAA savings when you search on Amazon.com, Google, Yahoo, Bing or AAA partner websites.

4 more summer budgeting tips:

  • Conserve gasoline by driving economically (for example, accelerate gently and avoid high speeds). AAADrive on the AAA Mobile app can help you see how smoothly you’re driving.
  • Plant a garden with veggies, fruit and herbs. It can save you money if it’s done correctly. Selecting essentials that can be successfully grown in your climate is a first step. So, too, is growing items that are typically more expensive in a grocery, such as melons and tomatoes.
  • Recycling is green. Even better: Find a new way to use something old so you avoid buying that product. Used plastic water bottles can be turned into a cute kids’ piggy bank or bird feeder. Soda cans can become cookie cutters. Cardboard boxes can be covered to make stylish bins.
  • Speaking of recycling, consider ways to get money for items you no longer use. Sell old clothes using apps. Plan a (COVID-19 safe) yard sale with neighbors. Upcycle other items into hand-crafted treasures that you can sell online or give as gifts.

Plan now for what’s ahead

The desire: While you focus on these budgeting tips for summer, the new seasons will be here before you know it. (We’re looking at you, holidays.) Now may be the best time to prepare for what you’re going to spend on later.

1 big thing: If you’re thinking winter is a great time to buy a car, you aren’t alone. End-of-the-year quotas can mean big savings for shoppers. Knowing now what others are paying for the car you want can help you get a better deal down the road. With the AAA Auto Buying Program, you can do just that—and lock in member savings.

4 more summer budgeting tips:

  • Planning early for your trip later in the year—and even next year—generally can save you money and help ensure you have the vacation you desire. Your AAA Travel Advisor can help you make informed travel decisions—from reserving a trip to selecting travel insurance—so you can explore confidently.
  • Sweater weather may be the last thing on your mind. But shopping for off-season clothes can save you money later on. If being on-trend is less of a worry, look for closeout sales on last season’s line. AAA Members who shop at Tanger Outlets can get a free coupon book with discounts of up to 20% at select merchants.
  • Remember when you filed your taxes and told yourself to make some changes before next year? Now that you’re well into the new year, don’t forget to get started. Ideas include taking a closer look at your 401(k) and IRA contributions and considering any life changes that could impact your tax status. When you need help, AAA Banking offers financial services built with the value and security you expect.
  • Save this one for a rainy day. One way to avoid future overspending is to identify what you “need” vs. what you “want.” So, think about your financial goals and start making your lists.

Top AAA Membership Benefits

Here is how to make the most of every month with your AAA Membership.

AAA and its agents do not provide legal, tax or financial advice. Please consult your professional advisor prior to the purchase of any policy or contract.

Products are offered by Auto Club Trust, FSB. Equal Opportunity Lender. Member FDIC.

Offers and participating retailers are subject to change at any time. Restrictions may apply. Be sure to show your valid AAA Membership Card before you make your purchase, as retailers and AAA cannot honor discounts after the sale. Discounts and savings opportunities subject to eligibility requirements. See AAA.com/Save for more details.

For information about AAA Dollars, go to AAA.com/Dollars.

Coverage is subject to all policy terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations. Discounts and savings opportunities subject to eligibility requirements. Subject to underwriting requirements. Insurance underwritten by one of the following companies: Auto Club Insurance Association, MemberSelect Insurance Company, Auto Club Group Insurance Company, Auto Club Property Casualty Insurance Company, Auto Club South Insurance Company, Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida, or non-affiliated insurance companies.

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