I really enjoy the changing of the seasons, and we are blessed to live in the Missouri Ozarks where we have 4 distinct seasons….except for the years it feels like we go straight from one extreme to the next and skip the precious fall and spring seasons! Each season brings its own characteristics, some of which make homemaking and saving money easier, such as nice weather for line drying laundry outside, but also things that are a bit tougher to work with like keeping hydrated in the extreme heat.
I’m going to share how our family deals with three of these in a cost-saving way, as well as an environmentally friendly way! And please note that all of these tips can be used throughout the entire year for continual savings!
Water. Don’t spend your hard-earned money on bottled water but don’t dehydrate either. If you’re running errands or plan to be out and about, or maybe you’re just headed to the office for work, take a to-go cup filled with water. If you have somewhere to refill, such as a water cooler at work, then just refill during the day. But you always want a drink in the car with you just in case you get thirsty on your commute or while running your errands. This helps to avoid both bottled water stops and drive-through windows. If you work on a job site without access to water refills, then you’ll want to plan ahead and take several reusable bottles or jugs. These can be as simple as repurposed water or juice bottles or you can go zero waste style and purchase a big insulated water jug that you can use for years. My husband does construction and doesn’t often have access to water to refill his bottles so we prepare several jugs in the morning and he keeps them in a cooler on the back of his truck. We reuse jugs and bottles that came from large bottles of juice, Gatorade style drinks, and gallon water jugs, most of which we saved from others. (For example, the empty water jugs came from church.)
Ice. Taking your water every day to a job site like my husband requires some ice in a cooler if you don’t want to drink hot water during the warm months. Instead of buying bags of ice at the gas station or convenience store, we plan ahead and use ice we made at home. We have 5 ice cube trays purchased years ago and keep those filled in the freezer. I repurposed a tall plastic container that will hold 4 trays of ice and fill that up once the trays are frozen. I then refill the trays and let them freeze again. The next time I empty the trays, I empty them into a reused plastic grocery bag and keep these in the big freezer. At anytime, we have ice in the above-fridge freezer in the container and being frozen in trays, and we also have overflow ice in bags in the big freezer. Each morning when packing my husband’s lunch and getting his water ready for the day, we grab bagged ice out of the big freezer and put in his cooler to keep his water and lunch cold during the day. Ice is almost $3 per bag locally so this saves at least $3 per day.
Books. My daughters and I all enjoy reading, and summer is prime reading time with the extra time without school. We rarely buy books, either real books or e-books, so how do we get our fill of reading without going broke? Mostly we use the library. We actually use a couple of different libraries in our area. We are rural, but we are blessed to have a small library in a tiny community just a few miles from us. It’s part of a county-wide library district, but is a really great library for being so small. We get the real books from this library, as well as a larger library located in the town we do our shopping. We are in this town at least once per week so we’ve made it part of our regular errands to stop here each week, even if it’s just dropping off books to return in the drive-through drop box. With this library, we can also download e-books and audio books, as well as read digital copies of current magazines. We use the online account to borrow these books, and we can also use the online services to put a hold on physical books which will then be pulled and held for us at the circulation desk. In order to reduce the chances of late fees, I log onto our library account once per week and renew anything that will go past due before we make it back to town. Another way to score free reading material is to use Amazon to search for free e-books. Here is how I find free ebooks on Amazon:
- Log into your Amazon account.
- Type “kindle ebooks” into the Amazon search bar and hit enter.
- In the left menu, pick the topic of your choice.
- Scroll down the page past all of the recommended options and you will eventually find the huge list of all ebooks in the topic you chose. At the top of this list on the right, you will have the option to sort the books. Choose to sort them by Price: Low to High.
- Go through the list and “buy” the ones you’d like to read!
These are just a few ways our family triumphs over summer while still trying to enjoy the season for what it is, extreme heat and humidity included!
Please share in the comments how your family saves in the summer!