As I sit typing this week’s Column, I look up at my reflection in the window and see my hair frizzing to oblivion. Yup, it’s official – we’ve just done a cannonball into another outrageously humid summer. Honestly, I love it. The trees are green and gorgeous, flowers are blooming and the industrial-strength weeds covering my yard are so lush that (when just mowed) my lawn looks worthy of a Masters Tournament. (insert polite, muted golf clapping here…)
Best of all, now is the time you can put some fabulously frugal summertime moves into play that will save your household big money (and reduce big-time stress) in just a few months time.
(1) Start walking – No more excuses, it’s time to get moving. The weather is too gorgeous to enjoy it by looking out the windows. It’s time to get out there for a well-deserved stroll. Your health, wellness and stress levels will thank you for it. If you’re working in an office, walk to your local eatery for lunch, or just put that mid-day break to good use with a healthy stretch – just get outdoors and get that oxygen pumping. Better yet, “forget” your cell phone at your desk and take some time just for yourself. For those working at home, take a half-hour out with the kids and head to the nearest park. If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll sleep like a rock that night. Bonus!
(2) Start using the grill – If it’s heating up outside, it’s heating up doubly-fast in the kitchen. Bake one batch of cookies for your kid’s class and suddenly your kitchen feels like it’s 20 feet from the surface of the sun. If one of your summertime goals is to reduce your air conditioning bills, do as much cooking outdoors as you can. Practice safe grilling (of course) and put your imagination to work on fun items you may never have thought to cook on your grill! DLN readers have emailed me fabulous grilling tips (many gleaned from imaginative cooking techniques created during last year’s Hurricane Sandy power outage) that include boiling water for ice tea, boiling eggs, making toast, cookies and brownies, boiling noodles, scrambling eggs in a frying pan directly placed on the grill surface, etc. Basically, I realize now that anything short of a soufflé can be done with your outdoor grill. Gotta love it.
(3) Start scouting out flea markets and garage sales – This tip is two-fold. If you have things that you need in your home (clothes for growing kids, items for your house), start checking out your local garage sales and flea markets – they could have just what you need for a fraction of retail. Same goes for Craigslist – ‘tis the season for organized people to get their houses cleaned out and their hundreds of unwanted items online and ready for you to grab for 95% off. On the flip side, if you’re looking to create a bit of additional income this summer, give some thought to snagging a booth at your next local flea market or holding a garage sale of your own. You empty the house of everything you’ve outgrown, someone else benefits from it – everyone’s a winner.
Here’s to another money-making, money-saving Summertime!