Common Summer Expenses

Summer is here, and excitement is in the air! It is in summer that people get to do all the fun things. This includes activities such as spending time with friends and family. Other individuals also travel and go to summer camps. On the other hand, the majority of individuals get to splurge on food and clothes. And other items that they don’t need during the school year.

Summer is a period where people spend more. This can cause a financial problem for those who do not plan accordingly. Executing a budget by creating a plan for your expenses for this period is vital. The plan can be helpful because it can help one save money. For this purpose, let’s analyze some of the typical summer expenses.

1. Summer Camps

Summer camps are very popular among children and adults alike. This is because they help people enjoyably learn new skills. People with summer camps have a chance to interact with their peers from different teams. They also get to interact with other schools and age brackets. On the other hand, these camps also improve individuals’ social skills, develop leadership qualities, and teach self-reliance. Some of these summer camps also change how you spend time with friends and family.

Summer camp costs vary from one camp to another. But for most of these camps, the average amount paid is $178.49 daily. These prices include room, board, and other expenses. On the other hand, some camps charge an additional fee for excursions. Depending on your visit, the costs can range from $5 to $50 per day. The expenses of summer camps mainly depend on the activities included in the camp. They also rely on the experience one wants to have.

2. Clothing Shopping

Clothes shopping is another significant expense during summer. Many individuals love to shop for new clothes during this period. Other individuals use this as an opportunity to purchase new outfits. And also, to accessorize themselves with the latest fashions. This is because many people find it hard to resist the urge to buy new clothes every summer.

On the other hand, some individuals choose to replace their old torn clothes with some new ones. On average, this shopping can cost $190.76 per month. This means an individual can spend approximately $807.12 on clothes during the summer.

3. Vacation Home Rental

Vacation home rentals are a prevalent choice for some people during summer. This is because it allows them to have their place during the summer. It also helps them save money if they rent their house or apartment instead of sharing with family and friends. The expenses involved in this can range from $359.24 up to $2,548 per month. The cost highly depends on the size of your room. It also depends on other amenities offered by the company. These include daily expenses such as food, drinks, utility bills, etc.

4. Transportation Expenses

Summer is a time to travel and explore the city. Many individuals use this period as an opportunity to visit new places. Additionally, summer is also a busy period for businesses and retailers. As for individuals who travel for vacations or business trips, these costs can range from $30 to $500 a day. On the other hand, an all-day trip can cost $150-$1000, depending on the destination. For example, travel from New York to California can be $250-$600 depending on traffic and weather conditions.

5. Purchasing A New Car

This is another typical expense during the summer period. As stated earlier, this is a period when people do a lot of traveling. It is also a time people attend workshops in different places. Therefore, most individuals get the urge to purchase a new car. They do this to make traveling more accessible and more comfortable. Additionally, buying a new vehicle helps individuals move around with ease. It can also save you from parking and travel expenses.

The average cost of car ownership can be about $851 per month. Buying a new or used car is related to one’s income level and other factors. Therefore, the cost will vary from one individual to another.

6. Wedding Gifts

Wedding gifts are an essential part of wedding feasts. It is during summer that most weddings take place. It is a period when most people want to help their friends and families out financially. Therefore, many individuals give wedding gifts to their loved ones and close friends. The average cost of wedding gifts ranges from $79 – $599. The price depends on the type of gift and the services offered by the company. Therefore, individuals should not skimp on these items.

7. Home Repair maintenance

Summer is a period many people spend a lot of time at their home. It is when they realize they need to make some significant repairs. Home repair maintenance can help reduce the cost of utility bills. Therefore, homeowners should not avoid it. The average price of home repair maintenance can range from $151.66 to $652.49 per month. The cost will depend on your home type and the project or repairs you undertake. For instance, maintaining your HVAC system can be costly. This is because, being an electric system, it can cost you more. However, this expense can help you save a lot in the long term.

8. Vacation Gear

Many individuals spend their summer buying various items. For instance, they may have to buy new swimwear, beach accessories, camping gear, etc. The average cost of these items can range from $15 to $700. You will find this expense variable depending on the material you choose. It can also be variable according to the number of items you purchase. For example: buying a bathing suit alone can cost $35. However, the cost will rise if you buy many of them.

Summer is a season that comes with several expenses. Therefore, you need to be prepared with some cash to deal with these expenses. However, handling these expenses is not as hard as you may think. During summer, many individuals have an opportunity to make extra income. Therefore, this can help you pay for most of your summer expenses. However, no matter what option you choose- working or saving money- the trick is to make it work for you financially.

10 Affordable Outdoor Summer 2022 Activities

The 2022 summertime is quickly approaching, and most of us are already excited about all the fun things we plan to do, like lounging by the pool, going on vacation, and relaxing with friends and family.

But what about those who aren’t so keen on breaking the bank to live life to the fullest? You can still have fun this summer without spending tons of money. We’ve put together a list of fun summer activities that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

1.) Hiking

Even if you don’t live in the mountains, you can still have a fantastic hiking trip. You’ll be amazed at the number of trails you can discover in your neighborhood. It’s easy to find trails near you by visiting your city’s parks and recreation page or searching online.

This is a great yet free way to get out of the house and into the natural world. Hiking is an excellent way to exercise while enjoying the beautiful scenery. There are also many opportunities for camping along many hiking trails, so you could easily turn a day hike into an overnight adventure.

Try rock climbing if you’re looking for something more intense than just walking on flat ground. Rock climbing allows people of all ages and skill levels to enjoy being outside while challenging themselves physically.

2.) Kayaking

Whether you’re looking for a new physical challenge or just want to enjoy nature, kayaking is a fun, low-cost activity that all ages can enjoy. The best part? Kayaking doesn’t require any special equipment—all you need is a paddle and life vest (both are available at local stores).

Don’t want to spend money on renting/buying equipment? Try checking out your local lake association website; many offer free kayak rentals during certain times of the year.

3.) Camping

Various state and national parks offer affordable camping options, so you can still get out there and experience nature without breaking your budget. Try pitching a tent at a local park instead of renting a hotel room for a night, or try out one of many camping apps that help you find new campgrounds in your area.

And don’t forget about nearby National Forests. Most are free to enter, and many have developed campsites with basic amenities like picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and running water.

Just remember: you must pack everything in (including food) and pack everything out when you leave. If you plan on having a fire while camping—which is a great way to make food taste better—you’ll need a permit from your local forest service office before heading out into the woods.

4.) Visit A Farmer’s Market

One of my favorite activities, farmer’s markets, is a great place to shop for fresh produce, meat, and even handmade products. Farmer’s markets are typically very affordable (depending on where you live), so they can be great ways to save money while shopping.

Not only will you be buying healthy, organic food, but you will also be supporting local farmers, which is a fantastic way of giving back to your community. Click here for more information on how you can locate a farmer’s market near you.

5.) Enjoy The Outdoors At Night

For those who don’t mind getting dirty, you can have tons of fun with outdoor activities at night. Start by going stargazing. Here’s how to make your first outing a huge success. Try an evening bike ride or walk if you’re looking for something more active.

The extra darkness will give you a whole new perspective on your surroundings and allow you to see things that are usually hidden in plain sights—like fireflies. If biking isn’t your thing, why not try paddleboarding?

 It is an excellent low-impact way to enjoy some water time after sunset.

6.) Picnics

Whether on a sandy beach or in your backyard, picnics are one of the summer’s most enjoyable experiences. They’re low-key, affordable, and a great opportunity for family bonding time.

If you want to save money while still having fun with your loved ones, consider packing a picnic instead of going out to eat. Pack healthy snacks like fresh fruit and veggies (or even trail mix) and cut down on costs by bringing reusable water bottles instead of buying plastic ones at restaurants.

7.) Go for a Bike Ride

Biking is an incredibly fun and inexpensive way to get outside and enjoy a great summer day. It doesn’t have to be competitive, but it can be if you want it. Get together with friends or family and plan your route ahead of time.

Take turns leading, so everyone can experience leadership while having fun outside together.

8.) Go Swimming

Swimming is an activity that everyone can enjoy, from children to elderly adults. Swimming is an excellent cardiovascular exercise and a good workout for your upper body and core muscles.

Additionally, swimming burns more calories per hour than most other exercises. Even if you’re a beginner, you can start swimming today. You can swim at home if you have a pool or access to a community pool or visit one of many local pools in your area.

If you live near water, there are plenty of lakes and rivers where you can go for a refreshing dip in nature. No matter what type of swimming environment suits you best, it’s likely that there are affordable options available near where you live.

9.) Nature Walks

Hiking and walking through nature is one of my favorite pastimes. It’s a great activity that doesn’t require much money, but it also helps make you healthier, feels more alive, and sleep better at night.

Find an old hiking trail or nature walk near you for a great (and free) way to enjoy summer. You can even bring your pet along.

10.) Local Fairs/Festivals

There are so many local fairs and festivals happening all summer long that you really can’t afford not to visit at least once. It doesn’t matter where you live—there are events worth seeing, no matter where you are.

Many of these events also have special activities for kids so that it can be a fun but cheap activity for families. Looking at your state’s tourism site is a great place to start; most offer an event calendar for each region.

Paying for summer activities can be a burden on many families. But there are plenty of free or low-cost activities that provide tons of fun and entertainment. From parks to libraries to museums, you’ll find something here.

And don’t forget about all those great outdoors—you can have an entire day of fun without spending a dime. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy your summer.

Top Summer Deals Available

Summer is supposed to be an easy and carefree season, but it can also be expensive. Between buying summer clothes, stocking up on food, and other expenses, things can add up. Luckily, you can take advantage of some of the top summer deals available to save money while still enjoying the best of what summer has to offer.

Restaurant and Fast Food Deals

Forget the dollar menu. The best food deals at chain and fast food restaurants are available through their rewards programs and apps. Most restaurants even offer free food just for signing up for its rewards program.

Here are some of the best restaurant food rewards programs offering free food:

  • Wendy’s app always has free sandwich and/or fry offers.
  • McDonald’s has an ongoing free fries offer along with plenty of other free food deals
  • Burger King has a buy one, get one free Whopper deal for new sign ups
  • Jack in the Box always has a free fries offer along with other food deals
  • Auntie Anne’s gives you a free pretzel after your first purchase
  • Applebee’s awards a free appetizer for signing up for its rewards program

Summer Ice Cream Deals

Obviously, summer is the season of ice cream. Check out these amazing summer ice cream deals to enjoy this treat on the cheap:

Best Deals on Clothing This Summer

There are certain clothing brands and department stores that always seem to have special deals and sales going on throughout the summer.

Department Stores With Clothing Deals

If you’re looking to get name brand clothing for less, you should definitely check out the latest sales and deals available at Macy’s and JCPenney. At the very least, you’ll be able to get 20-percent off of your purchase at any given time of year. Keep an eye open in August, though, when summer clothing really starts to get discounted to make way for back to school goods.

  • Check out JCPenney’s clearance section for up to 70-percent off and clothing as low as under $5.00.
  • See the latest sales from Macy’s for steep discounts on clothing as well as additional coupons for money off of your purchases.
  • Nordstrom Rack is the place for top designer brands at up to 60-percent off and more
  • You can snag some great gems at Neiman Marcus Last Call, though it may take some browsing
  • Saks Off 5th has deals of up to 60-percent off of off the rack clothing and you can also get an additional 10-percent off when you sign up for its rewards

Big Brand Outlets for Big Summer Savings

Where do all the previous year’s styles and surplus stock go? For many big clothing brands, they go to their outlet stores. It used to be that you had to go to actual physical outlet shops for these bargains, but nowadays you can shop online.

Here are the big brand clothing outlet stores with the best prices and deals:

  • J.Crew Factory with deals for as much as 50-percent off
  • Banana Republic Factory has clothing for 50 to 70-percent off of its retail prices (and an additional 15-percent off when you sign up for emails)
  • REI Outlet for great pricing on outdoor clothing and gear
  • Reebok Outlet has sneakers for 25-percent off and more
  • 6pm is the outlet store for Zappos and offers great bargains on clothing, bags, and shoes for everyone

Deals on Phones and Electronics

Need a new phone or headphones for your summer travels? You don’t have to pay full price to get some of the latest tech. In addition to the

  • Best Buy Outlet has deals on clearance and open-box items that are brand new but heavily discounted.
  • eBay has actually done a lot of work to modernize its platform and offers some fantastic refurbished electronics at a huge discount, including phones, headphones, and more. It has an eBay Certified program that guarantees products for a year to two years after purchase.
  • Amazon Renewed offers deals on refurbished electronics that are guaranteed by Amazon, including phones, computers, tablets, and more.
  • If you switch to T-Mobile, they’ll pay off your phone from your previous service provider up to $800.
  • Woot! is an Amazon company that offers flash deals on all kinds of products, including electronics and other big-ticket items.

Photo Prints and Products

Want to save some of the memories you create this summer? Shutterfly and other platforms have tons of fabulous photo products (like canvas prints, books, gifts) and deals on photo prints. Discounts vary over the summer, but first time customers can usually always get a bunch of free prints and there are almost offers for 20-percent off.

  • Check out the latest summer deals from Shutterfly.
  • Snapfish always has discounts available on its photo products and free prints available
  • CVS Photo has great photo services that you can pick up nearby and always has deals and coupons.
  • Walgreens Photo offers photo deals for money off of photo prints and other photo products.

Ways To Work out In The Spring On A Budget

The warm weather in spring calls for you to go outside and get active. You may want to shed off some winter weight or start your fitness journey. But how can you do this without breaking the bank? Here are some suggestions:

Outdoors Yoga

Yoga is a great way to start your day, and what could be more refreshing than practicing in the great outdoors? There are plenty of yoga poses that you can do outdoors without any special equipment. Find a park or nature trail near you and get your om on!

If you are new to yoga, it might be good to attend a class or workshop first. There are plenty of free courses offered in most cities. You can also use YouTube videos as a guide.

You can connect with nature and get your workout in simultaneously with outdoor yoga. It is cheap, easy, and fun!

Work out with Friends

You can get social and get fit by working out with friends. There are so many activities that you can do as a group. Soccer, basketball, baseball, hiking, and camping are all great activities to do with friends. Not only will you get a good workout, but you will also have fun!

If you are uncertain about where to start, ask your friends for suggestions. They probably will be more than happy to share their favorite activities with you.

Working out with friends will keep you motivated and have fun. It’s also a great way to save money because you can split the cost of gas or admission fees.

Join a Cheap Gym

Gyms can be expensive, but a few gyms offer low monthly rates. If you don’t mind working out in a group setting, then a cheap gym might be good.

Most gyms offer free trials, so you can test out the facility before signing up. Make sure to ask about the monthly rates and any other fees that might apply.

If you are looking for a more personalized workout experience, you might want to invest in a personal trainer. Personal trainers can be expensive, but there are also a few that offer affordable rates.

Now that you are on a budget, you can start with a cheap gym within your budget. Just be sure to check out the rates and fees before signing up. You don’t want any surprises down the road.

Work out at Home

If you want to save some money, consider working out at home. You can use your body weight as resistance or purchase some inexpensive equipment. Additionally, working out at home is an excellent option if you are short on time.

There are plenty of workouts that you can do in your own home. YouTube is an excellent resource for finding free exercises. Just type in the type of workout you are looking for, and find tons of videos.

Working out at home is a great way to get in a workout while they play if you have kids. You can also use this time to catch up on your favorite show or podcast.

Working out at home is cheap, convenient, and accessible. You can tailor the workout to fit your own needs and schedule.

Walk or Run in your Neighborhood

There are many ways to get fit in spring, but walking or running in your neighborhood is the cheapest and most accessible. It is free, and it is also a great way to see your area. If you are looking for a more challenging workout, try running hills.

If you are new to running, start by walking first. Then, slowly work your way up to running. You might also want to try out the Couch to 5k program.

The best part about walking or running in your neighborhood is that you can do it whenever you have time. There is no need to make reservations or drive somewhere. Just put on your shoes and go!

Get a Bike

Outdoor cycling will give you a great workout while enjoying the spring weather. You can find bikes relatively cheaply or even borrow one from a friend.

Cycles can offer a great cardio workout, and if you stick to hills and terrain that are a little more challenging, you can add strength training to your routine.

Research shows that cyclists also have lower rates of heart disease and cancer, so getting on your bike is a great way to improve your health! If you’re not used to cycling, start slowly and build up the distance and intensity of your rides. You don’t want to injure yourself before you’ve even had a chance to enjoy the benefits of cycling.

Outdoor Sports

Spring is the best time to join the group sports or start a game that you have wanted to do. Many cities have free leagues for softball, soccer, or basketball. You can also find groups that play tag or frisbee golf.

Joining a group is a great way to make friends and have fun. Most of these sports are also very social, so you can chat with your friends while working up a sweat.

These sports are a great way to stay active, but they are also affordable. You don’t need any fancy equipment or gear, just a good pair of sneakers.

One of the sports that are growing in popularity is pick-up soccer. It is a great way to exercise and have fun with friends.

Swim at the Local Pool

Swimming is a great workout, and you can swim in any weather. Swimming is a low-impact exercise, so it is excellent for people just starting to get active.

Swimming is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health, and it is also a great way to tone your body. Not to mention, swimming is a lot of fun.

Most communities have public pools open during the spring and summer months.

Join a YMCA or Community Center Health Club

If you are looking for a more structured workout, joining a YMCA or community center might be the right option. These facilities offer a variety of classes and activities that can help you meet your fitness goals.

The best part about joining a YMCA or community center is that the cost is often meagre. In some cases, you can join for free. You also have the option of purchasing a membership that fits your budget.

The spring is a great time to get active and stay healthy. There are many ways to work out without spending a lot of money. You can walk, run, cycle, play sports, or swim at the local pool. You can also join a YMCA or community center health club. Whatever option you choose, make sure to fit it into your schedule and needs. It should also be safe and effective. Remember to have fun and stay healthy!

Where to shop for Spring Clothes on a budget

Spring is a time for new beginnings, and what better way to celebrate the season than by shopping for some new clothes! But if you’re on a budget, that can be a challenge. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. This article will discuss some great places to shop for Spring clothes on a budget. It includes online and in-person stores, so you can find the best deal no matter where you are.

Let’s get started on nine places where to shop for Spring Clothes on a budget:

Amazon

Amazon’s selection is vast, and you can find everything from dresses to jeans to shoes. The best part? Prices are usually very reasonable, and they often have sales.

They often have great deals on clothing, so you can find what you’re looking for without breaking the bank. Be sure to check out their sale section for some fantastic deals on Spring clothing.

Target

Target always has great deals on clothing for the whole family – and you can usually find something for both men and women at a reasonable price. They also have a good return policy if you need to change your mind after buying something.

Additionally, if you use your Target REDcard, you can get an additional five percent off your purchase! That can add up when you’re buying many clothes.

If you’re looking for somewhere to shop in person, Target is a great option. They have stores all over the country, so chances are there’s one near you. And like we said before, their prices are very reasonable. So if you’re looking to do some Spring shopping on a budget, Target should be your first stop.

Old Navy

Old Navy always has the latest fashion trends, usually very stylish and trendy, perfect for Spring! Also, their prices are very reasonable. If shopping for spring clothes on a budget is what you’re looking for, then Old Navy should be your go-to store.

They typically have sales going on, so you can snag some fantastic deals on clothing. Old Navy is an excellent option if you’re looking for somewhere to shop in person. They have stores all over the United States, so you’re likely to find one near you. Old Navy is also a great choice if you’re looking for an online option.

They offer free shipping on orders over $50, so you can get your clothes delivered right to your door. Plus, they often have sales going on, so you can snag some fantastic deals on clothing.

No matter where you choose to shop, Old Navy is an excellent option for affordable Spring clothes.

Walmart

When it comes to finding affordable Spring clothes, it is essential to think outside the box, and Walmart is a great place to start. You can find everything you need for your Spring wardrobe at Walmart, including tops, bottoms, shoes, and accessories.

They have a wide variety of styles and brands to choose from, so you’re sure to find something that you love. Plus, their prices are unbeatable. And, if you use your Walmart credit card, you can get an additional three percent off your purchase! That can add up when you’re buying many clothes.

Walmart is a fantastic alternative if you seek a store to go shopping in. They have shops all over the country, so you’ll be able to find one close by. If you’re searching for some low-cost Spring shopping, Walmart should be your first stop.

They also offer free shipping on orders over $35, so you can get your clothes delivered right to your door. And like we said before, they have a wide variety of clothing options, so you’re sure to find something you love.

Kohl’s

Kohl’s is a department store chain with more than 1,100 stores in 49 states. The company offers a wide range of affordable clothing for men, women, children, home goods, jewelry, and cosmetics. Kohl’s also has a generous return policy and often runs sales and promotions.

They always have great sales going on, and you can often find coupons online or in the Sunday paper. Their clearance section is also worth checking out – you can sometimes find some great deals!

Kohl’s is a fantastic place to go if you’re looking for somewhere to get some new spring clothes on a budget. They have frequent sales, so you might often discover something at an affordable price. Furthermore, their clearance area is always worth a look – you may happen upon a hidden treasure!

TJ Maxx

If you’re looking to save money on your spring wardrobe, TJ Maxx is the place to go. They always have a great selection of clothes at affordable prices. You can find everything from designer brands to everyday basics at TJ Maxx.

TJ Maxx store is great because they carry name-brand items at discounted prices. You can often find clothing, shoes, and accessories for up to 60% off the original price.

TJ Maxx is a great place to check out if you’re looking to save money on spring clothes. They have discounts on well-known brands, so you can often find something stylish without spending too much. Plus, they tend to have a good variety of sizes and styles available.

H&M

If your spring budget is tight, you might want to check out H&M. They always have a great selection of clothes for every season, and their prices are reasonable.

They have a wide variety of clothing, shoes, and accessories for men, women, and children. You can often find good deals on clearance items as well.

If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest fashion trends but don’t want to spend much money, H&M is the place for you. They offer reasonably priced clothes, shoes, and accessories for everyone in the family. Plus, their clearance section is always worth checking out!

These are just a few of the many places where you can find budget-friendly spring clothes. With a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to find everything you need to look great this season!

Macy’s

Macy’s is one of the most popular places to shop for clothes, and they offer a wide variety of items at various price points. Macy’s has some fantastic deals on clothing, especially if you’re looking for name brands.

They have a wide variety of items to choose from, and you can often find good deals on clearance items. Macy’s also has a rewards program that allows you to earn points for every purchase you make.

Macy’s is an excellent option if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all your spring clothing needs. Not only do they have a wide selection of clothes, but you can also find some good deals on clearance items. Additionally, their rewards program lets you rack up points with every purchase – meaning even more savings down the road!

Lulus

Lulus is an online-only store that specializes in trendy and chic clothing. They offer a wide variety of items, and their prices are very reasonable.

They have a great selection of spring dresses, which are perfect if you’re looking for something to wear to a wedding or another formal event. Additionally, they have a good selection of casual clothes if you’re looking for something to wear around town.

One downside to Lulus is that they don’t have a physical store, so you can’t try on the clothes before you buy them. However, their return policy is very lenient. If you end up ordering the wrong size, you can always send it back.

Overall, Lulus is a great option if you’re looking for fashionable and affordable clothing. Their prices are reasonable, and they have a wide selection of items to choose from. Just be aware that you can’t try the clothes on before you buy them!

So there you have it, nine great places to shop for budget-friendly spring clothes! These are just a few of the many places where you can find budget-friendly spring clothes. No matter your style, you’re sure to find something you love at one of these stores. Happy shopping!

How to Start Saving for the Summer

The summer months will soon be upon us, and now is the time to start saving for your summer activities. Whether you’re planning to take a luxurious vacation or just want to spend extra time with the family, the following tips will help you save your money to have your best summer ever. Read on to learn what you should start implementing today.

Trim Your Budget

If you haven’t started already, now is the perfect time to get a budget in place and stick to it. While creating a budget can feel overwhelming, it’s significantly easier when you look at it as a financial check-up. Look for ways you can save, including cutting back on carry-out, skipping trips to the movies or getting rid of those streaming services you’re no longer using. These small cuts will save you hundreds of dollars before summer begins.

Start a Vacation Account

One of the prime things people look forward to during the summer is going on vacation. With the average American spending north of a thousand dollars on their seasonal trip, there is a possibility of going into debt to have a fun time. To avoid this common pitfall, it’s integral to save money for your vacation, and one of the best ways to do this is by opening an account strictly for vacation funds. A savings account will also increase in value thanks to favorable interest rates, allowing you to gain even more money for your trip.

Sell Extra Stuff

One of the benefits of spring cleaning is finding all those extra things you don’t need. However, just because you don’t need them doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t. To start raising money for summer, consider hosting a garage sale to get rid of all those knick-knacks, extra clothing and odds-and-ends. Not only will you earn some extra cash, but you’ll also be rehoming things that someone else could really use.

Check Appliances

How are your appliances holding up? During the winter months, you likely weren’t letting your AC unit blare, but problems may have set in that season. There’s nothing worse than turning on your unit for the first time only to discover it’s not working, or have it quit working on the hottest day of the year. Luckily, a certified AC specialist will be able to make sure your system will work properly. Your AC system isn’t the only thing you should examine either. Now is the perfect time to look at installing energy-efficient appliances as well as making small decisions like washing clothes in cold water to save money on your energy bills.

Book Your Vacation Now

You’re excited to take the kids on vacation this year as soon as school ends, and now is the perfect time to book those summer plans. Many hotels and attractions will offer early-bird discounts on their services, allowing you to save hundreds of dollars. The best part? Many prices are simply lock-in, meaning you won’t have to pay until you reach your destination, allowing you to spend your vacation fund.

Pay Down Debt

While not the most fun item on our list, paying down debt should be a top concern. Look at lowering your credit card bills and catching up on late items when you can to ensure you go into the summer either debt-free or with a significant reduction in your bills. Your bank account will thank you.

Shop Smarter and Coupon

One of the best things about Spring and Summer are all the fresh produce that comes in season. From apples to zucchini, you’ll find that a plethora of produce is now available to you. Take this as your sign to shop smarter, focusing on products that are in season to significantly lower your grocery bill. Consider couponing to save on essentials like hygiene products. By shopping sales and couponing, you can save hundreds of dollars a month. Finally, remember that many businesses will offer spring sales, so now is the perfect time to buy bigger ticket items you’ll utilize this summer.

Turn Off the Heater

Depending on where you are in the world, you may be experiencing some wonderful weather right now, even if for just a few hours a day. Take the time to turn off your heater and open up your windows to allow fresh air to flow in your home while keeping yourself at a comfortable temperature.

Look for Free Events

Does your town offer a Spring Festival? A collection of local musicians? As the weather warms up, more and more areas will be offering free events for families to attend. From fairs to park concerts, your town likely has an assortment of free or very low-cost events that you can spend a few hours at on the weekends. These events are an excellent option for those looking to have some fun without breaking the bank before their vacation.

Get Outside for Exercise

If the gym doesn’t motivate you, consider moving your workouts outside. Many people find outdoor exercise invigorating as well as worry-free. You’ll be getting your daily dose of vitamin D while also burning calories for swimsuit season. Furthermore, look to see if your neighborhood has a walking or hiking group so you can talk to your neighbors while getting fit.

Save Your Tax Refund

One thing most people look forward to is their annual tax refund, and it can help make your vacation the best yet. Take the time to save as much as your refund as you can to make the most of your trip. While it can feel like that money is burning a hole in your pocket, it can go far if you save it for a specific event.

Saving for your summer doesn’t have to be a painful process. Whether you create a vacation account to save money for your dream trip, shop seasonally to get the best grocery bills or attend your city’s free events, you can save plenty of money this year while also having the best summer possible.

Saving Money in the Spring

Spring cleaning will soon be upon us, but it’s also a perfect time to start saving and get your finances in order. From shopping within your own home to cooking what’s in season, Spring offers plenty of opportunities to save money for the rest of your year.

Shop in Your Own Home

While most people will take this as looking through their closets (which you should definitely do as well), shopping in your own home isn’t limited to clothing. When you start cleaning, really look at everything you have. Do you have a lot of kitchen gadgets? How about tools like hammers and screwdrivers? Shopping around your home allows you to see exactly what you have and narrow down what you actually need. You’ll be shocked by how many duplicates you have floating around the house, and Spring is the perfect time to clear everything out and find those hidden treasures you forgot you owned.

Make Your Cleaners

Cleaning supplies and organizers are expensive, but you don’t need to spend all your hard-earned money on them! You’d be shocked how far baking soda and white vinegar can get you, and most of the time these homemade cleaners are much cheaper than what you would find at the store. There are an assortment of recipes for cleaners online, and the best part is most of them are completely non-toxic, which means kids and pets won’t be taking a trip to the doctor if they get in your cleaning basket. As far as organizers, check out your local dollar store or get creative with old cereal and shipping boxes to create an organized home you’ll love.

Plan and Plant Your Garden

Gardening can be an extremely rewarding hobby. You’re not only getting your daily sunlight needs, but you’re nurturing, growing and harvesting your family’s food. The first thing to do if you decide to garden this year is to take a look at what you actually want to plant. Are you a tomato fiend? Want to have plenty of zucchini to last you the year? Think about what you and your family will actually eat before you start digging in the ground. If you have limited space, you can garden as well by using container gardening or aqua systems that allow you to garden indoors. Finally, if gardening outside, look at local planting guides to ensure your vegetables come in on time.

Stock Up for Winter Months

Stores carry an assortment of winter staples well into the spring, and many will get severely marked down in the Spring months as summer stock arrives. This is the perfect time for you to purchase jackets, gloves and boots for the following winter as well as snow gear like shovels and blowers. Finally, don’t forget holidays like Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. Most decorations for these holidays will be severely marked down, and it’s the perfect time to get ready for next year by stocking up on décor and goodies now.

Make a Budget

With all your wonderful spring-cleaning finds, it’s important to start budgeting for the year by narrowing down what you actually need and looking for ways to fit it in. If you plan on gardening more this year, look at ways you can save on groceries over the coming months once your produce starts to come in. Also look to trim the fat on other areas of your life as well, such as entertainment costs or cell phone bills. You’ll find you’ll be spending less in no time.

Enjoy the Outdoors

Spring brings plenty of warmer weather, and it’s integral for you to enjoy the outdoors as things start to warm up. Many towns and cities will offer outdoor festivals, parades, fairs and other activities that allow you to spend the day outdoors for free or very cheaply. Not looking for social gatherings? No problem. Spring is the perfect time for family-based outdoor activities as well, such as hiking, to allow you to have fun in the sun without spending a dime.

Eat From Your Pantry

During the winter, you likely stocked up your pantry and slowly worked your way through your food stash. However, we’re willing to bet there are still plenty of canned and jarred goods hanging out in there. Spring is the perfect time to get through the last of your winter foods as you prepare space for what you’re going to can and buy for next winter over the coming months.

Open Some Windows

One of the best things about spring is the warming weather, and now is the perfect time to open up some windows and turn off your heating system. Not only will you be enjoying the weather and what it has to offer, but you’ll also get to air out your house which can remove odors that built up during the winter. Finally, further lower your electric bill by relying on natural lighting over turning on lightbulbs all the time.

Cook in Season

While many people think of spring as being for planting, it also welcomes a host of produce coming into season. Some food items you can expect to see coming into season include:

  • Apricots
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Collard Greens
  • Garlic
  • Lemons
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Pineapples
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Turnips

By shopping in season for your produce, you’ll be able to severely reduce your grocery bill each month. In-season produce will typically need to make a shorter journey to get to you; therefore, grocers won’t need to mark it up. Finally, you can save even more by visiting your local farmer’s market.

Spring is an excellent time to get your finances in order and start saving for the rest of the year. From cleaning out your home to find items you forgot you had to cooking with in-season produce, Spring offers a multitude of ways to lower your budget so you can save more money. Take the time to plan and save and start planning where you’ll spend!

Spring Holidays

Spring is just around the corner, and that means a full holiday season will soon be upon us. From making your own version of Mardi Gras on March 1st to commemorating Memorial Day on May 30th, the spring months hosts plenty of holidays for you to celebrate with your family and friends. Keep reading to learn ways to celebrate the spring holidays.

Mardi Gras – March 1st

Mardi Gras, meaning “Fat Tuesday” in French, is traditionally a time of excess as people fit in everything they want before Lent. Celebrated by religious and non-religious people alike, Mardi Gras has since become a big party for everyone. To celebrate at home, you’ll first want to make sure you have all the foods you’d eat in New Orleans, such as po’boys, hushpuppies and a king cake. The last one can be difficult to find, but it’s essentially a purple, yellow and green cake with a plastic baby inside. Whoever finds the baby is said to be bestowed with luck. If you drink alcohol, consider stocking up on some Louisiana brews or make some Sazernacs, the official cocktail of New Orleans. Next, get some masks and decorations that allow you and your friends to celebrate in style. Finally, play some jazz music in the background and celebrate the night away.

Saint Patrick’s Day – March 17th

Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and cities around the world celebrate in style. However, if your town doesn’t have an annual St. Patty’s Day celebration, you can still have a special event at home. Corned beef and cabbage is an easy meal to make on top of being the traditional dish served, especially with a few slices of soda bread on the side. Beer drinkers will love sampling different variations of green beer as well. More of a purist? Guinness is likely the right choice for you. Don’t like beer? Try an Irish Coffee with brown sugar for an extra dose of sweetness. Whether you put on green from head to toe or wear a little Shamrock somewhere on your outfit, Saint Patty’s Day is an easy holiday to get in the festive spirit.

Easter Sunday – April 17th

Easter is about the resurrection of Christ for Christians; however, many people from all backgrounds have their own Easter-themed celebrations—including a visit from the Easter Bunny. The night before is perfect for dying eggs with the kids before hosting an egg hunt in your yard or around the house. If you want to go the extra mile for kids, consider renting or purchasing an Easter Bunny costume for a memorable celebration that won’t be forgotten. Finally, consider whipping up some Easter staples, including cakes, deviled eggs, a roast turkey or ham and plenty of sides for a feast your friends and family will love.

Earth Day – April 22nd

Earth Day is all about working together to save our planet, and this is the perfect holiday to get your kids involved in making the world a better place. There is a multitude of different things you can do to help the planet, including being car-free for the day, starting a recycling program at home or even making a birdhouse for feathered friends. Regardless of how you choose to spend your Earth Day, it’s important to remember to take the time to make the world a better place for everyone.

Arbor Day – April 29th

Closely related to Earth Day (and only a week apart), Arbor Day revolves around trees. Of course, the most popular and traditional way to celebrate is by planting a tree. However, not everyone has the space to plant, especially if they live in an apartment. For those looking to celebrate, consider sponsoring a tree being planted, reading more about trees with the kids or volunteering somewhere in the community to complete tasks like cleaning up a park or making a group donation to a charity.

Cinco de Mayo – May 5th

Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s victory in the Battle of Puebla against the French, and it’s one of the most fun and festive holidays on our list. You can easily host your own holiday spectacular by decorating your home in bright, festive colors or by ordering decorations made just for the holiday. Of course, the most popular element of any Cinco de Mayo celebration is the food, and now is the perfect time to whip up some enchiladas and perfect your tamale-making skills. Finally, take the time to learn more about the history of our neighbors to the south and why the holiday means so much to the people of Mexico.

Mother’s Day – May 8th

Mother’s Day is the one say of the year to celebrate your mother (or mother figure), and you can come up with a myriad of ways to celebrate what makes your mom so great. If you still live with her, consider making her breakfast in bed and giving her a break from household chores. If you live nearby, throw a surprise party with her friends after you’ve spent the day together. Finally, if mom lives far away, take the time to give her a phone call and have flowers or chocolates delivered for a holiday neither one of you will forget.

Memorial Day – May 30th

Memorial Day tends to get used as the marker for summer beginning; however, it’s also time to remember the soldier who died for our country. Before the picnics and barbeques, take the time to attend a Memorial Day ceremony or parade and consider decorating the graves of fallen soldiers at your local cemetery.

The spring months offer plenty of holiday cheer for those looking to spend their time with family and friends. From donning your best purple, yellow and green mask for Mardi Gras to remembering our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day, you can make this spring a holiday season to remember. Whether you decide to throw a few parties or take time to celebrate each holiday with your family, remember that each day offers plenty of activities that everyone will love.

Winter Recipes

Cold winter nights make everyone want to feel cozy with full tummies. Far too often, our favorite winter recipes are time-consuming, and it can feel impossible to muster up the energy to make our go-to comfort foods. Luckily, we’re here to help! Keep reading to find your new staples for winter—without the hours spent laboring over the stove or oven.

Super Easy Meatloaf

This meatloaf will make everyone want the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 Pounds Ground Beef
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Onion, Chopped
  • 1 c. Milk
  • 1 c. Crackers, Smashed
  • 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/3 c. Ketchup
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Combine beef, egg, onion, milk, cracker crumbs, salt and pepper into a bowl. Mix until just combined. Place in loaf pan.
  3. Combine brown sugar, mustard and ketchup in a small bowl. Mix well and pour over meatloaf.
  4. Bake for one hour. Let rest for 20 minutes once done.

Weeknight Meatball Soup

No one will know you made this soup in 30 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 3 c. Water
  • 2 (14 oz) Cans Diced Tomatoes
  • 5 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 Onion, Finely Chopped
  • 2 (14 oz) Cans Beef Broth
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 lb. Frozen Mini-Meatballs (Italian-Style Preferred)
  • 1 lb. Frozen Italian-Blend Vegetables
  • 1 c. Elbow Pasta
  • ½ c. Parmesan Cheese, Grated

Directions

  1. Lightly saute onions and garlic in a large pot until onions are transparent.
  2. Stir in water, tomatoes, beef broth and Italian seasoning; bring to a boil.
  3. Add meatballs, vegetables and pasta; return to boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for ten minutes or until pasts is tender.
  5. Garnish each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Soup

Leftover pumpkin? Think outside pies and try this soup.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 Can Pumpkin Puree (15 oz.)
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cumin
  • ½ tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 c. Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • 4 tbsp. Heavy Cream
  • Toasted Pumpkin Seeds for Garnish

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven. Add onion and garlic, sauteing about 4 minutes or until fragrant.
  2. Add pumpkin, thyme, salt, cumin, black pepper, ginger, and cayenne pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until steaming and fragrant.
  3. Add chicken or vegetable broth, cooking for 3-4 minutes, continuously stirring.
  4. Remove soup from heat, add cream.
  5. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and serve.

Irish Coddle

This traditional Irish dish is perfect for cold winter nights.

Ingredients

  • ½ lb. Thick Cut Bacon
  • 1 lb. Sausage (use a high-quality sausage, preferably bangers)
  • 2 Large Onions
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 lbs. Potatoes (Yukon Gold or Red)
  • 1 (32 oz) Carton Chicken Stock
  • 1 Bunch Parsley, Chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  2. In a dutch oven, cook bacon until crispy and golden brown. Remove and place on paper towel.
  3. Brown sausage on all sides. Remove.
  4. Saute onions until carmelized. Add garlic and saute until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Remove.
  5. Remove pot. Add half of the potatoes to bottom of pot. Season with salt, pepper and ¼ parsley.
  6. Add half of onion/garlic mixture and bacon.
  7. Repeat layers.
  8. Place whole sausages on top.
  9. Add chicken broth. Place pot back on stove and bring to a boil.
  10. Cover pot; place in oven and cook for 2-4 hours. Check every hour to ensure an inch of liquid is at the bottom of the pot while cooking. Add more liquid if necessary.
  11. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper to taste; add remaining parsley for garnish.

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

Don’t worry about slaving over the perfect pie crust for this one! Instead, the flaky crescent roll dough creates a melt-in-your-mouth crust everyone will love.

Ingredients

  • ½ c. Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Chicken Bouillon Cube
  • 1 tsp. Pepper
  • ¾ c. Milk
  • 10 oz. Mixed Vegetables, Thawed
  • 1 ½ c. Cooked Chicken (Cubed or Shredded)
  • 8 oz. Crescent Roll Dough

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease 8×8 baking dish.
  2. In a large saucepan, whisk mayo, flour, bouillon and pepper together until smooth. Slowly pour in milk. Bring mixture to a boil. Cook and stir until thickened.
  3. Add vegetables and chicken to mixture; cook and stir until heated. Transfer to baking dish.
  4. Unroll crescent dough; separate triangles; arrange dough over chicken mixture.
  5. Bake until topping is golden brown (15-20 minutes).

Easy, Peasy Shepherd’s Pie

You’ll fall in love with this pie made with instant mashed potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef or Lamb
  • 2 tsp. Dried Parsley
  • 1 tsp. Dried Rosemary
  • 1 tsp. Dried Thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 c. Beef Broth
  • 1 c. Frozen Peas and Carrots
  • ½ c. Frozen Corn Kernels
  • 5 c. Mashed Potatoes (made from instant boxed potatoes)
  • ½ c. Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Add oil to a skillet and heat on high for 2 minutes. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Add ground meat to skillet, breaking apart with spoon; add parsley, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir well. Cook meat until browned.
  4. Add Worcestershire and garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add flour and tomato paste. Stir until fully incorporated.
  6. Add broth and frozen vegetables. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Place meat mixture into 9×9 inch baking dish, spreading evenly.
  8. Add parmesan cheese to mashed potatoes.
  9. Placed mashed potatoes on top of meat mixture, spreading evenly.
  10. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.
  11. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

These quick and easy recipes are sure to keep you feeling warm and fuzzy all winter long. Which one is your favorite? What’s your winter recipe staple? Let us know below!

The Most Common and Do-Able New Year’s Resolutions

As you write out your New Year’s resolutions, you know you’re going to complete every single item on this year’s list. Unfortunately, most people tend to write the same things every single year, hoping that this year will be the one. Luckily, we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn how to complete people’s most common New Year’s resolutions and make 2022 your year.

What Do You Want to Do This Year?

Before we begin, let’s take a look at the ten most common New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Lose Weight/Get Fit/Diet
  2. Quit Smoking/Drinking
  3. Eliminate Debt
  4. Get Organized
  5. Learn a New Language/Skill/Hobby
  6. Spend Time with Family
  7. Travel
  8. Read More
  9. Reduce Stress
  10. Volunteer

Most likely, you’re looking to accomplish at least one thing on this list. Take the time to narrow what you want to do into a couple of goals. For example, a lot of people will create ungodly long lists in the hopes of living up to the “New Year, New Me” motto. When they do this, they’re setting themselves up for failure, creating a list of goals they’ll quickly feel overwhelmed by. By selecting 2-3, you’re more likely to accomplish what you want and won’t feel like you’ve “failed” within a few weeks.

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

If you work in the business world, you’ve probably heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and occur within a specific timeframe. So, what does this look like in action? Let’s say your goal is to “lose weight.” This is vague and can mean 100 different things to 100 different people. When we set a S.M.A.R.T. weight loss goal, it becomes something like, “I want to lose 50 pounds over the next year by working out three times a week, making healthier eating decisions and aiming to lose 5 pounds a month.”

Make Sure Goals Motivate

Another problem we frequently see with New Year’s resolutions are goals that really don’t motivate. Non-motivational goals fall into two camps: too hard and too easy. If your goal is to travel more, you’re probably not going to hit all seven continents in seven weeks (if you can, seriously, please take us with you). On the flip side, you’re likely not going to find a lot of satisfaction traveling to the same vacation spot you’ve had for seven years. Look for something in-between. So, if your goal is to travel to a foreign country, look to include a couple of different cities/states/countries while you’re there. For example, if you want to go to Spain, why not include a few days in Portugal or France as well? By including a few bonus stops that won’t break the bank, you’ve created a more motivating goal.

Write Your Goals Down

Break Down Goals

Your New Year’s resolutions are likely pretty big goals, and this can quickly overwhelm just about anyone. Instead of putting something monumental and getting lost in the process of completing it, break your goal down into measurable steps. How does this work in action? Let’s say you want to quit smoking, and right now you smoke a pack a day. In the first month, aim to get your smoking down to about 10-15 cigarettes a day by the end of the month. You’re already halfway there! The following month, look to cut your smoking down by a third to a half again. By the end of the year, you’ll have quit smoking entirely, and you’ll have been able to do it by slowly weaning yourself off through small stepping stone goals.

Write Goals Down

Writing down your goals may seem passe, but there are plenty of reasons to bring out the pen and paper, including:

  • You’re more likely to remember things you write versus typing them out.
  • Your goals will be clearer and more concise.
  • You can easily post them anywhere. A lot of people find putting their goals someplace they see every day, whether on their bathroom mirror or on the fridge, keeps them on track and make better decisions every day.
  • If you regularly review them, they can become a great motivating tool to see how far you’ve come on your journey.

While it’s perfectly fine to put your goals on your phone, most people find writing them down gives them regular motivation; however, typing them out and making them your lock screen or wallpaper is also perfectly fine as well.

Tell Your Friends Your Resolutions

Your friends likely have a lot of the same goals as you, so now is the perfect time to connect with them. When you tell others your goals, you’re more likely to complete them due to the instant accountability telling someone about the goal establishes. If you find someone who has the same goal, look to partner up with them. For example, if you want to read more, the two (or more) of you can start a book club, meeting once a month to discuss your latest book.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

 Look, making a major life change is difficult, and you will slip up. Whether it’s a piece of cake on your diet or splurging on something for yourself, you’re going to have hiccups as you work to meet your goal. If an oopsie happens, make sure you:

  • Take a breath. There’s nothing stopping you from working towards your goal for the rest of the day.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Far too often, people put themselves through a guilt trip that actually dissuades them from pursuing their goal.
  • Reevaluate your goals. Sometimes we set ourselves for failure by making huge goals no one can complete. Look to see if your goals are achievable and make adjustments as needed.

Setting New Year’s resolutions can be fun, and reaching your goals will feel rewarding once you’re done. Take the time to create S.M.A.R.T. resolutions, regularly reevaluate as necessary, enlist a friend and don’t beat yourself up when you have a setback. By following the above tips, you’ll reach your goals in no time.