Summer is on us and if the heatwave sweeping parts of Europe and North America is anything to go by, it is going to be bumper summer. Usually summer rhythms with Summer Vacation. That time of the year where we attempt to turn off the smartphones, lock the laptop in a cupboard and take time off to de-connect from work and re-connect with family and friends. Companies and jobs tend to come and go, while family and friends tend to stay around longer. However, it is not just the time we spend with the ones we love that makes Summer a time of abundance, we also tend to spend more money over the summer. Think about those barbecues around the pool, the friend’s over for a meal or a drink. The flights to a far-off location, the increased travel costs, dining out, souvenir or just general shopping as we pass the hours by.
However, we’re savvy wealth builders aren’t we? We know that the real power of wealth comes from time. Little actions today, like spending a little less and saving a little more, when added together over a longer time frame, say 15 years, can result in quite significant sums of money, provided you’ve invested the money diligently. We know that right? As Chief Money Man readers you know that right?
The power of long term is key to the attainment of wealth.
However, that assumes we are saving money and investing on a regular basis. What about Summer then and increased spending?
Well as a Chief Money Man regular, you should know spending less is a life-long commitment and doesn’t stop when summer comes along. Sure summer can be tempting and usually we’ll spend more than Winter, but that doesn’t mean we need to stop being vigilant about it!
But how do you save more in the Summer Months? With the lure of those Instagram photos, those waterfalls in Bali or clifftops in some other exotic location, can we really spend less as we keep up with the Joneses?
Well firstly, if you ‘re reading this blog then I do hope you’re not trying to keep up with anyone. Attaining wealth comes with discipline and discipline isn’t having the best Instagram travel pictures.
Yes, it can be very hard to push away the temptation, those memories, the amazing time we’ll have. But it doesn’t need to be.
With a little rigor and some practice, you can find yourself saving in the summer just as much as in the Winter, Spring or Fall, without actually stopping to spend.
The below are 10 simple ways to spend less in the Summer, save more and get rich in the long term.
Mobile phones practically rule our lives. Are they even discretionary spending?
Nevertheless, these little black and silver boxes can cost us quite a bit of money each month.
Summer is the perfect time to go on a telephone detox. Of course, you’ve already taken profit of competition in the mobile phone sector and done a little shopping around to get the best deal you can. You’ve ticked the box on that and changed operators already. You did great and took the time to evaluate all the various offers.
You’re also WIFI savvy and you know you can get through almost the whole day without touching your data packages.
But the Summer is even better as going on a smartphone detox for several hours through the day can ensure your data and voice package goes untouched and your monthly bill drops off. Why rent that video or download that book, when you can stretch out in the sun and just relax your eyes and mind. Take a relaxed approach to the summer and you’ll be saving without thinking about it.
Summer is the best time to wave goodbye to Cable TV. Seriously, do you really need it? Relaxing in the wild on that nature trail, diving into that refreshing lake, sipping some iced water by the pool or better yet, a friend’s pool means the TV stays off.
Movies? Netflix, Amazon and others have such competitive packages now days, that Cable TV is practically obsolete. But in the summer, do you even care about renting movies on these services? What about cancelling them for the summer months? Will you really even be watching them when it is so much better instead to be outdoors?
Remember even few dollars counts and summer is best spent outside the house!
3. Examining prices before you buy and using coupons
This one is so easy but something so few do, given the belief that we don’t have time to waste. Those tomatoes, or apples might be quick to buy on amazon prime delivery or from the shop across from you, but is the price per kilo or pound really that competitive? Would a few minutes of healthy walking to a shop down the road not end up saving you 10$ on your grocery bill? If it would, would you take the extra time? Well, you should. And especially so in the summer, when walking to that shop just a few minutes further might bring you some nice exercise and some saved dollars and cents
Speaking of groceries, remember coupons? Something your gran used when you were a kid? Guess what, they are still around and taking some time sorting through them can save you 5$ to 10$ on a shopping trip. That might not seem like a lot now, but compounded every month over 15 years, 10 dollars can become over 3.000$ and yield 23$ a month at 8%.
4. Restaurants, eating out and wine/alcohol
We all like eating out in the summer months. It can be a luxury for some and a weekly occurrence for others. Despite the fact that eating in saves you money versus eating out, there are other things that can sneak onto the bill that you could easily avoid. Summer comes with temptation, but as an avid chief Money Man reader you know how to avoid it!
Want to know what product restaurants make the most markup? Alcohol. Want to know what is usually the biggest single expense line of a restaurant bill? You guessed it, the alcohol. And that alcohol goes right to your head in the summer, so limit it to the maximum and you’ll do yourself a favor.
Not only will you feel better in the morning, but you’ll also save yourself 10 to 30$ without any effort.
5. Bikes vs taxis
This is for those of you who live in places where biking is possible, especially when the weather is great. A taxi is a luxury. No, it is not just a form of personal transport, it is a luxury. You need to understand that, or you’ll never get this one. And a taxi in the summer can be hot and uncomfortable.
Buses and metros may sometimes be full and they can be a living hell in the hot summer months. Biking in summer is the way to go. It costs nothing and gets you a little fitter when every ride. It is effortless after some practice and you’ll feel better after a few months of cycling.
6. Bikes vs Cars
Like Number 5, this also demands some physical effort. That is a good thing, as when you are retired, enjoying the fruits of all your savings, you want to be in good enough shape to appreciate your money. However, I will admit it takes a bit more sweat riding a bike versus taking a car in the summer. You want to know something else? Your sweat is free, gasoline isn’t. Bikes can be cheap, cars are rarely cheap. A bike costs little to fix, a car always costs money to fix.
If you have access to a bike, go save yourself some money and leave the car at home.
7. Used goods and Outlets vs New goods
A few decades ago, you had few options if you wanted to buy some clothes or a new dining room table. You either paid the price for something new or tried a thrift shop. Or possibly you could find something good in a yard sale.
Today, it is almost effortless. You want a new bed for your kid’s room? Fire up the computer or smartphone and within minutes you are browsing through a long list of available options. A click away, and you’re looking at used items, at a 10th of the cost and savings huge amounts of money.
Shopping used goods or on outlet sites (whether physical or on-line) takes a bit more time and determination, and you don’t always immediately find what you are looking for, but the payoff can save you more than any of the above combined, depending on the item you are after.
Remember, the only person who will know it is used, or from an outlet, is you and you will smile at all that future wealth it has generated every time you see it.
8. Paying yourself first each month
You may not have heard of this concept, but it is powerful and a quick way to start putting savings aside. When you get that weekly or monthly paycheck, take a part of it first: for you. Before you pay anything, take some money out and put it into a savings account or investment account.
Pay yourself first.
Paying yourself first can be the least painful way of building investments and wealth. It is simple, quick and it works. In Summer with the lure of spending all around, pay yourself more! At the end of the year, as you look at your investment balances, you’ll be happy you did.
9. Selling old stuff rather than throwing it away
This is the opposite of number 7. That old dining room table has seen better days and which you are looking to replace. Guess what? Someone will be willing to buy it off you. It takes some time and patience and potentially a few strangers coming into your house, but it can be worth it. The difference between leaving it out on the side-walk or giving it away and selling it could be several hundred dollars. That is a tidy sum as you work your way to wealth. In the summer months, people are usually gearing up for that next move or changing their house styles so it is the best moment to throw your old stuff on line and wait until someone comes to give you money to take it away.
Today’s internet sites practically do the selling for you. You just need a camera (smartphone), some time and you’ll be counting all that money right to the bank.
10. If you don’t ask, you don’t get
My wife always says this “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. It is a short phrase, but it can be hugely beneficial.
I’ve been pushed by this simple framework to ask for raises and then unexpectedly get them. I’ve asked people simple questions when shopping, like “could I have a discount” or “can you give me a better price”. And I am always amazed when people say “yes”.
They don’t say it often, but when they say it, it can easily mean a 10 or 15% discount. A short question is enough to save you money and get you firmly on the road to riches.
So next time you’re looking at a new top or a new bike, ask the question!
The above 10 things are simple, and they work, especially in the Summer. I’ve been applying them for years.
Each little bit saved has been added to my investment portfolio and I have seen it grow steadily over the last 15 years.
Wealth is a question of patience, diligence and most importantly time.
Don’t believe that little amounts don’t help! Little amounts go a long way and eventually grow up into big amounts.
Go out enjoy your summer and make it work for your wealth!
Happy Summer Saving.