Enjoy your SCV summer on a budget

Robbie, left, and Wayne Weber dance to the music of The PettyBreakers as they perform on stage during the first of the Concerts in the Park series held at Central Park in Saugus on Saturday, 070321. Dan Watson/The Signal

As the state fully reopens and summer kicks into high gear, many of us are itching to get out and adventure after more than a year of being pent up.

However, if you’re not careful, summer fun can get spendy.

Simply budgeting for trip expenses is one thing, but to better spend your money for the maximum amount of fun, financial experts agree there are other cost-saving measures you can take this summer.

No matter your budget, there are ways to save enough to have a fun summer and celebrate post-pandemic life, so here are some tips for summer savings from the Santa Clarita Valley’s financial experts.

Subscription services add up fast

Whether it’s an online streaming service, food delivery service, a beauty or even a pet toy subscription, these monthly options have exploded this past year, especially while most people were upping their online spending.

Those costs can add up fast, especially when you lose track of how many subscriptions you have going.

So, take a peek at your bank statement, make a list of every subscription service you’re paying for and think hard about how much you use or need each service. Chances are, many will be able to cut at least one or two subscriptions (or at least downgrade plans) and save a good chunk of change every month.

Track your spending

While similar to creating a budget, simply tracking spending can be easier and just as effective.

Using a spreadsheet or online banking tool to record your expenses can make it easy to monitor where your money is going and where you can make some cuts.

One financial strategy that anyone can use is the 50-30-20 approach. Under the 50-30-20 approach, income is allocated based on this breakdown: 50% of money is spent on needs, including housing costs, health insurance, car payments and groceries; 30% is spent on wants, including hobbies, dining out and travel; 20% of money is allocated to savings.

Take advantage of low interest rates

High interest rates also can add up, but thankfully, those debts are often eligible to be refinanced at a lower rate — which can help you save a decent chunk of change in the long run.

Whether taking out a new loan or using a balance-transfer credit card, which lets the borrower move balances onto the card and pay them off interest-free over a defined period, borrowers should make sure their new debt has a lower interest rate, as well as less fees than their current loans.

Opt for free outings

A date night here, a night out with friends there, going out at all can be pretty expensive.

Instead of spending money on entry tickets, search for free events, such as outdoor concerts, drive-in movies and local museum or natural park trips.

Concerts in the Park is a popular and free, family-friendly outing every 7 p.m. Saturday at Central Park.

Cut down on energy costs

As the heat wave is sure to continue through the summer, there are actually a number of easy ways to save money on your cooling bill.

Keeping not only blinds and curtains closed during the day, but also the doors and vents closed to rooms you aren’t using could save you.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy says that 76% of sunlight that hits standard double-pane windows becomes heat when it enters your room.

You can even go a step further by making sure to caulk your windows and doors so that they’re sealed and your air conditioner doesn’t have to work overtime.

The Department of Energy also says two of the best ways to cut down on the amount of energy your home eats up is by using less water and using a cooler water temperature.

Time to cut those coupons

Before heading out to the store, compare ads and coupons from your local grocery stores and plan your purchases around sale items.

Many of these stores also now have mobile apps, allowing for convenient access to savings.

Cash-back apps are also useful, as many of which give consumers rewards for simply shopping at their favorite stores.

There are also many who forget to take advantage of the cash-back rewards offered on credit cards, allowing cardholders to accumulate points for everyday spending, which can then be converted into certain items, or in some cases, cash.

Cut down on eating out

Making your own meals is usually not only healthier, but way cheaper than dining out, so try making your lunch for work or even road trips.

Preparing ahead of time can keep you from buying overpriced food or treats along the way.

Get down with the DIY

Before calling the professionals, research some online tutorials to learn some of the basic do-it-yourself jobs and give them a shot in fixing whatever issue may arise.

Chances are, some fixes are easier than you think — and loads cheaper, too.

Do some summer decluttering

Not only will cleaning out the garage or your closet leave you more room for activities, but if you then sell some of the stuff you no longer want, you can make a few bucks.

Whether you choose to have a good, old-fashioned garage sale, sell things online or via apps or take clothes to a consignment store, you’ll end up with some extra cash to spend.

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