Simone's Blog: Money Magnet

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

Saving during a lazy, crazy, activity-filled Summer

You’re now in the thick of it: no school, many events and a whole lot of hot weather. All of that can make a budget a wish list item, as you do whatever is fastest, easiest, and the most fun. 

Here are 14 ways to save while maximizing this all-too-short season:

1.  Leave your car behind as much as possible. Tune up your bike and get to riding.

2.  Check your air conditioner for needed maintenance. Replace filters now, before the sweltering August heat.

3.  Decrease oven and stove use by switching to no-bake dishes. When you have to use them, do so in the morning when it’s coolest.

4.  Check your and neighboring towns for free music performances and festivals. Meet up with friends on the weekends for low-key afternoons and evenings of fun.

5.  Visit the library each week for a steady supply of reading material and educational media (not to mention free air conditioning!). I just finished Kevin Hart’s book I Can’t Make This Up, and am now reading Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. Both are fantastic!

6.  Lower the heat settings on your dryer. Hang partially dry sheets and towels out to dry in the sun.

7.  Use a slow cooker to make BBQ sauce, beans, etc.

8.  Check out beaches (lake or ocean) within an hour's drive. Leave early and stay all day.

9.  When you’re ready to hit the movies, check out matinee deals.

10.  Make note of free days at the museum and nature center.

11.  Save on air conditioning by opening upstairs windows before bed, and turning fans on low overnight. Close your windows before the sun rises too much, and close curtains on the sunny side of your home.

12.  Head to the local pool, but not before checking on the free swim times.

13.  Scope out free, local water parks.

14.  Seek out free alcohol tastings. Some specialty liquor stores host free wine or beer tastings on weekends to attract customers and introduce new products.

May the remainder of your summer be stress-free, inexpensive and fun.

And so it is.