Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyers Offer Tips for Saving Money This Summer
When I was a kid, the summertime blues meant not having enough to do. Now I realize it's about having too much to do - and not enough money to do it with.
June kicks off the season of vacations, barbecues, cranked air conditioners, movies and restaurant meals. And for many of us - particularly this year - the possibility of new depths of credit card debt. But it doesn't have to be that way. With a little planning, you could actually go into the fall season with healthier checking account - and some great summer memories.
Keep it local
OK, by now I'm sure you've heard of a staycation. But despite the annoying buzzword coined last year, the concept is a good one. Sure, you could blow a fortune on
gas, plane tickets, hotel and meals out every day. But why halfway across the country when you can experience fun in your backyard? Most people don't know about all the available activities in their region because they're residents, not tourists. Check out the events section of your local newspaper or pay a visit to your Chamber of Commerce and find out what kind of fun is right around the corner. Local events often include free museum days, nearby scenic hikes, outdoor movie showings, concerts in the park and more. And if the kids are itching to get out of the house, how about setting up the tents in the backyard for a night?
Brown bag it
Do you ever notice how much more you eat out during the summer? Iced coffees, smoothies and ice cream, al fresco dinners with friends, popcorn and soda at the movies (which strangely costs more than the movie) - it adds up fast. It's easy to bust your budget in the summer because the weather is warm, the days are long and you're often in the company of good friends. I think subconsciously, we all need a break from our finances. But being aware of your weaknesses will make them easier to combat. Are you addicted to dinners out? Try packing your lunch every day for work and use the savings for splurging on a few evening meals. Or instead of eating out, why not have a potluck picnic with friends? Maybe have everyone chip in for a barbecue night. You can still be social, but you'll save big bucks.
Stay cool, not cold
I used to work in an office that was always around 70 degrees. In the winter, I had to strip down to a tank top and in the summer I bundled up in a sweater. It's that kind of environment that weakens us to real weather. Why not just save the tank top weather for summer and the sweater for winter? Warm weather is what you've waited for the past six months - why waste it? Each degree below 78 requires 3-4% more energy. If you manage to turn your thermostat up just a few degrees, you can knock a lot of money off your bill. Or better yet, give yourself a limit - you can't turn the air on until it reaches 85 degrees, for instance. I've got a few tricks to survive up to 90 degrees - I wet a T-shirt, wring it out and wrap it around my neck (so stylish, I know) and I put my pillowcases in the freezer and take them out right before bedtime.
Now, I'm not saying you have to fry in a heat wave to stay financially viable. If the temperature is so hot that you don't feel well, don't sacrifice your health - everyone has a slightly different heat tolerance. Nor am I saying you should never go on that cruise or European adventure, or that you should never eat another meal out. But if you're struggling to pay the bills, your priority should be taking care of your finances.
If you just can't seem to get ahead, the problem might be too much credit card debt - something a bankruptcy plan can eliminate. To find out for free if bankruptcy could be a solution, you can sign up for our complimentary personal debt analysis and speak with an expert bankruptcy attorney in Atlanta or Chicago. Once you put your debt behind you, you can get a savings plan off the ground and start making progress towards your dreams - without sacrificing your credit or your sanity to do it. Look at it as a permanent vacation.