It’s Spring! Time to head outside and enjoy the sunny days and warmer temperatures. But the change in season also means a change in prices for activities and dining. With everyone venturing outside, business and restaurants will be raising prices. To help keep your budget on track, here are five tips to help you save.
Set Smart Goals for Your Tax Refund
If you receive a tax refund this Spring, consider using that money to pay off any debt you have or saving it for retirement, school, or a summer vacation.
Shop the Spring Sales
In the three months of Spring, many stores will put on sales. The beginning of the season always hosts big discounts on winter gear because retailers try to get rid of these items for Spring merchandise. It’s a great time to get new winter jackets, hats, boots or snow pants for a fraction of what you’d pay later in the year. If you like winter sports, you’ll also find skis, snowboards, and snowshoes on clearance. The “shoulder season” – the weeks between holiday travel at the end of the year and summer vacations – is also a good time to buy luggage, bags and other travel gear. Spring cleaning is a popular pastime, making March-May a good time to check your local thrift stores and see what clothes and other items your neighbors may have dropped off.
Cook with Spring Veggies and Fruits
In Spring, many glorious fruits and vegetables will be in season, allowing you to cook fresh, light meals for less money. Produce in season includes pineapple, rhubarb, radishes, grapefruit, mint, lemons, radishes, broccoli, asparagus, peas, and artichokes. Try buying into a CSA (community supported agriculture) to get fresh produce every week from regional farmers. Not only will you save money, you’ll eat healthier. You may also want to also consider growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. If you have a yard, create a small garden. If you live in a smaller place like an apartment or condo, you can buy some pots to grow herbs, like basil, easily.
Power Down Your Home
Now that its Spring it’s time to shut off the heat and cut back on electricity costs. Open your drapes or blinds to let natural light brighten your home, and open your windows to let the fresh Spring air come in. If you’re spending more time outside this Spring (and you should!) you can unplug your electronics when you’re not home and reduce your utility costs.
Now that weather is a lot nicer, consider canceling your gym membership and exercising on your own outdoors. Try taking jogs through your neighborhood. If running isn’t your jam, do some yoga or plyometrics on your lawn. Here is a great, 30-minute workout from Fitness Magazine that anyone can do outside. If you want to be social, gather some friends and play frisbee, soccer, basketball or softball at a local park.