Stay Cool this Summer and Save Money

The summer sun is hot. You come inside to escape the heat, but more than likely you’re also spending a ton on those energy bills. Below are a few ways you can stay cool this summer while also staying on top of your budget.

Adjust your air conditioning accordingly.

Of course, you want to take full advantage of your air conditioner, but do so with some forethought. Before you leave for work or even to run a few errands, crank the air up a couple degrees. That way when you’re gone, the house isn’t being cooled down when there’s no one home.

Also, turn the air up at night and on cooler days to avoid unnecessary costs. Many HVAC units also have programmable features that allow you to customize how your system runs, which can really help when your bill arrives. Another great idea is to close vents in any rooms that are unused to avoid wasting that cool air. Always change out air filters when needed, to avoid any clogging that may make your unit less efficient.

Fans are your friend.

Another great idea for keeping your home cool is to periodically run ceiling and other fans to keep the cool air flowing. This can also help spread the cool air when you return home after having your air conditioning unit cranked up while you were away.

Unplug unused items.

During the summer, it’s natural to want to get inside and flee the heat, but be mindful of how much more energy you are using while running those devices. Computers, televisions, and other gadgets are a great way to stay entertained – but they also can use a lot of power and put a dent in your wallet. So, when not in use, get unplugged to cut costs and save electricity.

Wait to run appliances.

If you are able, hold off on running the dishwasher until the evening when the sun is low and it’s not as warm. That way any heat emitted will be less noticeable in your home. The oven can also make your house hot, so consider cooking on the grill to keep the heat outdoors. Additionally, save your showers for the evening so your bathroom isn’t unnecessarily warm while you’re getting ready in the morning and rushing out the door.

Article Source: Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com

4 Financial Items to Review this Summer

Summer is the perfect time for vacations at the beach and weekends at the pool. It’s also a great time for assessing your financial health. Things are generally a bit slower in summer, so use your time wisely and take a minute to review these four important financial items.

Emergency Fund

Before you fork out significant dough for that condo on the beach, make sure you’re not dipping into your emergency reserves. It’s impossible to know what unexpected things may pop up in life, but having a financial cushion is crucial. A general rule of thumb is to maintain about four months’ living expenses in your emergency fund. If you don’t have that, don’t even think about taking a summer vacation.

Credit

How much do you actually know about your credit? Do you know your credit score? Summer is the perfect time before the holiday spending season to research where you stand financially. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion all offer free credit reports, so do your homework before opening up another credit card.

Retirement Savings

You may not pay much attention throughout the year to contributions to your retirement savings, but summer is a great time for a review. Are you satisfied with how much is being moved from your paychecks to your retirement fund? Is your company matching your contribution? Don’t wait until it’s too late to be in the know. If you are able, contribute as much as you can to your financial future.

General Budget

It can be hard during the busiest times of the year to truly evaluate our spending habits. We move from one workday to the next and do the best we can to budget. During the summer, sit down and give your finances a good look. Are there areas in your life where you can really cut back? If you can make adjustments during the summer months for the rest of the year, you can potentially be putting extra money back in your pocket.

Article Source: Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com

 

4 Ways to Save Money on Transportation Costs this Summer

It takes money to go somewhere. Whether you drive or have someone drive you, you’re going to have to budget a portion of your income to help you get around. If you’d like to spend a few less dollars in that area, here are some tips that can help you save money while getting from Point A to Point B.

Drive better.

It takes gas to make a vehicle run, but it takes less gas when you’re driving more responsibly. We all get in a hurry from time to time, but you can improve your gas mileage if you try to speed less. Some cars have an “ECO” light that turns on when you’re cruising at an economically favorable speed. If you don’t have a similar feature, try and stay at a constant speed and not brake/accelerate so much.

Find the cheapest gas.

When you have a need, there’s usually an app for it. GasBuddy can help you find the cheapest gas around and it’s powered by users, so you get to help let others in on the discounts as well. Just try to never let your tank get too low or you won’t be getting many options on where to fill up.

Get a bike.

If you have a short commute, you can solve two problems at once. If the weather is nice and your commute is short, why not leave the keys at home and take your bike to work?

Start a carpool.

Have some coworkers who live nearby? If so, there’s no excuse for not starting a carpool. By taking turns driving each week, you’ll save a lot of gas money over the course of the year. If you like driving too much to be a rider, why not pick up that coworker everyday? They can pay you a flat fee for the ride, you’ll make a few bucks, and they’ll save the wear and tear on their vehicle. Everybody wins.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com