Consumers must budget for those added expenses the summer can bring
Baltimore, MD (PRWEB) June 16, 2008
The first strategy for a consumer struggling to manage his or her debt is to reduce expenses and improve spending habits. This is especially difficult in the summer months as gas prices soar, families take vacations, and air conditioners are running up electric bills.
"Consumers must budget for those added expenses the summer can bring," says CareOne Credit Counseling Services Spokesperson Clarky Davis. "It's tempting to splurge on extras like summer travel, but, if you are in debt, taking a trip can put you in a bigger financial hole. Instead, reschedule your vacation for when your finances are not so shaky. Reexamine your budget to account for necessary expenses - gas to get to and from work and energy to keep you cool. Don't forget to take advantage of seasonal food items that are found at your local farmers' market for a low cost."
Providers of CareOne Credit Counseling Services offer the following tips and advice for consumers wanting to save on summer expenses:
1. Gas prices affect not only long distance driving trips and vacations, but also flight costs. Take vacations closer to home if possible. Some common, local vacation spots may include amusement parks, national parks, camping grounds, ocean or lake beaches, or historical sites. Also, consider day trip ideas such as museums or the theatre, for relaxing, air-conditioned entertainment.
2. The high cost of fuel in the summer also affects day-to-day driving. To save even more money, try to consolidate errands into fewer trips when possible (such as buying groceries directly before or after picking up the kids from a play date). Carpooling is another option to save money on fuel. Run errands with a friend or neighbor so that you both can take advantage of the savings.
3. An air conditioner can run up an electric bill quickly. Minimize these expenses by setting the thermostat to around 78 degrees during the summer, and don't turn it on during the season until absolutely necessary. Leave it turned off whenever possible and, instead, open a window if there is a breeze outside. Avoid heating up household items too quickly again by keeping shades drawn and closing off areas of the home that do not need to be cooled (such as closets, bathrooms, and spare bedrooms). Finally, if you are using a window A/C unit, ensure there are no gaps allowing warm air in through the window.
4. Grocery bills can increase during the summer for families with children who are temporarily back home. Plan meals ahead of time to take advantage of store sales and coupons and supplement the weekly meal schedule with leftover ideas to stretch groceries further.
5. Even cooking regular meals can rack up summer costs. On top of the typical gas or electric costs of operating a stove and oven, the added heat can force consumers to leave air conditioners or fans running longer than necessary. Instead, use the microwave, plan cold meal options (such as sandwiches or salads), or cook outdoors on a grill.
6. Many consumers like to eat outdoors during the summer months. If eating outside frequently (such as for picnics) is commonplace, invest in inexpensive dishes and utensils that can be used outside rather than repeatedly purchasing disposable materials year after year.
7. Hang clothes outside to dry. This not only saves money on utilities but also decreases the amount of extra heat being released into the home, again cutting down on the dependency on an air conditioner.
8. Don't run up utility bills by over-watering the lawn. For those who insist on having a lush green lawn at all times, water it early in the morning or later in the evening. Mid-day watering costs you more as the more direct sun evaporates more water than earlier or later in the day, meaning it takes more water to get the same effect.
About CareOne Credit Counseling Services:
CareOne Credit Counseling Services is a service mark of 3C Incorporated, and its providers are industry leaders committed to providing consumers with education and debt management services related to improving and maintaining their financial health. CareOne Agencies have helped over 4.5 million people pay down debts through their solid relationships with over 220,000 creditors.
For more information about CareOne Credit Counseling Services, please visit http://www.CareOneCredit.com, or contact Clarky Davis at (410) 925-9769.
CareOne Credit Counseling Services
8930 Stanford Blvd.
Columbia, MD 21045
Phone: (410) 925-9769