Just because the summer temperatures are rising, that doesn’t mean you should burn a hole through your wallet and your hard-earned cash.
In fact, right now is the perfect time to think about saving money, lots of it.
Here are three ways to save thousands of dollars this summer – and beyond – by focusing on a few freebies everyone should know about.
Savings Strategy #1: Get free stuff for your apartment or home
The summer months – from late June through August – tend to be some of the busiest months of the year for people who want to move. Single people often prefer to move in the summer when the weather is nice. And parents typically want to be in their new place before the kids start back in school in early September.
Well, moving often means buying lots of furniture and stuff for a new place.
Instead of doing that, though, try furnishing your apartment or home for free.
You do it by checking out the website www.freecycle.org. It’s a swap site, made up of people all around the world who want to trade stuff. So you can offer what you have – and get what you need – all at no charge.
I went to the site and checked it out recently to see what was being offered in New York City. I saw someone offering a 20-inch TV, another person offering box loads of books, and even someone giving away the double box spring for a king size bed – all FREE!
Savings Strategy #2: Get Free Phone Service
Some people are going to be vacationing in the summer. Maybe the kids will be away at camp or visiting the grandparents – and you won’t be using your home phone as much. Or maybe you’ll use the phone even more to catch up with family and friends during the summer.
Whatever the case, most people with a home telephone pay about $50 a month for a land-line phone. A smarter strategy is to drop the land-line and instead use an internet-based telephone service like Ooma.
With Ooma, after you get the company’s basic equipment, all your domestic calls are free. You pay nothing for local and long distance calls throughout the U.S., saving hundreds of dollars per year.
Ooma was just ranked by Consumer Reports as America’s #1 home phone service provider for the second year in a row, based on value and quality.
Many retailers nationwide offer this service and you can also get it online at www.ooma.com.
I just got the Ooma phone service and it’s a great deal not just for the summer, but all year long. Plus, Ooma has all the traditional services you’d expect – like voicemail, call waiting and three-way calling.
Savings Strategy #3: Get free travel
If your cash is tight, you might think you don’t have the money to travel for a nice summer getaway.
Before you resign yourself to yet another staycation, because you can’t afford a big hotel bill, take a look and see if you can stay in another city, state or even another country — completely free of charge.
How? By doing a home swap.
Here’s how it works: You get to stay at no cost in someone else’s house – in a part of the world you’d like to visit. While you’re traveling, you let the owner of the house you’re visiting stay in your place for free. It’s a win-win freebie for both sides.
Finding other people to exchange homes with is easy. There are about 70 home swap organizations throughout the world. Some well-known sites are: www.homeexchange.com, www.homelink.org, www.lovehomeswap.com, and www.casahop.com.
To join a home exchange organization is free with some sites; others charge an annual fee, usually ranging from about $20 to $100.
New York is a very popular destination. On homeexchange.com at any given time, there are more than 1,000 people in other places looking to swap residences with someone in the greater New York area.
If you get a swap, say to Italy or Mexico – or even just someplace in your own state – now all you have to do is arrange your transportation there.
My solution if you have to take a plane: break out your frequent flyer miles for an airline award ticket – yet another freebie for the summer.