Summer Fun on a Happy Budget!

Summer Fun on a Happy Budget!

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#Thrive Thursday: This week as we Tame the Coin over the summer, we will talk a bit about a sizable wedge in the family budget known as the Grocery Bill! Particularly in summertime, this particular bill can grow almost as high if not higher than what we spend at Christmastime!

We have our reasons of course:

1) It’s holiday time after all. The kids have to have a little fun don’t you think?
2) Summer heat is a very real thing around much of the globe, even in some areas where technically it’s actually winter. We want to cool down. We don’t want to cook. Icecream treats are a thing you know, right? Right???
3) We’re travelling, what’s a trip without those special treats at those particular stops?

For most people, those answers are forgetting one key trick to keeping your grocery bill in check: They aren’t being creative and in many cases, not thinking shrewdly either. [bctt tweet=”You can have fun, cool down, and make summertime special without straining the monthly income/expense sheet.” username=”songdovemd”]

Take the need to cool down with the fun of ice cream treats. In most grocery stores, a large tub of ice cream costs about the same as a specialty pop from the ice cream truck! The difference? That tub of ice cream will provide several days’ worth of ice cream for the same price as one day’s treat from the ice cream truck!

Want a root beer float? Don’t go the A&W for that (edit 2021: Actually, if you live in Canada, now you just might!), simply stop by your budget grocery store in your area, look for the house brand of root beer, and thinking critically here, purchase the size that gets you the most bang for your buck. My son just brought home two 2litres of root beer from Superstore for 98cents each! Many single cans of pop can’t beat that for a price, let alone other name brand 2 litre bottles.

banana splitWhat about a banana split? Go into that tub again. Use small dessert bowls big enough to put 1/3rd to half a banana in. This way one banana can treat two to three of you in one go. Want a chocolate syrup to pour over it? If you already buy coconut oil and liquid honey, go get some non-irradiated cocoa (this is the splurge part) from your natural healthfood store. Come home, and take equal parts coconut oil (melted on low), liquid honey and cocoa powder and stir it all together away from the heat. Drizzle this over your banana split, sundae, etc. Chop up some grapes, throw in some blueberries if they are on sale where you live. Stay away from the coloured sprinkles however, as those contain food colourings that can make your children hyper, create food sensitivities, and produce ADD/ADHD symptoms.

By using that inexpensive house-brand of ice cream from the store, you’ve chopped the cost of cooling down drastically while having lots of fun at the same time.

If you’re travelling and your hotel/motel room has a small fridge, you can do something very similar, but instead of buying the ice cream tub now, you’re buying the ice cream carton and cranking down the cold factor to 0 or below if you can on that tiny fridge. If you are travelling with a travel trailer or camper, your tub of ice cream will help keep other things in the fridge cold so the battery isn’t drained as quickly while on the road. Buy a bag of ice cubes if you didn’t make those first at home (which I advise you do instead before you leave, again, to save yourself unnecessary spends), and bring along an ice crusher(aff. link). You can make your own smoothies, milk shakes, and ice cones using your ice crusher. Search around the thrift stores, ebay, etc, to buy one used rather than new if you can.

Where I live, if you don’t have decent air conditioning in the summer, ice cream is less of a treat and more of a need for two months of the year, sometimes three to four. My home has one room-sized air conditioner and we have a couple other fans going around the place to move the air around, starting with closing up all windows and curtains before the heat of the day hits so that the A/C isn’t working as hard as it might otherwise have to, and to reduce the hours of heat toward the end of the day when the sun is coming through the south-western bay windows. Even with those curtains closed, we can still reach temperatures that leave me feeling unwell. It is absolutely necessary to keep bottles of filtered water in the fridge and a bucket of ice cream in the freezer!

What tricks have you figured out to have fun, stay cool, and remain kind to your household budget?

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