50 Ways to Save Money This Long Weekend

May 13, 2013

Long Weekend Saving Money TipsA long weekend is a time for food, friends, and fun – but all that fun can really impact your bank account. You can get through the upcoming long weekend without spending too much money if you pay attention to how and where you spend your money. Here are 50 easy money-saving tips you can use whether you’re hanging out at home or hitting the road for the lake or a hotel.

At Home

1. Adjust the thermostat. Let the house be a few degrees warmer – and even more if you’re out of town, to save on cooling costs.
2. Dress cooler. Avoid the urge to turn on that expensive a/c at all by dressing cooler.
3. Turn off, unplug. Heading out of town? You can still save at home by turning off and unplugging appliances and electronics, which can drain power even when not in use.
4. Use a timer on lights. Many people leave lights on to avoid burglary risks when out of town – a timer cuts the cost.
5. Turn down the water heater. Whether you are out of town or at home, turning down the heat setting on the water heater can reduce energy costs over a long weekend.
6. Keep windows and doors closed when a/c is running. When the air is on, the windows and doors should be shut tight.
7. Close blinds against direct sunlight. Blinds and especially thermal curtains can really cut on how much heat gets into the house, reducing the need for a/c.
8. Use the BBQ instead of the oven. Running the barbeque is cheaper, and it avoids heating up the house.
9. Remind weekend guests to conserve energy. Got visitors? Ask them to conserve.
10. Put a time limit on sprinkler use by kids. Run it only when they’re playing with it to save water.

On the Road

11. Check for best gas prices. Know where to fill up before you go using online and mobile searches.
12. Check tire pressure. Low tire pressure can affect your gas mileage.
13. Have maintenance work done before you go. Breaking down on the road can be very costly.
14. Bring snacks so you don’t have to stop. Restaurant meals add up fast.
15. Bring water. You won’t need to stop for overpriced gas station beverages.
16. Open the windows. Only use the a/c when you really need it.
17. Carpool with friends to a joint destination. You can split the cost of gas.
18. Bring restaurant coupons along. When you do decide to eat out, you can still save.
19. Choose a destination close to home. The further you go, the more it will cost.
20. Know where to call for roadside assistance. If something goes wrong, you want to know who to call and if it will be covered by insurance or CAA.

At a Hotel

21. Get a room with a fridge and microwave and bring your own food. It’s much cheaper than eating out.
22. Take advantage of free supplies the hotel offers. They may even replace forgotten items like toothpaste at no charge.
23. Use a Laundromat instead of hotel laundry services. If you need to wash something, go offsite for cheaper laundry services.
24. Go get your own food instead of using room service. Go pick up a pizza – it costs less than ordering the same food in your room.
25. Split a room with friends. Sharing the cost of lodging leaves more money for fun.
26. Join rewards programs. Save money in the long run by earning points towards free rooms.
27. Check for discount coupons. Online and in travel magazines found for free along the road, you can get better room rates.
28. Shop around for room rates ahead of time. Those who book in advance save more money.
29. Take advantage of free breakfast. Most hotels offer it, so be sure to use it.
30. Pack carefully. Buying forgotten items at a hotel costs a lot more than bringing them from home.

At a Party

31. Re-use plastic cutlery. It can be washed and saved for another party – but wash by hand as it will melt in the dishwasher.
32. Do a potluck. Spread out the cost of food among all your friends.
33. Skip the fancy paper plates. Plain white plates cost a lot less than patterned or coloured ones.
34. Turn off the a/c if doors and windows are open. People coming and going and leaving doors open? Turn the a/c off.
35. Go BYOB. Liquor is among the biggest expenses at a party. Have friends bring their own and be sure to bring some when you are a guest, too.
36. Throw an appetizers-only party. It’s cheaper to provide snacks and appetizers than a full meal.
37. Have the kids make decorations. It’s cute and cheap.
38. Paper towels make good (cheap) napkins. Set out rolls so everyone can grab what the need.
39. Hold it in a public park. You’ll save on all of your energy bills if you have your long weekend gathering at a local park.
40. Set an end time. Let people know when it’s time to head out, so that you don’t have to feed them another meal and can keep the energy costs down.

On Food and Drinks

41. Shop early to avoid last-minute trips. Last-minute runs to the store result in bad spending decisions.
42. Buy in bulk. It’s the cheapest way to feed a crowd.
43. Slow-cook cheaper cuts. A slow cooker or smoker can turn cheap cuts into delicious meals.
44. Cut your own fruit and veggies. Pre-cut trays cost a lot more.
45. Watch for sales. Buy what you need when it’s on sale – keep an eye on store circulars.
46. Buy in the city, not at the lake. Food is notoriously more expensive at vacation destinations than in large cities.
47. Make your own treats. Bake some cupcakes, cookies and other goodies. They’re cheaper and better than store-bought.
48. Buy generic. From sodas to condiments, generic options save a bundle.
49. Don’t buy bottled water. A pitcher of ice water saves money.
50. Keep the guest list down. It’s nice to have a big party, but don’t do more than you can afford.