Hobbies on a budget: Easy Tips for Smart Summer Living

By Sharon Williams

Contributing columnist 

Now that we are full swing into Summer, it’s easy to get so laid back and forget some basic smart tips that we all know but often forget. To kick off the summer season, I’m sharing 10 tips for smart summer living that everyone knows yet we all still tend to forget.

Check the batteries: When is the last time you needed a flashlight, but when you turned it on the batteries were either dead or too weak to do the job? Maybe you are planning to walk the beach after dark looking for sand crabs or heading out for a hike down by the creek looking for crawdads, do yourself a favor and check the batteries today before you get to a place where you need it.

Stash some bandages: Whether you have kids, pets or a spouse, you never know when you will need a bandage. No need to tote a full size first aid kit, but some bandages and first aid ointment are essential items that everyone should have. Keep a few in your glove box, office drawer or in the zip pocket of your purse.

Check your digital memory: Recently I was at a graduation when the Mother of the graduate had a moment of panic because her camera gave her the message “Camera card is full!” She ran the risk of missing the once in a lifetime pictures because she had to spend time deleting photos in a rush. Take some time today to back up the pictures on your card so you can free up some space and be ready for the next event.

Keep spare change in your vehicle: It never hurts to have spare change in your vehicle or at the bottom of your purse. You never know when you are going to need to feed a parking meter, rent a cart at Aldi, buy a newspaper or a snack at a vending machine or pay a toll while you travel. Save yourself the headache and always keep spare change in your car for last minute emergencies.

Return your grocery cart: It only takes an extra minute to return the grocery cart to the designated place in the parking lot. If everyone would remember this simple thing, there would be less dints and scratches and the parking lots would be less cluttered. If you have small children, then just plan to park as close to the grocery return spot so you will be able to return the cart and still keep your children safe.

Never go below half of a tank: If you always treat the half empty mark as the lowest possible marking on your vehicle, you will never accidentally run out of gas.

Pay your bills as soon as you get them: Save money by never paying a late fee again. As soon as you get a bill in the mail, pay it! Tip: Always ask for a discount when you are paying the full amount of medical bills before the due date! Sometimes you may get as much as 20% off your bill!

Always balance your checkbook: Even though most of us do our checking online, it’s still important to balance our checkbook each month. Knowing the exact amount in our account and making sure that number matches what the bank has on record is important to a healthy financial situation.

Pack a power strip: If you are heading to a conference or spending time at the doctors office, take along a power strip. There may be limited outlets and multiple laptops or mobile devices that need to be charged. Share the power and keep everyone connected.

What smart tips do you know but often forget? I’d love to hear!

For moreideas for hobbies and life, check out Hobbies ona Budget (www.hobbiesonabudget.com).