This past Monday marked the first day of summer! But with the extraordinary hot temperatures lately, it’s been feeling a lot like summer for the past month and a half! With this season being deemed the busiest and hottest season of all, our pocket books tend to feel the heat as well. Here are some affordable ways to enjoy the summer months and all its’ bustle, without going broke.

Take CyRide or carpool                                                                                                                                                                   

If you’re a student working during the summer months and commuting to your job, a great way to save on gas would be carpooling or taking the CyRide bus. CyRide is free for all students, and can get you anywhere you need to be within the city of Ames. If your job is outside of Ames, buddy up with a few coworkers and take turns driving to work. This means extra money in your pocket and keeps miles off that ole Honda Civic so you can keep driving it for a few more years. 

Borrow (or buy cheap!) clothing for special events

One of the biggest budget breakers seem to be those frequent stops at the mall or department stores. I know we all love a good TJ Maxx find, but those purchases can really add up! And no, you do not need another pair Birkenstocks! If you’re looking for something to wear to an event, like a wedding, graduation, or summer concert, consider borrowing clothes from a close friend or sibling. This not only makes your life easier, but gives you a new outfit without having to fork over your hard earned cash. An alternative to borrowing would be buying cheaper clothing by sifting through second hand stores like Plato’s Closet, or Goodwill and The Salvation Army. You’d be surprised what you can find –maybe a new pair of jeans that fits you like a glove! But for a quarter of the price. Now that’s savvy shopping!

Price check before booking summer travel

Nowadays, sites like Trivago and KAYAK help make booking summer vacations easy by letting you compare prices on different travel sites to find the cheapest airfare and hotels. However, if you wait around to find the best deal, you might have already missed out on some savings. If you see a good rate, snag it because the same deal will most likely hike in price the following week. Frequent travelers should consider becoming a member of the various hotel and airline rewards programs. The more you stay, you’ll be earning points to receive free nights at that hotel. The same thing goes with being loyal to a certain airline. Those discounts can really rack up and knock off a significant chunk of change on your next vacation! Airbnb and other renting services have also become popular because the prices tend to be cheaper than hotel rooms, plus more square footage = more bang for your buck!

Be a cheap date

Who says dates have to be extravagant ordeals that require a ton of money? Certainly not during college! Some of the best dates are picnics by Ada Hayden, watching a red box, and cooking hamburger helper together, am I right?! The expensive date nights to The Café, and trips to the movie theater can really add up. It's usually more enjoyable if you brainstorm date ideas together that are easy on the bank, rather than doing the traditional “dinner and a movie.” For example, Frisbee golf, an arcade night (all you need are quarters!) or watch the sunset at Ledges State Park. [Awww] Get creative! Even JLo said it herself, “Love don’t cost a thing!”