Over the past year or so, the pandemic has driven up the cost of living in ways you might expect. The price of healthcare, for instance, has risen along with the higher cost of shipping items from abroad.
However, we’re beginning to see some more surprising effects of the pandemic on our economy. Manufacturers are having a hard time procuring the raw materials they need to produce the items consumers want due to their high cost, resulting in higher prices for consumers.
The price of summer barbeque staples such as ice cream, hamburger meat, hot dogs, and soda is expected to skyrocket. If that weren’t bad enough, the cost of using appliances within your own home is also expected to rise. Things like air conditioning and natural gas are getting more expensive.
Thinking of travelling this summer? Expect higher prices for gas — even empty gas stations along the way. Since the 5,500 mile long Colonial Pipeline was hacked by cyber criminals on May 7, gas stations across the country which it supplies have been struggling to fuel customers’ vehicles. Of course, the hack is in addition to gas prices which have been steadily rising since the beginning of the pandemic.
If you’re planning a trip to a hotel, expect to find higher rates there, too. The majority of Americans have now received their first dose of vaccine, and the hospitality industry is opening back up for business — and taking full advantage of the first taste of freedom travellers have had in a long time.
Whether you’re staying home this summer, or setting off on a grand adventure, you probably wouldn’t mind saving a buck or two. We’re here with all the tips you need to help you save money this summer.
Food & Drink
Much of the summer fare we enjoy on an annual basis is becoming more costly. Whether that’s a temporary effect of the pandemic or not, there are several ways to cut costs this summer and still enjoy delectable and seasonable dishes.
Eat in season
To save a little money this summer on groceries, try sticking to produce that’s grown seasonally in your area. Foods that are bought off-season aren’t grown locally and might come from somewhere far away, which means you pay the cost for importing them.
There are many factors around the world that can drive up the cost of imported food items; transport costs, exchange rates, and even weather conditions or political events can influence the price of imports.
Now, during a global pandemic that is affecting every country in the world, it’s an inevitability that the price of imports will rise significantly. Spending your money on locally grown, seasonal produce helps you keep money in your pockets.
Eat less meat
Okay, this one might have some people clicking “exit” but hear us out; meat is expensive. Does your household eat meat every night of the week? Do you eat it in more than one meal a day? Do you enjoy red meat more than twice a week?
In that case, cutting back a bit might actually be easier on your wallet. According to recent USDA figures, the price of premium rib-eye is up by one dollar in 2021, compared to the previous year, whereas the price of strip loin rose by 80 cents during the same period.
The same figures reveal that pork prices are also on the rise. The USDA reports that pork prices are up a staggering 52 per cent from a year ago. The price of other meats, such as lamb and turkey, are also seeing surges largely due to the fact that they are being imported.
Around the House
The cost of everyday utilities such as water and electricity is steadily rising due to several factors including the pandemic. Homeowners can avoid going over-budget by using simple tricks to save money at home.
Skip the A/C
Summer days can be sweltering, especially if you live in a warmer climate. Nobody can be blamed for cranking up the air conditioning on those long, hot days — but you might be kicking yourself once you see your utility bill at the end of the month.
Due to the rising cost of natural gas, air conditioners are becoming one of the most expensive household appliances to own and run. Raw materials, labor rates, and transportation costs have also gotten more expensive for A/C servicing companies, so the cost of repairing a broken air conditioner is something homeowners should avoid.
Try using energy-saving alternatives to air-conditioning, such as ceiling and floor fans. If you live in an especially hot area, try investing in a programmable thermostat, which can cut energy costs by up to 20 per cent. Additionally, remember to change your A/C filters frequently. Dirty filters aren’t as efficient and will hike up the cost of cooling your home.
Save on energy & water
There are various things you can do around the house to save on energy and preserve water.
If you like to garden, try only watering your plants in the morning and at night, when it’s cooler outside. During the day, the water evaporates in the sun and is less efficient for nurturing your garden.
You can save on energy costs by opening windows and curtains during the day to let in sunlight, and turning lights off when you don’t need them. Cooking outside is also a great way to save energy, and it helps keep your house cooler.
If you’re used to drying your laundry in the dryer, try hanging it up outside on a hot day — it’s much more energy efficient, saving you dollars on your monthly utility bill.
Travel & Transportation
After spending months at a time locked up at home, it’s reasonable for many of us to be itching for a vacation. However, even getting from point A to point B in your own home is becoming more tricky, as prices go up and the availability of commodities such as fuel goes down.
Coordinate a carpool
If you’re finding it too expensive to fuel up for your commute to work every day, consider organizing a carpool with coworkers, or even a few neighbors who work in the same area.
This can be a good way to save on gas, while also bonding with those you might not have a reason to spend time with otherwise.
Stay with a family member
If you’re planning a trip out of town, consider lodging with a friend or family member to avoid a costly stay at a hotel.
Hotel occupancy and revenue fell dramatically across the nation throughout the pandemic. Now that restrictions are loosening, the hospitality industry is looking forward to welcoming back guests, and their wallets, with increased rates.
If you want to avoid spending more than you can afford at a hotel, call up friends and family along the way to your destination and plan your route accordingly. You can organize a family trip that includes travel, sightseeing, and visiting with folks you haven’t seen in a while.
The long-awaited summer is now fast approaching. Although things might be getting a little more expensive, the light at the end of the tunnel is that we can now spend time together, closer together. It’s time to catch up on some of the things we have been missing out on. Whatever your plans are, have a safe and enjoyable summer, and stay cool!