Think about how many times you actually used the community pool last year, and whether any recent changes in your schedule might increase or decrease your usage. Use that information to determine whether you should spring for a full membership, or just purchase day passes.
Along the same lines: it’s nice out! Put your gym membership on hold —many gyms allow you to keep your membership in stasis for $10/month— and go play outside, instead.
Watch your newspaper for free evening activities; many parks and even outdoor shopping centers offer free concerts, outdoor movie nights, and other low-cost/no-cost entertainment during the summer months.
Watch out for the ingredients in your sunscreen. Zinc oxide is a terrific choice and has the added benefit of being very cost-effective. You can buy a low-cost tube of zinc oxide diaper cream and utilize it as a mineral-based sunscreen. This is a particularly great option for people with sensitive skin. If your kids balk at the idea of you rubbing diaper balm on their faces, squeeze it into a non-breakable screw-top container so nobody will be the wiser.
It’s less expensive to purchase an aloe vera plant than it is to buy bottles of aloe gel. If you get sunburnt, snap off a piece of the plant and rub it on your affected skin. Aloe plants are also terrific natural air-cleaners when kept in the home or bathroom, but are toxic to dogs and cats.
If swim diapers aren’t soiled, you can hang them up to dry and then re-use them. This especially works well with mostly potty-trained toddlers.
Use the warmer weather to cut down your family’s consumption of expensive meat. Pasta salads with vegetables or even broiled tofu are cool side dishes or even main-course meals.
If you’re barbecuing, throw a few extra items on the grill to eat at later meals, to maximize the use of your charcoal or propane.
You can get by without a barbecue brush if you preheat your propane grill, then turn it off, and rub a ball of aluminum foil to clean the grill rack.
Speaking of aluminum foil, you can barbecue vegetables on a foil sheet, or even toss them in oil and herbs and wrap them in a foil “envelope” for cooking on the grill. This will help to keep you from heating up your house and turning on your air conditioner. Got to watch those energy bills!
A tomato plant in a pot on the porch will afford delicious produce at comparatively low prices. Just make sure to keep the water on the dirt, not the leaves, as this can cause illness in the plant. Add another container of the herbs you usually purchase in dried form and taste the difference; you typically will need to use 1 Tbs. of fresh herbs where 1 tsp. of dried herbs is called for.
Finally: take the day off from big chores by using your heavy-duty appliances before noon or after 7. This will help you keep your house cool —saving on air-conditioning costs— and also keep peak-energy-use fees off your gas and electricity bills. It’s a pretty great excuse to stay poolside for an extra hour, too!