Happy first day of summer!

For those of us in the colder regions of the U.S., the warmer months present us with options we longed for during the winter, but how do we take advantage of the warm weather? What are some ways we can save over the summer?

Check out local opportunities: If you are like me, you may miss some of the great events or opportunities that are available in your community. I started paying closer attention to the information available through my local parks and recreations office and I talk to friends and colleagues about things they do with their families. My family and I love attending local fairs and festivals and visiting local museums, splash parks, and beaches. Other low-cost opportunities may be available through community centers and community-based non-profit agencies.

Plant a vegetable garden: If you are looking for fresh and healthy food options over the summer, consider planting a garden (if that is a possibility for you). One of my colleagues just wrote a great article on gardening, which highlights some of the tremendous benefits of planting your own vegetables or other small crops. For instance, being outside helps stimulate thought and provide sanctuary in our busy lives. If possible, get the whole family involved. Younger children or grandchildren can help with watering the plants and checking in to see how they are growing.

Bike to work or around town: Depending on your capabilities, biking is a good way to save on gas. This type of activity also has great health benefits. The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that physical activities like biking help prevent diseases such as stroke and diabetes and help improve physical and mental health outcomes. If you decide to bike, please remember to pay attention to heat advisories and travel with water.

Plan day trips or short road trips: Summertime is a prime time for travel for many families. Pay close attention to the high and low seasons for travel. During high season or months, it may cost you more because of demand. Day trips can help you save on hotel and other accommodations. If you are looking for more ways to make the best of your summer and do more with your family or friends, you also could think about camping. If you already have camping gears, maybe plan a short camping trip instead of a road trip.

Pack lunches, snacks, and reusable water bottles: This is a great practice throughout the year. As a basic need, food often ends up being a major expense. There are many ways to save on food. Packing lunches for work or other outings help you make healthier food choices and may reduce food spending and waste. Researchers and nutrition experts estimate that billions of pounds of food are wasted each year in the United States. I know it is hard to pack a lunch every day. However, you can include lunch items in your grocery shopping, use leftovers, and prepare over the weekend or overnight. In addition to packing lunches during the summer, when the weather is high, make sure to invest in reusable water bottles, which helps save on buying bottled water.

Air-dry clothes instead of using the dryer: This depends on where you live, but if you have the option to air-dry your clothes on a line in your yard/on your property, you could save on energy cost during the summer months.

Use community resources: What programs are available during the summer through your local libraries and parks and recreation centers? This ties the earlier point about paying attention to local opportunities or events. One example, there are some low-cost youth and adults swim programs for community members. There also are summer food and reading programs that offer low-cost or free activities for individuals and families.

What are some other ways you or family save during the summer? Tweet at me: @SaveFearlessly - This is how I save money during the summer.