June: The month in which both National Splurge Day and International Panic Day fall on the same date (June 18). Go figure.
1. Adopt a Feline Friend
June is National Adopt a Cat Month. On average, it costs less to own a cat than a dog. And if you adopt a cat from a shelter, not only are you perhaps saving its life, you’ll be saving money: Many shelter cat adoptions come with free or discounted vaccinations and sterilization.
Cats are also a purr-fect way to stay healthy and save on medical costs. Research shows that having a cat around the house can help lower your risk of everything from a heart attack to depression and — believe it or not — allergies.
Related: 7 Ways to Save Money on Pet Care
2. Swap Seeds and Plants
Whether you’re supplementing your grocery budget with a backyard veggie garden or sprucing up your landscaping with a new flower bed, consider trading excess plants and seeds with other gardeners rather than buying them at the nursery. You can find a nationwide listing of local plant swap meets at PlantSwap.net and trade seeds online on various sites.
3. Advice for Recent College Grads
Yep, it’s time to start thinking about how to pay off that student loan debt. The single most important thing you can do — whether you have debt or not — is continue to live like a student. Don’t upsize your lifestyle just because you have a new job. Keep your roommates. Avoid other debt. Start a habit of brown bag lunches. Find carpool buddies or bike/walk to work. Welcome to the real world.
4. Get an Energy-Efficient AC
Simple, inexpensive measures like shading your air conditioning unit, keeping filters clean, installing programmable thermostats and making sure that AC ductwork is properly sealed can save you 30 percent or more on summer air conditioning costs.
If you have an older AC unit, replacing it with a new Energy Star-certified model could pay off quickly, given that these are 15 percent more energy efficient than conventional models. But even if you don’t have air conditioning, there are a lot of creative ways to stay cool on the cheap, like those I share in this video.
5. Don’t Buy Wedding Gifts From the Registry
Chances are, you’re probably invited to a wedding this month. But don’t let the cost of a gift cause you to miss a car payment. If you’re handy with a camera, consider taking photos of the festivities to give to the happy couple. Most newlyweds are already paying hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars for pictures, but the professionals they hire can’t be everywhere at once.
Focus on getting the shots that the hired help miss, particularly at the reception, and you’ll be giving a gift that will only become more valuable as the years go by. If you’re tying the knot yourself this summer, taking three minutes to watch this video could save you major moolah.
Keep reading: 8 Tips for Haggling With Wedding Vendors
6. Look for Father’s Day Restaurant Freebies and Deals
For restaurant owners, Father’s Day (June 21 this year) is a real letdown compared to Mother’s Day, which is usually one of their busiest days of the year. As a result, many local restaurants and even national chains offer specials to attract dads and their families on the holiday. Deals are usually announced just prior to the holiday, but in the past national chains — including Shoney’s, TCBY and Spaghetti Warehouse — offered freebies for dads.
7. Shop Father’s Day Tool Sales
Tools are one investment I don’t skimp on because they normally provide a large return in savings. Traditionally some of the lowest prices of the year on both power and hand tools can be found during Father’s Day sales at home improvement centers. So, stock up not only for dear old dad but for yourself as well. And if you’re not handy around the house, check out the free DIY clinics offered at Home Depot stores across the country.
8. Free Fishing Days
Another thought for spending time with dad this month: Some states have a free fishing day — or week— in June, when you can fish without needing a license. Fishing is a great way to put free heart-healthy food on the table and spend quality time with friends and family. Visit TakeMeFishing.org for a complete listing of free fishing days.
9. Feast on Fresh Fruits and Veggies
June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, with some of the lowest prices of the whole year on nutritious and delicious produce, including corn, lettuce, watermelon, cantaloupe, cherries, blueberries and peaches.
Farmers’ markets often have the best prices on large quantities of in-season produce, so consider buying in bulk and canning or freezing the excess. Or, split a bushel — and the bill— with friends or neighbors. Search for a farmers’ market near you on the USDA website.
10. June Travel Bargains
Bumping up your summer vacation plans into June, rather than waiting until July or August like most folks, can save you some serious money and help avoid peak season crowds. That’s true for many popular tourist destinations in the United States and the Caribbean, but perhaps the best international travel bargains for the month can be found in Europe, where it’s still considered “shoulder season” until mid-June.
That means you’ll find lower hotel rates and more competitive airfare than later in the summer. Northern Europe can still be chilly in June, so head south to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece or Croatia for sunny, preseason travel bargains.
June: Paul Bunyan Day is June 28, a great reminder that it’s much easier to cut come firewood for next winter on a warm day in June than on a freezing day in January.