5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Enjoy Summer
Summer is expensive. And we’re not even talking about taking five-star international vacations. The cost of summer day camps for the kids is enough to un-balance almost any budget. Add in fun activities like movies, or amusement parks or sports, and you can wave bye-bye to your savings. But summer can be fun without the hefty price tag. Here are five ideas for budget-friendly ways to enjoy the summer.
There are limitless low-cost, or no-cost, ways to enjoy the outdoors this summer. Public swimming pools are usually free or available for a small entrance fee. Check online for coupons and discounts. While you’re at it, look for coupons to your local home improvement stores and invest in a small backyard pool for the kids.
Your local park provides free shade, picnic tables, grills, and playgrounds. Some offer splash pads for the kids to cool off. Others have nature trails, so you and your family can take a hike or bike ride in the fresh air. Others are on a lake or river or the ocean, and you and your family can stay cool the old fashioned way. Free movies in the park will get you and your family out of the house at night when the sun dips below the horizon. Search free movies in the park online, and you can find the ones closest to you. It’s entertainment that’s easy on your bank account.
Chill on the Spending
You’re about to shell out the cash for tickets to the museum, or the zoo, or your favorite amusement park. A little planning can save you lots of money. You can search for coupons, but did you know some banks and cell phone companies also offer discounts and other perks to customers? Bank of America offers free museum admission to lots of museums across the country. Verizon offers its account holders deals, discounts, and freebies. If you’ve downloaded the app for your bank or your cell phone company, you can find these perks with a few taps of your finger. If you belong to a professional organization or AAA, you can also find discounts that can take the edge off. And keep in mind that nearly all museums offer some kind of free admission day. Go on the museum’s website for more information, or call and ask.
Get in Shape
No time like summer to get the whole family in shape. Getting healthier is one of the biggest money-savers you can find. Research shows good cardiovascular health lowers the risk of high blood pressure and obesity. Summer is a great time to download a couch to 5K app — some are free, some cost two to three dollars or more — and start moving. You and your family can sign up for a charity 5k race for as little as $15 per adult entry. (It’s cheaper for kids.) You’ll break a healthy sweat, get a free t-shirt and help out a local charity to boot. Most races take place early in the morning before the sun has a chance to heat things up.
Working out in the sunshine can be exhilarating, but working in the yard in the heat of the day can be exhausting. Consider outsourcing the lawn mowing and other chores so you and your family have time to enjoy the summer days. (You can also find coupons online to reduce the cost of lawn care!)
Giving back is always a great way to spend your time without spending all your cash. If you are looking for a volunteering opportunity for the whole family, some organizations have ways that kids can volunteer too. Look for groups like food pantries, park cleanups or your church for opportunities for the whole family. You’ll be giving back to the community, keeping everyone in the family engaged and teaching your kids a valuable lesson — all for free.
Beat the heat with books
Keeping your nose in a book in the a/c is a great way to beat the heat this summer. If you haven’t yet checked out the local branch of your public library, there’s no time like the present. Not only can you borrow books for free, but the library also offers free computer and Internet access, DVDs to check out and entertaining programs. Outside of the library, many bookstores offer summer reading programs. For example, Barnes and Noble offer a free book to kids who complete their summer reading list. Half Price Books also offers benefits for kids who read this summer. Your public school district may offer a summer reading program with rewards too. Check out your children’s school websites for information.
Summer can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to. A little research and planning can save you a lot of money this summer. Even better, you might save enough money to swing that five-star vacation one day.