Summertime is undoubtedly the best season for outdoorsy families, active singles, and anyone who dreads winter. But with a season that’s never long enough, it’s tempting to pack in as many activities as possible before the temperatures drop and the days get shorter. There are family vacations, girls’ trips, an abundance of summer weddings, and an endless list of events that seem to seep into our summer schedules. These are the activities that make summer great, but costs can quickly add up. While some expenses are necessary, there is a way you can avoid acquiring summer debt without having FOMO (fear of missing out). Here’s a handful of budget-friendly summer activities that won’t break the bank.
While this won’t be easy if you live far from lakes or rivers, trying new beaches throughout the summer is a great way to explore your state and enjoy the season on a budget. Granted, you might want to take some drinks and snacks along, but you have to eat anyway. By trying a new beach every week or every few weeks, you can give yourself and your kids something to look forward to, and all it costs is an initial investment in a bottle of sunscreen, some beach toys, and beach towels.
If beaches are a no-go, consider heading to your local pool. You can save a lot of money at the beginning of summer if they offer a seasonal pool pass. These passes may seem like a big initial investment, but when you consider how much you can save instead of paying daily admission fees, the savings can be significant. Don’t assume you have to have kids either. Some pools offer times when adults can reserve lap lanes as well. That way, you can get a bit of exercise in before relaxing poolside with a good book.
Anyone with an active dog can tell you how annoying it can be when they’re staring at you all day, waiting for you to entertain them. But by taking them to the dog park, you’re giving them a chance to exert all that pent-up energy so they come home tuckered out and happy. If you have a friend with a dog, why not have a doggy playdate where you, too, can socialize. Some dog parks are popping up around the country near outdoor beer gardens, making it easy to get together with both your two-legged and four-legged friends on a budget.
Picnics might be old-fashioned, but they’re classic summer activities that need to be preserved, in our opinion. They provide you with a reason to sit outside and disconnect, enjoying the fresh air away from inside distractions. This is especially important if you work from home, as it gives you an excuse to take a lunch break. Whether you want to picnic solo, with a partner, or with the kids, all it takes is a bit of menu planning and a ready-to-go picnic supply kit. The kit can have items like napkins, wipes, silverware, and a blanket packed into a basket or canvas tote bag. That way, when you’re ready to go, you can just grab it and a cooler with your food in it. You don’t even have to make anything if you don’t want to. Just stop at the store for some of your favorite premade meals, whether it’s salads, sushi, sandwiches, or just a few snacks.
Block parties aren’t as common as they once were, but we think it’s time to change that. All it takes is ringing up your local police department to ask if they can block off a few blocks of your street on a Saturday or Sunday. Once you get the green light, you can either hand out flyers or post on your neighborhood’s social media page with the date and time of the block party. After you have all the details sorted, you and your neighbors can put a few tables in the street with dishes to share, like a potluck. The most it will cost you is the cost of groceries for your dish and whatever it is you want to drink. It’s a great way to foster a sense of community and get the kids off their electronic devices. If they need a little convincing, teach them how to play your favorite childhood games once the sun goes down, like “kick the can” or “ghost in the graveyard.” If you have a hard time getting them to bed, you can take it a step further by setting up a tent with some kids’ sleeping bags so they can place bets on who lasts the entire night outside.
By keeping a handful of affordable summer activities at the top of your mind, you may find you’re less tempted to spend money on water parks, movies, and summer trips. Sometimes the most memorable parts of summer are right under our noses.