The summer months are the perfect time to try something different without breaking your budget. Warm weather lends itself to lots of outdoor activities that are often free or cheap. Even if you’re not the outdoorsy type, lots of communities offer discounted activities for families to get out of the heat while still having fun.
Camping is a great way to explore nature, get outside, and travel for less. If you simply want to explore the great outdoors, investigate parks that are close to your home. Borrow or rent specialty camping equipment like a tent, camping stove, or headlamp. Plan your meals instead of relying on the camp store. You are sure to pay a premium if you forget marshmallows or matches, so grab them before you go.
If you are prone to wanderlust and crave a road trip, camping offers a cheap option to spend the night instead of a hotel. If your state offers a yearly recreation passport, take advantage of this perk to trim costs. Plan on making breakfast and dinner at the campsite to cut your dining out budget.
2. Beach Day
A day at the beach is an inexpensive way to relax and have fun. Parking fees are generally low at public beaches. If you find a beach at a state park, your recreation passport should cover the cost. Pack a picnic lunch so you won’t be tempted to grab fast food on the way home.
Boating never gets old! Try a canoe, kayak, paddleboard, or rowboat. Skip the canoe rental service and borrow a couple of canoes, kayaks, or tubes. Take a few friends and park downstream on your favorite river, then drive a second car to the starting location. Once you have completed your route, your car will be waiting for you to pack up your gear at no extra cost.
Your local library has so much to offer! Not only books, but movies, music eBooks, and audiobooks are all available through your local branch. Ask about apps like Overdrive or Libby to access eBooks and audiobooks. Check out your library’s summer reading program for students. They often offer incentives for kids to read more during the summer which is always a bonus. The best thing is all these services are completely free!
5. Fitness Classes
Many gyms and yoga studios offer free introductory outdoor classes. Anything from Zumba, to yoga, to boot camp might be available to you. Hop on meetup.com to find a free running club in your area. This is a cheap way to meet people and stay in shape.
Explore hiking trails across the country with this handy guide. Your state’s DNR website is usually a great resource to find hiking trails as well. Often times you can search by mileage and difficulty to plan the perfect hike for your group.
Ditch that pricey restaurant and plan a picnic instead! This is a great opportunity to meet with friends or family over a meal without spending much. Many parks offer free pavilions and grills on either a first come first served basis or options for reservation. Plan a potluck style to make sure everyone shares the expenses.
A trip to the zoo is a fun way to break up the summer with something new. Look for family deals or group tickets at a reduced price. Skip the souvenirs and snacks to save even more. Research parks near your zoo and load up the cooler for a picnic lunch. You’ll thank yourself for thinking ahead to save a few dollars.
9. Farmer’s Market
Local farmer’s markets offer cheap, fresh produce and so much more! Each market is different but you can expect to find local broccoli as well as flowers, jam, bread, eggs, soap, and handmade gift items. It’s a great way to support independent businesses as well as connect with the community. Keep an eye out for events like live music or food truck nights.
Skip the bugs and sunburn and catch a movie instead. During the summer, lots of theatres offer matinee deals for kids. Drop by the dollar store for candy beforehand to save more than a couple of dollars. Ask about outdoor movie events that might be happening throughout the summer.
Topics: Pocket Change