Is it just me, or does summer fill you with new energy? But when you’re also trying to live the smart way (aka, budget-conscious), all that new energy can get frustrating. What can you do with it — without spending an arm and a leg?
Today we want to share 10 things you can do on a budget this summer. And some of these things won’t even cost you a penny!
1) Explore a new place.
Pull out your map (or the GPS app on your phone). Look for a place you’ve never been — somewhere that’s within 100 miles of your home. It could be a neighborhood in your city or a small town miles away. Spend an evening (or a whole day) exploring that new place. Walk around the neighborhoods, try some homemade ice cream, and window shop.
2) Take up a new hobby or sport.
There are many local leagues and clubs offered in the summer, from ultimate frisbee to basketball, hiking groups to bike clubs. Find one that peaks your interest. You can even set a goal for the summer; for example, climb all the mountains within a three-hour radius, or bike all the bike trails in your city. There’s no better time to try something new!
3) Garage sale.
If you’re a shopper-at-heart, then nothing beats garage sales. You never know what you’ll find, or when you’ll come across the deal of a lifetime. Check out Craigslist, your local newspaper, or sites like, , or for a list of sales in your community. Then spend a morning combing through someone else’s leftovers, looking for your treasures. (If you’re really entrepreneurial, you could even keep an eye out for items to re-sell on Amazon or eBay!)
4) Take a cooking class.
Sometimes specialty grocery stores or insurance companies will offer free cooking classes. Look online to see what’s offered near you. If you can’t find any free classes, have some friends over for a shared cooking class. Give a theme; i.e., Texas Cowboy Dinner or English Tea. Each person should choose one dish based on that theme and come with a YouTube cooking lesson and the ingredients needed for that dish. Then you can take turns making each item together, and turn all the dishes into your dinner at the end of the night.
5) DIY your own painting party.
You know those classes where you paint a picture while sipping drinks? They’ve become all the rage! This summer, why not DIY your own version? Find a painting lesson on YouTube, have some friends over (everyone can bring a snack and/or drink to share, along with a canvas to paint on), and pick up some cheap paint and brushes from a craft store. Spend the evening painting, laughing, and enjoying your drinks — either inside or outside.
6) Pack a picnic.
There’s nothing that says summer like a picnic. Pick up some summer sausage, local cheese, crackers, and even a bottle of wine. Lay it all out in the park or your backyard. After dinner you can play a game or read books side by side. Better yet, if you plan it right, you can watch the sunset and/or count the stars!
7) Create a Scavenger Hunt — or try geocaching!
This can be especially fun for a date, or for a family day with kids. Plan out clues ahead of time and leave them at different sites around your neighborhood. Have your loved one(s) try to follow the clues. You could lead them eventually to ice cream, a lake for swimming, or even a water fight in your backyard. If you want to take it up a notch and have someone else do the planning, try geocaching! Download the free version of the app to find tiny, hidden caches all over your city.
8) Have an outdoor movie night.
You can always go to the drive-ins — getting two movies for a whole group of people at a nominal price. But then you can also do a movie night in your own backyard. Try borrowing a projector and hanging up a white sheet, or carrying your TV out into the yard, popping some popcorn, and laying outside to watch some Netflix — or a movie you found in the library.
9) Take a tour.
Choose something you love that’s inexpensive, such as ice cream, swimming, or pizza. Then take a tour of that item around your city. For example, if you chose ice cream, you’d visit a different local ice cream store each weekend, trying out another flavor. If you chose swimming, you’d visit another pool or lake each weekend, and so on. If you love writing, you could even start a blog about your discoveries. What better way to get to know your city while enjoying the things you love most about summer?
10) Museum it up.
On those really hot days when you just want to be in AC, visit your local museum — or a museum that’s a few hours away. Many museums have some free exhibits you can peruse. Some libraries also offer free or discounted museum passes. You’ll get your cool fix and learn something in the process.
Don’t forget to check out all the local events offered in your community. See what your local library, book stores, grocery stores, museums, insurance companies, and YMCA are offering, and check out the online calendar for your city. You never know what awesome events you’ll find!
Now it’s your turn: What is your favorite, budget-friendly thing to do in summer?