Now that summer is upon us, thoughts turn to vacations and spending time outdoors. Let’s face it, summer can be an expensive season, especially when the weather is nice and you’re trying to “get away from it all.” I enjoy doing fun things just like the next girl, but living on a budget presents some interesting challenges when it comes to taking vacations and the like. It’s not that we couldn’t take a week-long vacation as a family somewhere exotic if we wanted to. It would require plenty of pre-planning and saving, but we could certainly do it. However, we choose to live frugally, and doing smaller, less expensive things more often is what we enjoy doing (think more bang for your buck). So, if you’re living on a tight budget, or simply want to spend less this summer but still have a great time, here are my tips for a fun, frugal summer!
If you simply must travel to some far away place this summer, you can still save yourself a ton of money. One way is to travel during “off-peak” periods. For example, booking your trip for August is a good time because you’re right in between two peak seasons and rates are typically cheaper. Another suggestion I have is to drive or take a train rather than fly. Not only will you most likely save yourself a ton of money, you’ll enjoy seeing and visiting the sites along the way. Of course, this recommendation depends on where you want to go. With the price of gas, and depending on where you want to go, it might just be cheaper to fly the whole family rather than drive. Do the math.
How many times have you actually took the time to tour the city (or nearby cities) where you live? I mean, you visit the grocery store and the dry cleaner, and you drive to work every day, but when have you really toured your city? My guess the answer is never. I’m pretty sure your hometown has some pretty interesting things going on, especially during the summer. Why not save that money you would have spent on a vacation and see what your local areas have to offer? It’ll cost less and I’m willing to bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Weekends are made for enjoying the nice summer weather. Rather than busy Saturdays spent catching up on housework and running errands or lazy Sundays on the couch, use the time to do something fun. My family loves to go fishing, so we’ll pack a picnic lunch, head out to the lake and fish all day. Even if we don’t catch anything, we have a great time. Often times, we’ll even let the kids bring friends along. It’s a great way to spend time with your family and enjoy summer without spending much money at all.
4. Keep Cool
Summer is hot, no doubt about it. I try to keep the air conditioner off as much as possible, so we have to find other ways to keep cool. Our town has a community pool that only costs a few bucks each to get into, so if the weather’s really hot, we’ll all suit up and head to the pool. There’s also a lake nearby with a swimming area, so we’ll use that as well. In between, we’ve even been known to have water balloon fights and jump through the sprinklers (even my teenagers still love to do this) to cool off.
Summer is what you make it, really. You can choose to spend all your money on one big trip, or you can spend less but do more by choosing to be a bit frugal. Summer is fleeting so you have to make the most of it while you can. In the end, it all comes down to spending time with family and friends and enjoying the warm summer sun.
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