Last Friday, I introduced my intention of starting a “Living Well on Less” series to the blog. With the warm weather sticking around these days, I thought covering some free or almost free summer entertainment options would be a good place to start. One important thing to note is that I consider bringing your own food along to an otherwise free event, to be a free activity. You are going to be eating your food from home regardless, so I do not see it as an extra expense.
Summer is really the best time to try to save some money in the entertainment department. I work much less in the summer and I have to be very careful with our finances. I budget very little for entertainment purposes because it is just not necessary. Doing most anything outside makes it seem like more of an occasion. On top of that, there is just so much going on!
Most towns host a variety of summer festivals and concerts that are free to the public. Some of my favorite local events are the Yassou festival at the Greek Church. Motor Mayhem/old car show, Fitness in the park, The Chalk Walk and Third Thursday concerts downtown. The Yassou festival costs a couple of dollars to get in and you will definitely want to buy some food but the rest of the events are totally free. Beyond events, there are parks, beaches, backyard cookouts and garage sales to keep you busy. Here is my “summer adventure” list for this year.
Free Summer Entertainment-
- Make Homemade Ice Cream
- Go Camping
- Go Kayaking
- Go out on a Boat (if you have a friend who owns one)
- Invite friends over for a fire in the backyard firepit. Have everyone bring a s’mores ingredient
- Have a cookout for your family & one for your friends (Keep the menu simple)
- Go Hiking
- Go to the Beach
- Take a book and a blanket and find someplace beautiful to spend the day reading (& napping)
- Have a blanket picnic at a local park
- Fly Kites (the beach is a great place for this)
- Attend local festivals and outdoor concerts
- Go for a long bike ride
- Have a water balloon fight (be sure to pick up after yourself as balloon pieces can be dangerous to children and animals)
- Spend time in my friend’s hot tub on the lake
- Go for a country drive and enjoy nature in all its splendor
- Take children to the park and actually play with them
- Go fishing
- Go on a long walk with your family after dinner
- Start a Garden, even a small herb garden. Seeds are cheap. Dirt is cheap. Growing things is awesome.
- Make Boozy Popsicles (alcohol isn’t the cheapest but you don’t need a lot and boozy popsicles are fun)
- Go to a Farmer’s Market- go to all of the different ones in your area. It is totally possible and worth it to just go and look at all of the beautiful offerings at your local market but I am personally incapable of leaving the market without some small treasure. I just consider part of the grocery budget if it is food. Supporting local farmers and artisans is important to me.
- Berry Picking/Jam making. Berries can be kind of expensive, even when you pick them yourself. If you consider this part of the grocery budget and take care to preserve them, it is definitely worth putting out a little money for. I pick gallons and gallons of blueberries each summer. I will usually spend $30 doing so but I stick them in the freezer and add them to smoothies, oatmeal and desserts for the rest of the year. It is a money saver overall. I also pick strawberries every summer. I love to make Jam. Again, it requires a little investment now but saves money in the long run.
- Yard Sales- Give yourself a small budget ($5-$10) and see what treasures you can find. This also works well at thrift stores and rummage sales.
- Go to the County Fair. This can be pretty cheap. It is less than $15 to get an all day pass to rides and special events. If you pack your own food and don’t really care about games, that is a great deal for a day of fun!
- Host an outdoor potluck dinner party. Keep things simple and have everyone contribute and this is a cheap way to entertain. (more on entertaining on a budget in another post)
- Check out the local wine trail. You can sample wines for free at many wineries and it is only a couple of dollars for several tastes at the rest.
- Go out for ice cream at your favorite local spot.
Hope this gave you a few ideas to add to your own summer adventure list! Please share your favorite free or cheap way to enjoy the summer in the comments section.