The great thing about summer is that you and your family can have so much fun – possibly more so than any other time of year – without spending a lot of money.
In fact, if you plan it right, summer can be one of the best times of the year to save money.
1. No gift-related holidays
Once you’ve honored dads and grads, technically in the spring, you have all summer with no gift-giving legal holidays at all.
You might celebrate the 4th of July and Labor Day with barbecue and a picnic, but you can go months without having to buy so much as a greeting card or a box of chocolates.
2. The great outdoors is free – or close to it
During the months of rain and snow, it was easy to go to a video arcade, the mall, or the movies for fun.
When the sun is shining, all you need is a backyard, a skateboard park, or a sidewalk to stroll along.
Check out your local parks and recreation department and zoo, as well as any nearby state and national parks.
An annual pass often costs not much more than the one-time entry fee. You might also be surprised at the wide variety of reasonably priced, fun programs for kids and adults.
3. Community activities are everywhere
Plays, free outdoor concerts, street fairs, movies under the stars – it’s amazing what goes on in communities in the summer.
Try looking in your neighborhood paper or online, and let everyone in the family choose some activities.
4. Clothing is relatively cheap
Summer clothes cost less than winter ones. Not only are shorts cheaper than pants, and tank tops less expensive than sweaters, but there are no coats or gloves to buy.
If you have growing children, there’s no running to the store when suddenly their legs are longer than their pant legs, either.
5. Food is cheaper, healthier, and better than ever
If you’ve never been u-picking, you’re missing out on a great summer activity. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save by going to local farms and picking berries yourself.
And you’ll never have fresher fruit than when you fill your flats yourself and take them home.
The next best thing to u-picking is going to farmer’s markets and roadside stands. The produce there was often picked that morning.
With so much variety and fabulously fresh produce, there’s no easier time to eat more real food and forget about expensive, prepackaged junk.
Of course, summer is also a great time to grow your own food.
Start with something easy that gives you a quick return, like lettuce and herbs. Instead of buying cut herbs, buy live ones for the same price, and you’re in the gardening business.
Before you know it, you’ll be growing pumpkins and sharing tomato growing tips. It’s addictive.
What’s your favorite free or almost-free summer activity?