We all love summer… the sun, the outdoors, time with family – it is by far one of the best times of the year. I live in the northern part of the US where the winters are excruciatingly cold, so summer is always a great time of year for me. (I love the outdoors!)
Below are 12 great ideas that you can use to enjoy the summer as well, but not break your budget or waste that hard earned money. I routinely do all of these, and have found they are a great way to live frugally and enjoy family!
1. See a minor league ball game
You can still enjoy the atmosphere of a professional baseball game without the cost… only difference is the size of the stadium and salaries of the players. If you haven’t visited your local minor league baseball team lately, then here’s your opportunity to have some fun.
Minor league games are an outstanding way to enjoy the summer with the family and not blow your budget. You often get lots of inner inning entertainment, close proximity to the field, and fireworks at the end of the game. In most stadiums there is even ‘grass seating’ where you pay a minimum cost to get in the park and sit on the grass – but still get all the baseball action.
2. Enjoy a free concert in the park
These days, most small towns to large cities have free concerts throughout the summer. (ours is every Wednesday night) If they are anything like my town, the cost is free and the music is entertaining.
Generally the best part about any free concert is the company and being outside on a warm summer night. So bring your lawn chairs, your family, and a picnic dinner for a great night of entertainment.
3. Visit your local pool
I have two little girls and during the heat of the summer there is little else they love more than a day at the local pool. It’s a great way to cool off from the summer heat, and provides great fun for the whole family.
To make this activity even more cost effective, check into your pool’s summer family rates. One can usually get a great family deal for unlimited use throughout the summer – thus saving you even more money.
4. A day at the seashore
Growing up on coast has given me a natural love for the ocean. My parents were both very frugal and continue to be so today. One of our most common family activities during the summer was a day at the seashore… As a boy growing up – I absolutely loved it.
Little did I know that it was an extremely cheap avenue for family entertainment!
5. Get some sun being lazy at your local river or lake
Yesterday, I was out on the lake just relaxing in a inner tube called the ‘river rat’. Needless to say I basically did nothing but get a sunburn as my kids continuously jumped off the dock and tried to splash me. It was great day in the sun, and was also when I thought of writing this post.
If you don’t live by the shore, you probably live by a lake or river and can enjoy this activity. It doesn’t take much to entertain the whole family with a couple inner tubes and some hot weather.
6. Shop at the farmers market
One thing I love about the summer, that I don’t have in the winter, is the endless opportunities to buy our weekly food from the farmers market.
Farmers markets can be a load of fun too… Not only is there great fresh food to buy, but many times there’s ice cream for the kids, horse wagon rides, and even live music from some local band. Our family can many times spend hours at the farmers market. If you haven’t recently, I highly recommend giving it a try…
7. Take a family bike ride for ice cream
One ‘investment’ I made after I had kids was a ‘Burley’ bike trailer. It has proven invaluable for entertaining our family and providing a new experience for my kids. There are many weekends now, where I attempt a ‘no car’ weekend and we use our bikes to get everywhere. The Burley is great for this, in that I can even go food shopping with the kids and have enough room in the back to bike it back home.
What has become common in my house is to bike to the local ice cream shop that is about two miles away. It is our default activity in the middle of the week when we’re looking for something to do after dinner.
8. Picnic at the park
We’ve all had picnics in the past, so this one is a ‘no brainer’ – especially if you live close to a nice local or state park. Picnic’ing is also a great frugal activity for the family. We all have to eat, and the cheapest way to do this is to make it ourselves. (ideally from the farmers market ) Adding a picnic to the mix makes it fun for the whole family.
9. Redbox movie night
If it’s too hot outside – make it a movie night! When living frugally, there is no better way to do a movie night then redbox. Redbox is essentially a movie ‘kiosk’ that you can find throughout almost any town outside of local grocery stores and Walgreens. (check out redbox.com)
For about a $1 you can rent the latest movies for one night and if you have blueray – there is options for these movies as well. Go ahead, make it a movie night!
10. A game of horseshoes, bags, or frisbee golf
Any of these games are great for frugal living. They provide a lot fun for the whole family and can be done for next to nothing in price. My personal favorite is frisbee golf. Not only is it lots of fun for the whole family, it provides some nice exercise as you walk all over the golf course.
If you can throw a frisbee – I recommend giving it a try.
11. Camping, fires, and smores
Camping may not be your thing… it usually is loved by those who did it growing up, and despised by those who haven’t. Either way, it is a great way to enjoy time as a family and is relatively inexpensive.
If you don’t like camping, you probably still love fires and smores. Both of these can be done without camping and are fabulous for connecting as a family.
12. Good old fashioned hike
What you’ve all been waiting for… well – not really. But a family hike is great fun and highly frugal. I’m fortunate enough to be walking distance from a state park, so many times our family will combine this activity with a picnic. It’s great exercise, provides for great entertainment, and is basically free. Go ahead – take a hike!
Well, there you have it… I’m sure I missed a number of frugal options. What did I miss – and what does your family do for fun in the sun?