4 Free or Low Cost Summer Activities That You Won’t Want To Miss
Summer is one of the best seasons of the year. There never seems to be a shortage of events and places to go. Between family cookouts, pool parties, amusement park visits, extended weekends, vacations and lazy days relaxing in the sun, its very easy to blink and blow your budget. Sticking to your budget during the dog days of summer isn’t impossible if you plan for it. Below are 4 ideas that will help you enjoy yourself while sticking to your budget.
There is no shortage of festivals from Memorial Day to Labor Day. These free events are a great time to explore other cultures, hear great music and try new foods. There are usually lots of vendors at these events but you don’t have to break the bank. Determine how much you have in the fun money portion of your budget then withdraw cash from that account. Leaving your debit/credit cards at home will keep you from going overboard on food and vendors. Packing snacks will keep you on target as well.
Local and State parks are great places to spend the afternoon. You can load the car with food, music, blankets and toys and camp out for the day. Park entrance fees are typically less than $10 per visit or you can get a yearly pass for less than $40. The annual fee typically includes several parks so annual passes make the most sense. Parks are a great place to meet with other families and let the kids play while the adults catch up. You can build the cost of the food that you take to the park into your weekly grocery budget and you can enjoy the day for less than $10 out of pocket.
Nature and bike trails add additional elements of fun and add hours of enjoyment. Create nature scavenger hunts to get the kids involved in searching for local birds, plants and animals. This keeps them engaged while getting fresh air and exercise. Parks near water have the added bonus of fishing, swimming and beach activities.
In many metropolitan areas there are music festivals on the weekends. These festivals usually take place in public spaces and are free of charge. Coupled with vendors and activities these festivals give people a chance to hear different styles of music that they may not have been interested in before. I fell in love with country music and jazz as a teenager because of annual local music festivals. Being able to hear music from different genres for free is great for children and adults alike. Like other festivals I recommend using cash and packing snacks to avoid overspending.
Libraries and Museams
Local libraries and museums are wonderful places to go for free activities all year long but they are especially plentiful during the summer. Many libraries offer weekly movie nights and activities for children and adults. There are clubs for every personality type as well as workshops for creatives. Don’t forget that you can check out traditional books as well as e-books and DVDs There are free and reduced priced days at museums as well as themed activities and craft days. Guided tours and interactive events at historical and children’s museums make history come alive.
The best part about all of these activities is that you have the opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family while staying within your budget. The conversations that you will have with your children while looking for native birds on a nature trail can’t be beat. The memories you create with your partner while listening to a new band at twilight will bring you closer. The icing on the cake is getting to the end of the weekend tired but full of joyous memories and on budget. Check your local newspapers, Facebook and other sites for upcoming events and make the most of your summer.