Summer is the most carefree season, but that doesn’t mean you have to relax your budget to enjoy it. There are plenty of free things to do this summer that allow you to make the most of warm weather. If you’re trying to determine how to avoid spending money over the next two months, read the following tips to have the best summer ever, while also sticking to a tight budget.
1. Trade Happy Hours for Backyard BBQs
Host a potluck BBQ at your place and get your friends and family together for some backyard fun. Make it a regular event by rotating hosts so one person doesn’t feel the burden of hosting all the time.
2. Choose a Photo Safari Over Shopping
Plan a photo safari in your town or a nearby city and hit the streets with your smartphone, selfie-ing your way through landmarks with your bestie.
3. Take a Day Trip to a Nearby Nature Area
Get your friends and family together for a day trip to a local nature spot. Whether it’s a mountain, lake, beach or nature trail, experiencing the outdoors for a day can be a really fun experience for all.
4. Enjoy Free Community Activities
The summer represents a great opportunity to enjoy free activities with your friends and community. Free outdoor concerts, art walks, fitness classes and kids’ crafts are all available for free at some point during the summer. Check your city, county or community’s online events calendar for free events and activities. Or, simply subscribe to our First Scoop blog – and receive Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth and Ocean Counties each month delivered to your inbox.
5. Observe National Celebratory Days
There seems to be a national day of (ice cream, chocolate, donuts, etc) every single day throughout the year. While some are quirkier than others, many restaurants jump on the food-related ones to push their menu and offer free or discounted goodies.
6. Find Free Fitness Classes
Many studios offer a free day or week of yoga to new students, so you and a friend can get these passes and try different classes together without paying anything. Also, some retail stores like Lululemon will offer free yoga classes, and Athleta will offer free classes in yoga, Pilates, circuit training, community runs and more.
7. Enjoy a Free National Park Visit
Just 127 of the country’s 408 national parks typically charge an entrance fee, so find a free one and plan a visit. Admission is typically free at all parks on August 25th to observe the National Park Service’s birthday.
8. Get Free Restaurant Food
Sign up for restaurant e-clubs to get coupons for free appetizers, meals or desserts. When you sign up for Chili’s email club, you get free chips and choice of salsa, guacamole or queso when buying an adult entree. Many of these programs offer free food on your birthday, too.
9. Visit the Library
Your local library is a great resource for borrowing video rentals, video games, e-books and audio books free of charge. A digital platform called Hoopla makes this seamless, so check if your library has it.
10. Sign Up for a Free Movie Screening
You don’t have to be Hollywood royalty to screen a movie before its release date. Enter drawings at Fox Searchlight Pictures, Gofobo.com or SeeItFirst.net to get free tickets to previews.
11. Take Your Kids Bowling for Free
Use KidsBowlFree.com to find bowling centers offering free games for kids ages 15 and under throughout the summer.
12. Attend a Target Community Event
Target hosts no-cost community events throughout the country to give kids and their families a chance to explore cultural exhibitions, concerts and more. For example, Target offers free admission to the Children’s Museum of Atlanta every second Tuesday. Find what’s happening locally to you here.
13. Take Part in a Free Home Depot Workshop
Stores like Home Depot offer free activities, like complimentary weekly workshops for you and your kids – typically on Saturday mornings. Check your local Home Depot or visit their website to get their upcoming calendar.
14. Get Social Media Savvy
Many restaurants, hotels and even clothing retailers now offer free food to people who review, like, follow, check in, tweet, retweet, tag, post pictures and pin. Follow your favorites and start providing feedback or entering their page contests.
15. Check for Free Days at Local Cultural Centers
Take advantage of free days at local museums, zoos and botanical gardens while providing an education and cultural experience for the whole family. Information can usually be found on the institutions’ websites.
16. Request Free Samples From Brands
Most brands are happy to send new customers samples to test out. Just visit the brand’s website to put in a request.
17. Find Free Items on FreeCycle.org
Look for freebies in your community by searching Freecycle.org, where neighbors post free furniture, appliances, clothing, sporting goods and more. What’s one person no longer needs may be a treasure to you, so scope it out and take advantage of the free offers.
18. Host a Book Swap
Get rid of books collecting dust on your shelf by hosting a book swap where you can get new reading material for free. The average mass-market paperback novel costs about $8, so if you read five books this summer, you’ll save $40.
19. Bring Your Lunch
Americans eat lunch out an average of twice per week, spending about $10 each time. Pack your lunch all summer and save approximately $200.
20. Have a Board Game Tournament
Trade a night out on the town for a fun evening at home playing board games. Let each person choose a favorite game, creating a lineup that will keep your group occupied all night.
21. Stop Buying Coffee Out
A 16-ounce grande coffee at Starbucks will cost you around $5. Swap this every weekday habit for a cup of home brew and save $350 this summer. Yikes – it makes a huge difference when you see what buying coffee out every Monday through Friday for 14 weeks will cost you, right? That’s a lot of money!
22. Volunteer for a Local Organization
Giving back to a local organization close to your heart will make you feel rich without spending a dime. Use sites like VolunteerMatch.org to find a cause you’re passionate about.
23. Rearrange Your Furniture
Tired of your home décor but not sure how to avoid spending money to refresh it? Just move the furniture you already have around for a new look — without purchasing anything new.
24. Take Your Furry Friend to the Dog Park
At your local dog park, enjoy watching your best friend get some off-leash exercise. It doesn’t cost a thing to let your pooch run free and bond with other fellow canines.
25. Catch Up With Family and Friends
Catch up with family and friends you haven’t talked to in awhile. Invite those in your area to your home for coffee, or pick up the phone and give those long-distance loved ones a call.
26. Do Your Own Yard Work
Lawn services average $54 per week to cut your grass. Handle this chore yourself, you’ll save hundreds of dollars.
27. Stay Away From Places Where You’re Tempted to Spend
When trying to figure out how to spend less money, avoid certain places, such as the mall – that trigger your urge to spend impulsively. Don’t set yourself up to break your budget.
28. Turn Off the A/C
Air conditioning bills soar during heat waves. Turn your air conditioner off, open the windows and use fans to circulate air (when you can).
Article Source: Laura Woods for gobankingrates.com