How Do You Spend Your Summer on A Budget? Let’s find out! Summer is the season that most of us look forward to. It’s a time for vacations, beach trips, barbecues, and fun-filled adventures.
However, all these activities can add up, causing a strain on your wallet. In fact, according to a survey by Bankrate, 52% of American adults planned to take a summer vacation in 2019, with an average cost of $1,979.
But don’t fret! Here are some tips on making the best of your summer without breaking the bank.
The key to having a budget-friendly summer is planning ahead. Start by creating a summer budget. Decide how much you are willing to spend on activities, eating out, travel, etc. This will help you keep track of your expenses and avoid overspending.
Choose Local Activities
Instead of planning expensive trips or outings, explore what your local area has to offer. Many towns and cities host free events during the summer such as concerts, film screenings, and festivals. Free events are becoming more popular as they foster community building.
Utilize Public Spaces
Public parks and beaches are great places to spend a summer day. Pack a picnic, bring some games, and enjoy the great outdoors. You can even invite friends and family for a potluck picnic to share the costs.
DIY Your Entertainment
Instead of spending money on movie tickets or amusement parks, why not create your own entertainment? Organize a movie night at home, have a backyard camping adventure, or start a summer reading challenge. These are not only cost-effective but also create wonderful memories.
If you’re planning a summer trip, be sure to do it smartly. Look for deals and discounts online, choose to travel during off-peak times, and consider less touristy destinations which often offer the same enjoyment but at a lower price. It’s suggested to buy flights for summer vacations about 47 days in advance to get the best deals.
Eat at Home
Eating out frequently can put a dent in your budget. Try to prepare meals at home as much as possible. Consider having BBQ nights or cooking themed dinners. Not only will this save money, but it can also turn into a fun activity. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that an average household spends around $3,500 a year on dining out. Imagine the savings if you cut back!
Learn Something New
Use the free time during summer to learn a new skill. There are numerous free or affordable online courses available. Whether it’s learning a new language, cooking, or coding, using your summer productively can be rewarding and budget-friendly.
Volunteering is a fulfilling way to spend your summer. It doesn’t cost anything, and it gives you the chance to give back to your community. Plus, it’s a great way to meet new people and maybe even learn new skills.
Swap Out Gym Membership for Outdoor Workouts
Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the great outdoors and swap your costly gym membership for outdoor workouts. According to Statista, the average monthly cost of a gym membership in the U.S. is $58. If you suspend or cancel your membership over the summer, you could save up to $174! Instead, try activities such as jogging, biking, hiking, or even doing yoga in a park.
Grow Your Own Food
Another way to cut down on costs is to start a vegetable garden. A report from the National Gardening Association suggests that a well-maintained food garden can yield a $500 return when considering the market price of produce. Even if you don’t have a large yard, herbs and small vegetables can be grown in pots or planters on a balcony or windowsill.
Start a Summer Savings Challenge
Challenges are always fun, especially when they involve saving money. Consider starting a summer savings challenge. This could be saving all your $5 bills, putting away a specific amount each week, or even making it a competition with friends or family to see who can save the most.
Opt for a Staycation
Instead of spending money on expensive vacations, why not enjoy a staycation? Transform your home into a relaxing retreat. Turn off your devices, read that book you’ve been meaning to get to, have a spa day, or explore areas of your city you haven’t visited before. According to a survey, 53% of Americans plan to take a weekend vacation or staycation, indicating it’s becoming a popular choice for many.
Embrace Secondhand Shopping
Summer is a great time to update your wardrobe or home, but this can be costly. Instead of buying new, consider shopping at thrift stores or online marketplaces. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be helping the environment by reducing waste.
Cut Down on Energy Costs
With the warmer weather, energy costs can skyrocket due to the increased use of air conditioning. However, there are ways to keep cool without breaking the bank. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests using energy-efficient LED lights which use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. Also, consider using fans, keeping blinds closed during the day, and turning off lights and electronics when not in use.
Summer is an excellent time for DIY projects. Whether it’s home improvements, crafting, or even making your own ice cream, doing it yourself can save a lot of money. Plus, it can be a fun and rewarding way to spend your time.
Utilize Your Library
Libraries are a treasure trove of free entertainment. From books and movies to classes and events, your local library has a lot to offer. Some libraries even offer free passes to local museums or attractions.
Take Advantage of Happy Hours and Special Deals
If you do decide to eat out, consider going during happy hour or look for special deals. Many restaurants offer discounted meals or drinks during certain hours, which can significantly cut down on the cost of dining out.
These tips should help you have an amazing summer without feeling the financial strain. Remember, the best things in life are free. It’s not about how much you spend, but the memories you create. So go out there, have fun, and enjoy your summer responsibly!