Make the Most of Summer Fridays

Jun 9, 2023 11:00:00 AM

If your summer budget feels tighter than last year, you’re not alone. The economists at Moody’s Analytics report that American families are still challenged by the rising cost of goods and services – which means many people may be preparing to skip the big summer vacation.

Readjusting your habits to match a changing budget is smart financial planning, but at the same time, it’s also important to not miss out on the summer fun! Here are six ideas on how to make the most of the warm weather season, without breaking the bank.

Organize a Scavenger Hunt

Want a full day of entertainment you’ll be talking about for years? Plan a scavenger hunt. A scavenger hunt is the perfect summer activity for a group of adults or kids, or a mix of ages. Divide everyone into teams of 4-6 people and give out a list of no-cost challenges: capture a photo of the state flower, find a car with a vanity license plate, eat a lemon slice. You can find scavenger hunt examples online, or make your own! Either way, be sure to create a message group where everyone can share their pictures, and if participants have a little cash to spare, go in on delivery pizza after the game is done.

Eat in the Park

Taking a picnic to the park is a summer classic for a reason. There’s something both fun and relaxing about eating a simple meal on the grass, in the sunshine. At the same time, putting together a picnic can get expensive faster than you might think. To keep costs low, go with a group of friends and have everyone bring a different dish – because it’s generally less expensive to make one big dish, as opposed to each family preparing their own entire meal. A sign-up sheet where people can volunteer to cook will help to keep everything organized and ensure there aren’t five desserts and no main course.

Commit to a No-Car Weekend

Instead of spending money on gas in order to take a road trip, flip it around and do a no-car weekend. Take a long walk to a nearby café, go for an afternoon bike ride, or walk to a bar in the evening. While it might be a challenge to totally avoid the car for an entire weekend, that’s all part of the fun. Doing a no-car weekend forces you to take it slow, get closer to nature, and see a totally different side of the place where you live. And, if your local area is truly non-walkable, choose a nearby place where you can park for free, then spend the rest of the day exploring on foot.

Head to the Library

The public library is an absolutely amazing resource for no-cost summer fun that will keep you entertained all weekend long. Look out for free events for kids and adults, and check if your local branch has a “library of things” with board games, gardening equipment or art supplies. Many libraries also offer free access to digital entertainment like movies and TV shows, and even AV technology – perfect for putting on your own weekly outdoor cinema, at zero cost. Ask attendees to bring lawn chairs and snacks, and you’ll be set for the summer.

Swap With a Friend

Accommodation is one of the biggest costs of a vacation. Eliminate this expense completely by doing a summer vacation home swap! Check with friends or family who live in a different city and see if anyone’s interested in swapping for a few days, or talk with local friends who simply want to spend the weekend in a new neighborhood. House swap sites are also available online, where you can connect with interested swappers in a variety of places – just be sure to do your due diligence and only swap if you’re confident it’s a good fit.

Think Small (Town)

Taking a vacation to a popular destination can get very pricey, very fast, because high demand for food and accommodation and activities pushes up the costs for everyone. Instead of thinking big when it comes to trip planning, throw a dart at the map and choose a small, underrated town for your next summer vacation. Explore local parks, sample some simple eats, and just enjoy a few days of low-cost relaxation – rather than paying top dollar to visit a major tourist site with hundreds of other people.

Tags: Budgeting