Summer Fun without Spending Money

Summer is a time to be spent outside in the sunshine–a perfect setting for attending free outdoor concerts, exploring nature, and walking through street festivals. Take advantage of summer and all it has to offer by saving your money while still enjoying yourself.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about cheap activities, and now more than ever I’ve been keeping on the cheap path. I’ve recently bought a new car (which was No. 1 on my New Year’s resolutions list), so additional bills have been weighing down my budget. But that isn’t weighing down the fun I can still have, thanks to free summer events held in my area.

For example, for the Fourth of July, my lake is holding fireworks and a festival next weekend (they’re a little late to the party). Because of the bad weather on the Fourth, a lot of the surrounding towns have postponed their fireworks displays. So there’s been a festival and fireworks display every weekend. And you don’t have to spend money to walk around the festival. Most of the rides they have are for children, so unless you have children, you can just walk around socializing with people from your town. (For me it’s like a high school reunion every year.)

Another option is to attend concerts inthe park. Not only is it free entertainment, but you get to experience and support a local band. If your town doesn’t sponsor concerts, maybe they offer free recreational sports. My town doesn’t sponsor adult-league sports, so I’m not sure what the steps are for signing up. To find out about free events in your area, log on to your town’s website and click the newsletter or upcoming events tab.

If you live in the country and love nature, like I do, you can go fishing (free at most lakes, might be expensive on the ocean), hiking or camping (could be expensive if you rent an RV or space at a campsite), or go on a picnic. Some recreational areas even have basketball or tennis courts.

I caught a fish on Lake Hopatcong!

I caught a fish on Lake Hopatcong!

If you’re in Northern New Jersey, Lake Hopatcong State Park is cheap for recreational activities. You pay $10 for parking (on the weekend) and can picnic, fish, or swim in the lake. Most other lakes in Northern New Jersey are private, meaning they are only accessible to residents who pay for access.

For people who prefer the indoors vs. nature, you could visit museums that have new exhibits for the summer. Most museums post a “suggested price,” however, it’s only suggested. That means when they ask you to pay $25 per person, you don’t have to give them $25 per person–you can pay whatever you want.

I know of a few museums in the tri-state area that offer “suggested prices”:
– Museum of Natural History
– Museum of Modern Art
– Metropolitan Museum of art
You can find a complete list here.

And some in Washington, D.C.:
– Bureau of Engraving
– Arlington National Cemetery
– The Capitol
You can find a complete list here.

On another note, I won’t be seeing many movies this summer, as movie ticket prices have skyrocketed to $18 per ticket, plus the price of popcorn and snacks. If you do decide to see a movie this summer, don’t pay for an IMAX 3D movie when a regular showing is sufficient. You can save up to $6 per ticket that way. Personally, I feel that 3D movies are a waste of money because not many movies emphasize the 3D quality. Also, most theaters won’t mind if you bring your own snacks. That can save you up to $20. There’s a Five Below store next to our movie theater, so I usually pick up some snacks and drinks before going in.

Another way you can cut costs during the summer is to drive less. With the continuously rising cost of gas, you can save money if you walk instead of drive. Personally, I know it’s tough to cut down on driving because I live away from the entertainment of town. I can’t even walk to my lake without stopping for a break. I also work about an hour away from home, so my option there is to work from home a few days per week (although that’s frowned upon in the professional establishment).

In the end, there are many ways to enjoy your summer break without spending a lot of money. I’m constantly thinking of ways to save and how I can spend my money more wisely. If you have any additional tips or suggestions, please share them below!


Related articles:
The Simple Dollar — “100 Things to Do During a Money Free Weekend
Fox Business – “Cheap Ways to Enjoy the Sunshine (or Hide from It) this Summer



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