The days are getting longer, the nights are getting shorter, and your budget is still as tight as ever. Now that the kids are home from school and the weather is perfect for adventures, you may feel the pressure to spend money on expensive summer activities. But when it comes to making sure the summer is memorable for your family, there are also some fun and easy ways to keep everyone happy and your costs low.
Finding summer activities for the family is as easy as looking to your local library. With many free entertainment options, including borrowing movies, music, and books, as well as streaming media, the library offers an educational boost to the summer (plus the air conditioning is a bonus). Your local library may even offer concerts, readings, or workshops for families.
Many towns and cities now offer farmer’s markets, which hit their peak in the summer months. More than just stands of produce, many farmer’s markets offer musical performances and local entertainers. Round up the family and head to your local farmer’s market to see what fun events and activities are being offered. You can also pick out some bargain vegetables with the kids to prepare for dinner together.
Cooking together is an excellent way to keep costs down while spending quality time together as a family. Choose interactive do-it-yourself meals, like tacos, and let everyone assemble their own meals together. For dessert, you can set up your own ice cream sundae bar and let the kids create their own customized sundaes. By using ingredients you already have, like fruit, nuts, or crumbled cookies, this fun (and often messy) activity costs very little.
Signing up for sites like Groupon will help you plan for the weekends. Groupon often offers discounts and coupons on family or kid-friendly activities, like horseback riding, family concerts, or zoo/aquarium passes. These sites can help you save 50 percent or more on these activities, helping you and your family stay within your budget.
Take a little time and do some research on the internet about local attractions you may not know about. Is there a drive-in theater near you? Your kids will get a kick out of the nostalgic visit to a drive-in theater, and you can bring your own snacks and food to keep costs low. If you can’t find anything local, you can use your backyard for adventures. Set up tents for backyard camping, and show your kids how to catch fireflies at night. You can use a grill or fire pit to roast marshmallows, a budget-friendly kid favorite.
Summertime is a time to create memories and bond with your family, but it doesn’t mean spending your entire budget on pricey activities. Your family will have just as much fun with these activities (and make as many memories) compared to a budget-blowing cruise or expensive vacation. Quality time with the family is a gift, but so is financial peace of mind.