12 Fun Things to Do In Summer Without Breaking the Bank


What's in and what's out this summer? The Cheapskate has your answer.

By Jeff Yeager

Fun Things to Do in Summer
You don't have to take out a second mortgage to have a blast this summer. Here's what's hot and what's not when it comes to having summer fun in the New Economy:
Photo Credit: SuperStock/Getty and Istock Photo Illustration
Out: Country Clubs
Initiation fees and annual dues will easily set you back a hefty five figures, according to the Club Manager's Association of America.
Photo Credit: SuperStock / Getty Images
In: Local Sports Leagues
For kids and adults, summer softball, volleyball, soccer and a host of other amateur sports leagues are the new, cool clubs to join. Most charge some type of dues or fees, but unlike country clubs, it's rarely an amount that's going to be a tradeoff between bankrupting your kid's college fund and being able to say "I belong to a club." See leaguelineup.com for a league near you.
Related: The Surprising Origins of 4 Popular Lawn Games
Photo Credit: Vicky Kasala/ Getty Images
Out: Amusement Parks
Entry fees and add-ons at even local amusement parks can easily cost a family a four well over $100, with major parks costing nearly that much per person per day.
Photo Credit: Burazin / Getty Images
In: County Fairs
County fairs can be an affordable alternative to pricey amusement parks. Find fairs in your area atcountyfairgrounds.net, and ask about special discount days for families, kids, seniors, etc. Some fairs even allow you to carry food into the fairgrounds to have a picnic with the family, saving you even more.
Related: 12 of the Best U.S. Farmers' Markets
Photo Credit: Nicole Hill / Getty Images
Out: Expensive Dinner Parties and Restaurant Meals
Tired of always being stuck with the check when you go out to eat with friends? Try these money-saving alternatives.
Photo Credit: Sasha / Getty Images
In: Pot-lucks, Backyard BBQ's and Progressive Dinner Parties
Eating in is the new eating out. Try setting a theme (e.g. Mexican night, all-crock-pot feast, etc.) for potlucks to make them more festive and fun. You can also share the cooking – and the costs – by having a moveable feast, with each of your friends hosting the group in their home for one course of a progressive dinner party.
Related: 28 Delicious Summer Recipes
Photo Credit: Hill Street Studios / Getty Images
Out: Water Parks
Sure they're fun and refreshing on a hot summer day, but they can really soak you financially.
Photo Credit: SuperStock / Getty Images
In: Squirt Guns, Water Balloons and Kiddie Pools
For less than the cost of a single one-day ticket to an expensive water park, you can probably equip yourself for a whole summer's worth of wet-n-wild fun. Save your empty squeeze bottles from dish soap and repurpose them as high-caliber squirt guns, or make your own "super soaker" out of common household items using the directions found atsscentral.org/homemade.
Related: 6 Facts and Myths about Swimming Safety
Photo Credit: Darryl Leniuk / Getty Images
Out: Green Fees
A round of golf will cost you about $40 at a public course, according to the National Golf Foundation, and usually a lot more at private courses.
Photo Credit: Stockbyte / Getty Images
In: Living Green
Of course living green is always in, but in the summer it can be extra fun and save you even more money by planting a backyard vegetable garden. If you don't have space for a garden, many vegetables can be grown in pots and other containers, including most herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, and even radishes and beets. Or consider planting some perennial vegetables, which will deliver a fresh crop every year once they're established.
Related: Organic Gardening Tips
Photo Credit: Mike Harrington / Getty Images
Out: Luxury Cruises
A cruise can easily cost hundreds of dollars per day, and that's before all the add-ons the industry is notorious for pushing.
Photo Credit: Tim Bradley / Getty Images
In: Canoe, Kayak and Tube Rentals
Be the captain of your own boat! There are thousands of local canoe liveries and outfitters around the country where you can rent a canoe, kayak, inner tube or raft for less than the cost of a round of piƱa coladas onboard the Love Boat. Find an outfitter near you at propaddle.com — and be sure to always wear your life jacket.
Related: America's 11 Most Endangered Rivers
Photo Credit: Chris Cole / Getty Images
Out: Fancy Resorts and Hotels
Lodging is often the single largest expense on a summer vacation, but what it cost you nothing?
Photo Credit: Constance Bannister Corp / Getty Images
In: Camping and Couch Surfing
There are plenty of places where you can camp for free(or cheap), including many National Forests where "primitive camping" is usually allowed for free. And when you're on the road, many Wal-Marts will let you camp overnight in your RV in their parking lots. If you're looking for indoor accommodations, check out CouchSurfing.org, a nonprofit organization with half a million hosts all around the world who will let travelers crash on their couches for free.
Related: Why I Stay at the Cheapest Sleazy Hotels
Photo Credit: Bigshots / Getty Images
Out: Sailing Yachts
Can't spare $103 million for a yacht like this one? Then...
Photo Credit: George Marks / Getty Images
In: Sailing Kites
... go fly a kite! Making your own kites is almost as much fun as flying them. You can even recycle materials like newspaper and paper bags in the process. And cloth rags or old neckties make perfect kite tails.
Related: How to Reuse and Recycle Almost Anything
Photo Credit: Ariel Skelley / Getty Images
Out: Spas and Massages
I've never understood how a $100 an hour massage can be relaxing. The very thought of spending that much makes me tense.
Photo Credit: Topical Press Agency
In: Napping in the Hammock
The simple things in life are often times the best. Relaxing in a backyard hammock is hard to beat, but if you hang one between two trees, make sure you don't hurt or kill the trees by driving nails or screws into them or leaving ropes or cords wrapped around them permanently. Another fun summer project is to make your own hammock.
Related: Summer Cocktail Recipes with Garden Ingredients
Photo Credit: Christa Renee / Getty Images
Out: Summer Camps for the Kids
According to the National Camp Association, the typical sleep-away summer camp charges about $1,000 per week (homesickness counseling included).
Photo Credit: Grundy / Getty Images
In: Sleepovers
Set up a rotating schedule of summer sleepovers with your kids' network of friends, so that they can still tell ghost stories 'til the wee hours and every set of parents get some kid-free time. And for inexpensive, fun programs during the day, check out the schedule of summer activities at your local parks and rec department.
Related: 30 Ways to Get Your Kid to Play Outside
Photo Credit: Yellow Dog Productions / Getty Images
Out: The Latest Summer Fashions
Fashionistas tell me that the must-have shoe for men this summer is the Car Shoe. At $480 a pair, that's nearly as much as I paid for my last car.
Photo Credit: Popperfoto / Getty Images
In: Last Summer's Fashions
Can't we just agree that the last summer's colors and styles are still in vogue and save ourselves a bunch of money? And, looking ahead to next summer, don't forget to shop for end-of-season bargains come August — if you buy that swim suit on sale at the end of this summer, it might just inspire you to fit into it come next summer. Now that's fashionable.
Related: 5 End-of-Season Sales to Watch For
Photo Credit: IMAGE 13 / Getty Images


Mama said…
What a fun post! :-) Newest follower here! Settling in to read some more! :-) Would love for you to check out my blog and follow if you would! :-)


Popular Posts