Were in the peak of summer! If you have kids, they are out of school and complaining almost every day that they’re bored 🙂 So how can we entertain them without breaking the bank and still save; how can we enjoy ourselves without breaking the bank? There are a bunch of things to do like going to the park or chucky-cheeses (which for $10 in coins can keep them busy for a while). But there are some items which may be more expensive in the summer and that’s why it’s better to save and spend in the fall and winter months on these. Apart from these, I’ll talk about a couple of ways to enjoy those summer days and evenings without breaking the bank!
Purchases to Minimize or Avoid in Summer
Gas – gas is definitely more expensive in the summer. Per the EPA, summer blend gas has 1.7% more energy than winter-blend. This makes gas mileage better in the summer, but it results in an increased price, which is passed on to the consumer. And because of this, airlines tickets are too. Yes, I know you’re thinking about how I can avoid buying gas, especially if I’m driving to and from work every day. Actually you may be driving more in the summer because, like me, you need to drop off you kid at daycare since school is out. But how about taking a summer trip or two? Well, one tip is to open up Google Maps and slowly zoom in on your home. Then start zooming out slowly and find nearby things to do. I found a strawberry picking farm less than two miles away and plan to take my family there soon. You pick your own strawberries to pay for what you pick and enjoy.
Television – someone I know recently purchased a TV and thought they got a great deal. Maybe they got a great deal relative to TV prices in the summer. But according to Go Bank Rates, TVs are generally more expensive in the summer and the best time to buy them is “on Black Friday, during the lead-up to Christmas and in the weeks preceding the Super Bowl, according to Consumer Reports.” I bought my TV in the winter of last year and got a pretty good deal, with an added bonus. So if you have an old TV and now got the itch to buy a new one, use some willpower and hold-off. Alternatively, you may be able to enjoy free outdoor movies. For example, there is a lake park less than 15 minutes away from my home and every Monday and Friday evenings during the summer, they play free movies on a big screen after sunset. We’ve taken a blanket and food in the past and watched Iron Man and Madagascar!
Activities and Purchases to Embrace in the Summer
There are numerous other things that you can do to continue to save more in the summer. How about a picnic on a weekday? There are so many parks and community spaces and a lot of them have built in grills. You can BBQ or bring your own mini grill. Or you can pack ready to eat food in a cooler and head to even a state park. We have one nearby called Gunpowder Falls Park. It is about 45 minutes away and is an 18,000 acre park in Baltimore County. It has trails, volleyball courts, swings, concessions, and a beach with grills and picnic tables. I’ve taken my family there a couple of times and it was fantastic. We spent most of the day there as we packed blankets beach chairs and an umbrella. Many parks offer canoeing and kayaking as well.
Simple Enhancements – there are simple and inexpensive things you can do to your lawn that can make it so much fun. How about a portable Fire Pit. Check this one out from Walmart which is only $30!
Having friends and family hang out by the fire, have drinks and make s’mores and share fun stories is a great way to entertain and still save. How about a slip and slide for this kids, and maybe the adults too 🙂 These vary in prices and come in many styles and features. They can range from less than $20 to in a few hundred, however (those are the ones with built-in sprinklers and a mini pool at the end). And if your backyard is a bit hilly like mine, a water slide may work even better (make the seeming disadvantage, ADVANTAGEOUS). Finally one idea thanks to Clark Howard is an outdoor movie screen. His DIY method is to “a friend to bring over their projector, and then find your largest, cleanest sheet from the linen closet. Use heavy-duty clothespins on the corners, attach sturdy wire or rope, and hang the sheet up between two trees – or even over your garage door.” I’m strongly considering this one. I just need to find someone with a projector.
So do you have any additional tips on what to avoid and what to embrace in the summer?
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