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Budget-Friendly Fun For the Summer

Sabah Karimi

The lazy days of summer are almost here, and if your budget is tight this season, you may be wondering how to spend those long days without getting bored. Fortunately, you can make the most of summer with live entertainment, sports and outdoor adventures - all at little to no cost.

Here are six cheap ways to enjoy summer:

Take a staycation. Avoid the high costs of airfare and gasoline, and enjoy a staycation. Attend free festivals and community gatherings, or simply play tourist in your town or city. Consider planning a themed trip. A tour of local restaurants and wine bars, or exploring the city's art galleries, for example, can be a fun, low-cost way to enjoy time off work.

Attend free concerts. Many cities play host to concerts during the summer months, and local music events can be a great way to meet people. Find out which concert venues offer free or low-cost admission, and pack snacks for the show so you don't have to spend extra money on food.

Sign your kids up for a local sports team. Encourage your children to stay active by joining an organized sports team in the area. Many community centers and public libraries run free or low-cost athletic programs during the summer. You can save money by purchasing used gear or renting the equipment.

Go camping. Whether you choose to camp in your backyard or head to a state park, the summer months are a great time to enjoy the outdoors. Pack plenty of food for the trip so you don't have to stop anywhere along the way or pay extra for convenience foods. Shop at a warehouse club for basic items such as bottled water, bread and juice.

Get creative in the kitchen. Cooking and preparing food can be a fun activity in itself, and you can experiment with a variety of in-season ingredients and flavors. Use some of your downtime on Sundays to come up with tasty recipes for the week. Consider creating themed menus or trying healthier versions of your favorite foods. You can save on the cost of eating out by putting together a meal plan and sticking to a weekly food budget. Don't forget to shop at your local farmers' market for seasonal produce and other items priced lower than what you'll find on sale at grocery stores.

Teach yourself a new skill. Have you always been interested in learning how to draw or paint? How about building a scale model car, or trying your hand at organic gardening? Make a list of interests and hobbies you want to explore this summer and the skills you want to learn throughout the process. Use the Internet to find free tutorials, do-it-yourself guides and other public resources.

Sabah Karimi shares great ideas on how to have fun on a budget at her blog on WiseBread.com. Check out the website's latest frugal travel guide on what to do in Montreal.

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