Summer is one of my favorite months as I love basking in the sun and enjoying the energy of the city. Where I live in Portland, Oregon, it's rainy and dreary for nearly nine months of the year.
But thankfully, summertime is right around the corner, and for these three months, the weather is absolutely perfect. The sun is shining, the weather is warm, and the energy of the city is completely different — it feels vibrant and alive.
In years past, I've noticed my spending increases significantly in the summer. I want to be out and about and will pay the price for it. Luckily, I've found some frugal ways to enjoy summer without breaking the bank.
Here are a few of my favorite tips.
Have a Picnic in the Park
One of my favorite activities in summer is simply going outside and having a picnic. I bring some fruit, cheese, crackers, a blanket and a book, and I'm all set. Half of the fun of summer is enjoying the weather and being outside, so having a picnic is a great way to soak up the sun and relax.
If you want to make it a multi-person affair, consider hosting a potluck with friends. This is a great way to bring people together and have the chance to try a variety of food. Bring some music, a frisbee, or some board games. A simple afternoon at the park can be a lot of fun!
Get Creative in the Kitchen
In the summer, I love iced coffee, happy hours, and trying new foods. While I think it's great to enjoy those things within your budget, doing those things several times a week adds up quickly.
To help curb my cravings for going out, I start by getting creative in the kitchen. I make my own iced tea, iced coffee and water infusions. I love adding a bit of lemon and raspberry to water, or strawberry and basil.
If you want something unique and flavorful, consider adding some mint or various herbs to your ice cubes. They can give any drink an extra kick of flavor, giving you that gourmet feeling.
Think of what you tend to spend the most on in summer and find a way to experiment in the kitchen and make it yourself. You can save tons of money and feel accomplished for making something new!
Enjoy Free Activities
In nearly every community, there are an array of activities in the summer from free movies and concerts in the park, bike rides, festivals, free museum days and more.
Check out the various activities by looking at your local park's calendar, a local newspaper, as well as online. Just a little bit of research can result in a ton of free or low-cost activities that are fun for the whole family.
I personally love to go on free community bike rides and check out the concerts in the park. I also make sure I know when the free museum hours are, so I can get my dose of art.
Go on a Summer Purge
Most people like to start the new year fresh with a purge, or even have a major spring cleaning. I like to have a huge summer purge and go through all my clothing, paperwork, and items around the house. If I haven't used it in six months, I either throw it out, recycle it, donate it, or sell it.
Having a purge in the summer is great, because it's a wonderful time to have a garage sale and declutter. You can make some extra cash and learn to live with only what you need.
Write Letters of Gratitude
Have you ever noticed that nearly all of your mail is either a bill or spam? The only time our mailboxes get any love is during the holidays.
If you aren't traveling for the summer to see friends or family, write a letter expressing your gratitude. It will be an unexpected surprise for the receiver and also boost your mood!
Explore Your Neighborhood
You may think you know your neighborhood inside and out, but I bet there are certain hidden corners and areas that are undiscovered. Be a tourist in your own city. Go for a walk and get lost. Enjoy a bike ride on a different path. Make a wrong turn.
Appreciate the little things and actively look for things you've never seen before. Having a new perspective can show you things you may have been missing out in, right in your own backyard.
Have a Themed Event
As fun as traveling is, it can definitely be pricey. If you can't get away this summer to your desired destination, do the next best thing and host a themed event. If you are dreaming of going to Japan, have a sushi and sake night and watch some Japanese films.
If you are dreaming of the beaches of Mexico, make some fish tacos, put on some music and print out some photos. Having a themed event can be fun and inspire you to save so you can make your dream trip happen in the future.
Summer is a great time to explore, get together with friends, and enjoy the outdoors. There are ways you can do it on the cheap, so you can have some summer fun, without breaking the bank.
Written by Melanie Lockert for MoneyNing and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.