Ah, summer–the warm weather, longer days and general freewheeling feeling you get, no matter how old you are, that school is most definitely out for the season. There’s something fun and refreshing about summertime that makes you want to just soak it all in. But if you’re low on funds, summer can feel like a taunting beast–because while your friends are all out there dining at rooftop restaurants and road-tripping their way through the country, you’re spending your weekends stuck on the couch, nursing your boredom with an endless stream of bad television reruns.
Yep, it’s hard to take advantage of all summer has to offer when you barely have enough money to buy groceries. But worry not. Even if you only have a disturbingly minute amount of wiggle room in your budget, you can still enjoy your fair share of summertime activities. Here are a few that won’t set you back financially:
Even if you’re not particularly outdoorsy, hiking is an easy way to get out there when the pleasant weather beckons. In case you’ve never done it before, hiking is basically walking, only with trees around you instead of buildings. Find a trail, pack some water and snacks and spend a few hours in nature. You’ll get some exercise while achieving the ever-important goal of getting off the couch and out of the house. Oh, and the best part? It doesn’t have to cost you a dime.
If you don’t mind roughing it a bit, round up some friends, load up your backpacks and set off for a weekend camping trip. You’ll have fun roasting marshmallows, building a bonfire and spending as much time as you like gazing up at the stars. Not up for a trek deep into the woods? Try car camping, which basically involves driving up to a campsite, paying a nominal fee and setting up shop for the night. It’s not as authentic as pitching a tent in the middle of the woods, but really, no one’s judging.
Minor League Ballgames
For some folks, summer and baseball go hand in hand, but unless you’re making serious bucks, you may have to settle for watching your favorite team on TV. These days, the average Major League Baseball ticket price hovers around the $29-mark, and if you live in or near a big city like New York or Boston, that average is more like $50. If you can’t swing it, try catching some minor league games instead. Tickets are a fraction of the going MLB rates, and food, drinks and parking also tend to be considerably cheaper. Be on the lookout for promotions courtesy of your local team, from $1 admission to free t-shirt giveaways.
Local Fairs and Festivals
Need something to do on a Saturday afternoon? Check out the festivals happening in your town. You can search online to find local events, from car shows to craft fairs. Most festivals charge little or no money to get in and often feature live music and other free entertainment.
Movies in the Park
Sure, you could pop a movie in your DVD player and grumble about it. Or, you could gather some friends, pack a picnic basket and make a night of it with a free movie outdoors. It won’t be a new release, but you may discover an old classic you never knew existed.
Remember, you can have fun this summer even if you’re on an extremely tight budget. And with the right company, even the simplest activity, like walking on the beach, can make for a memorable experience.