Summer is here, and as it’s high time for lounging by the pool, road trips, and cavorting around town with pals, it’s really easy to go overboard with your spending. Here are five inexpensive ways to have fun with friends this summer that will help keep your finances in check:
Volunteer. You can join forces with like-minded pals and start an informal volunteering group to do some good in the community. New to volunteering and don’t know where to start? A few great sites to find places to volunteer are VolunteerMatch and Idealist.org. If you and your friends love animals, try volunteering at a shelter. Or if you have a shared interest of growing your own herbs and veggies, try checking out opportunities to help at a local community garden. If you are a credit union member, your local branch might have tips on community organizations looking for helpers like you. There are so many ways to make a difference that you won’t have a problem finding something that’s rewarding and enjoyable, too.
Go Outdoors. Whether it’s going on a hike or taking your bike out for a lazy ride, going outside is an easy way to have fun without breaking the bank. It’s a great time to catch up with friends and check out new trails and routes. Plus, you’ll get some exercise without the gym membership. Kelly Whalen of TheCentsibleLife.com recommends geocaching, a treasure hunting game using GPS devices, which you can do pretty much anywhere in the world.
Take a Class. You may be scratching your head. Isn’t this supposed to be about having fun? If you haven’t perused the course offerings at a nearby community college or rec center, you’ll be surprised at the variety of classes you can take. If you and your friends want to try something creative, you can enroll in a photography or ceramics class. Depending on where you live, there may also be yoga, ballroom dancing, or even surfing. Taking a class will not only be an enriching bonding experience for you and your friends, but will also be much cheaper than going out with your pals on a bar-hopping binge.
Get Cultured on the Cheap. Summer is prime time for free or inexpensive concerts, plays, and movies in the park. And there’s usually an art opening on any given weekend. Jordann Brown of MyAlternateLife.com recommends bringing your own snacks and a few bottles of water (if it’s allowed) so you don’t get tempted to buy food while you’re there.
Staycation It. Staycations don’t have to mean going to the same hangout spots. Get creative. Put your heads together to come up with a mini-mission of sorts, like discovering the best taqueria in your neighborhood, or maybe best happy hour with karaoke. Just be sure to control your spending when going out by splitting the bill using a mobile wallet like Sprig or Venmo. If you’re a shutterbug, you can go on a photo date with a friend and come up with a clever theme or choose some new terrain to explore. While the lazy days of summer may make you prone to overspend, by being creative, resourceful, and keeping an eye out on your budget, you’ll be able to have a memorable summer of fun and frolics without putting a damper on your finances.