Saving money can be a big challenge any time of year. But the summer months can be expensive with travel, buying school supplies, and trying to keep the kids occupied when they’re out of the classroom.
Part 2 of our Summer Savings series explores some simple ways you can save money and enjoy the summer months at the same time.
Check out museums in your area.
In many places, there are more museums opening their doors, and there’s plenty of variety in terms of their exhibits. Museums can be fun for kids and adults alike. Whether you’re into history, animals, space, or sports, there is likely at least one museum in your neck of the woods. Consider getting a family membership for repeat visits. Search for Groupons online. Find out if and when they’ll be doing any “free days” or discounted days. Finally, steer clear of the gift shop, which is probably selling items at much higher prices than what you can find online or in another local store.
Send your kids to shorter camps throughout the summer.
In general, summer camps that are shorter – such as one week or just for a few days – are less expensive than camps that last a month or two. So, consider doing some homework to find shorter summer camps for your kids to attend. If there are camps that offer transportation, those can also help you save money on having to drive your kids to a campsite each day. Plus, ask camp directors about financing options or scholarships.
Take day trips to attractions in your vicinity.
You don’t always have to travel a long distance to enjoy fun attractions for the whole family. Consider taking a trip an hour or two from your home to a theme park, a zoo, a dog park, a gaming center, or even for a boat ride on your local river. Airfare and hotels can add up very quickly, so take advantage of what’s around you already to enjoy some summer fun on a budget.
Explore short and affordable recreation activities.
Regardless of your climate, there are likely several summer sports going on near you. This includes leagues for adults, kids, and even families. If you do some research, you should be able to find a variety of fun activities. These may include softball, kickball, swimming, and bowling. Find short leagues that go on for several weeks and may meet weekly. Contact your local parks and recreation department for ideas. Call up your local bowling alley, which may have special discounted summer rates at certain times during the summer. If you live in a community with a clubhouse, gym, or pool, take full advantage of these opportunities for recreation and exercise. If you’re going to buy any exercise or sporting equipment and gear, find used items that are still in good shape.
Have a picnic each week.
Set up a picnic schedule to hold one each week for family and friends. Find a local park with benches and some shade to stay cool. Go to your local grocery store, pick up some cold cuts and chips, and pack some inexpensive lunches for everyone to enjoy the outdoors.
Be smart when planning big trips.
If you really want to take a trip by plane, train, or cruise ship this summer, be smart about planning the logistics. There are many strategies you can use to save significant money on airfare, hotel rooms, and cruises. Use online price comparison tools, which are available for all of these accommodations. Choose a destination that isn’t at the top of every list so you can stay off the beaten track and save. You don’t always need to fly first class, stay in a 5-star hotel, or book a suite on a cruise ship. You can thoroughly enjoy a trip somewhere and save big bucks at the same time.