Living on a Budget: Frugal or Free Summertime Activities

36353934_e998f5943f_zImage: Dmitry Kichenko

Whether you’re single, coupled or a family with young kids, living on a budget during the summer may seem daunting. There are so many tempting ways to spend money while the weather’s warm and sunny, and the kids (if you have any) are out of school complaining of instant boredom.

If you’re having trouble planning affordable, fun, family-friendly activities for the quickly approaching warm-weather months – read on to find some ideas that should definitely get you started. Each suggestion will be marked as either ‘Frugal’ or ‘Free’ with notations on what costs you should expect to incur (if any).

Beach day – Living in New Jersey makes it significantly easier to stay cool during the dog days of summer without paying for an expensive pool in your back yard or investing in a costly public pool membership every year. Close proximity to the beach means you can enjoy the ocean and all that the Jersey shore has to offer without even paying for a hotel room. Pack your meals, snacks and plenty of cold drinks to avoid buying expensive boardwalk food. Throughout the summer, many shore towns also put on special free events like craft shows, music festivals, air shows, movies on the beach, fireworks and more! [Frugal: You’ll need money for gas to get you there and back, and you may end up spending a little money on the boardwalk or at any of the shore’s special summer events.]

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Take a hike – It surprises many people to learn that New Jersey is actually chock-full of beautiful hiking trails. Check out to find an interesting trail system near you. Bring along a picnic lunch, and don’t forget your camera! New Jersey is beautiful! [Free]


Backyard camping – This summer activity is great for families, couples, and just about everyone who loves enjoying the outdoors without paying for said enjoyment. If you don’t already have a camping tent, try borrowing one from a friend or making your own! The fun to be had is nearly endless: chasing fireflies, making s’mores, telling (ghost) stories, making shadow puppets with a flashlight, and simply listening to the sounds of nature as you giggle yourselves to sleep. This can also be a great romantic change of pace for couples who are watching their pennies. [Frugal: You may need to buy materials to build a tent (very affordable), and supplies for S’mores, of course!]

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Get thee to a library – Hustling out of the heat and through the library door to be greeted by cool, book-scented air is something that should be included on everyone’s To-Do list every summer. Get your kids (and yourself) temporarily away from screens and into a good page-turner. [Free, assuming you return your books on time.]

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Get crafty! [Frugal: Requires a one-time investment in craft supplies; however, many crafts can be made using recycled items like: empty soda bottles, milk cartons, tin cans, old magazines, toilet paper rolls, bottle caps, candy wrappers and more!]

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Plant a vegetable garden – Not only is this a very affordable project, you’ll get a huge return on your (very small) investment! [Frugal: You’ll need to buy seeds and maybe a few gardening tools, but you may be able to borrow tools from a friend or neighbor.]

19779026923_0f0a298ec5_zImage: G. Guerrero

Enjoying the summer on a budget can be done. Don’t let the warm weather steer you away from your budget. Of course, it’s ok to spend a little money once in awhile, but in general, appreciate what life offers up naturally. You (and your bank account) will be better off for having made it through a frugal summer, and you may enjoy it so much that you’ll do it again next year!

One Response to Living on a Budget: Frugal or Free Summertime Activities

  1. Pingback: Frugal Friday: Memorial Day Party on a Budget | Veitengruber Law

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