How to have fun and save money

A young boy enjoys being sprayed by a lawn sprinkler on a summer's day.

Learn how to have fun without spending money. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Allan Lee/Flickr)

If you’re looking for summer fun but burdened by a miniscule budget, consider what your community has to offer. A little creativity and a community activity guide can lead you to free fun in no time. Here are some ideas about how to have family fun without spending any (or much) money.

Mining your community for gems

It’s easy to plop down major coin on entertainment. Food, activities and monthly memberships are fabulous fun, but not if you’re left with too little money to pay the bills. City tourism bureaus and chambers of commerce are great places to find out about fun, free summer activities that will enable you to still save money.

Community swimming pools

For little or no money, a community swimming pool is a great place to keep cool. Prices range from free to just a few dollars per visit, depending upon where you live. For frequent swimmers, season passes can translate into significant savings.

Join the YMCA or YWCA

Top-of-the-line gym facilities, swimming pools and childcare are available at most local YMCA/YWCA facilities. Family rates can make the monthly expense much more affordable; they are weighted on a sliding scale depending upon your household income.

Free events at the community center

From art and exercise classes to dances and potlucks, local community centers offer many events that are free or minimally expensive. Community centers are a great place to meet people, too.

Go for a run in the park

Put on some running shoes and hit a safe neighborhood park. Enjoy sunshine, fresh air and exercise. You’ll feel better and won’t spend a dime. During summer, many communities offer free concerts, plays and art festivals in large public parks. Look online for a community events calendar!

Unleash your imagination at the library

A good book is a window into another world. Checking out books movies in DVD and Blu-Ray format, music CDs and, in some areas, vinyl and cassettes, is free at the library.

Enjoy a free museum or gallery ride

Once or twice per month, most public museums feature a free admission day. Contact your local museum to see when you should go. Expect the free day to fall mid-week when visitor traffic is low.

Back in your own backyard

Have you ever tried camping in your backyard? This can be a fun activity, particularly if you have young children. Watch squirrels scamper and listen to the summer chorus of crickets and cicadas when the sun goes down.

If you have a table or a flat patio, board games can also be fun on lazy summer days. If you don’t have board or card games, scan the “free” column in Craigslist, or watch local garage sales.

If the gaming fun spins on, break out the lantern for nighttime fun!

Real fun at no cost: Supermarket twist-tie art


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