Too often, we get caught up in a mindset that spending money means more fun. It’s easy to think that, since so many fun activities, from amusement parks to maintaining a boat you can take to the lake, require an outlay of cash.
While you don’t have to pinch all of your pennies in an effort to remain frugal during the summer months, it can help to plan ahead and look for good deals. If you want the best bang for your buck this summer, here are some ideas for having a great time without breaking the bank:
Create a Summer Fun Fund
One of the best things you can do to prepare for the summer is to create a summer fun fund. Create an account for your short-term savings goal of having fun during the summer, whether you save up for one big vacation, or whether you decide to go on several mini-adventures throughout the summer.
This fund can also be a great source of money if you decide to send your kids to a day camp. All these extra expenses can strain your budget if you aren’t careful, so it makes sense to plan ahead. If you put a set amount in the savings account each month, you can spread out the cost of your summer, and make it much more manageable. Make it automatic, and you won’t even have to think about it.
You can also create a plan for using your credit card to make your vacation more cost-efficient. The right credit card rewards program can help you earn points and cash back that can be applied to travel. Just be sure to use the card within your spending plan, and avoid carrying a balance when possible.
Go Online to Look for Deals
Don’t forget that you can look for deals in the summer, too. One of the keys to saving money during the summer, while still having fun, is to do your best to find discounts on everything. And this isn’t hard to do.
Look for discounts on airfare, hotel stays, restaurants, and other travel-related items. Watch for coupons to attractions like amusement parks and water parks. Find out if the local pool has a special discounted family night. You can also use daily deal sites to help you save money during the summer. I used LivingSocial to score a discounted float trip. Later this summer, I’ll go with my parents and my son. It should be a lot of fun. You can sign up for deals in cities you know you will visit as well as deals in your own town. Just be careful to read the fine print and choose deals you know that you will use.
It just makes sense to use the Internet to save money.
Stick Close to Home
You can still have a lot of fun when you stay close to home. Try a staycation, and you might be surprised at how much you enjoy it. Visit your local area’s Visitors’ Bureau or Chamber of Commerce. These organizations usually have a list of activities and attractions that you can find locally. You might be surprised at what’s in your own backyard that you never knew about. It’s a perfect way to enjoy your summer, learn about your area, and avoid getting into debt for summer fun.
My son and I are making this our “summer of hiking.” We’ve already been on our first hike, and we have planned out several more, since we live in a mountain valley where there is plenty of hiking. We also have three different camping trips planned. It should be a good — and frugal — summer.