Let’s talk about saving for summer!
If you’re like a lot of people, you may be wondering how to keep the kids busy and the summer memorable without breaking the bank.
Here are 10 strategies to try this year.
Head to the library
We all know the library is our first stop for free books, movies and CDs, but there is probably so much more available to you as well.
Many libraries offer free workshops, lectures and kids’ events throughout the summer. Don’t forget to sign up for the summer reading program too which often comes with discounts or passes to other summer activities.
Make it a free matinee
Many major movie chains – Regal and Cinemark are two – offer free or cheap movies in the summer months. These films tend to be geared toward kids and families, but even adults and couples can enjoy many of these flicks at a reduced price. Contact your local theater to see if they’re running a special summer movie series.
Send the kids to camp for free (or cheap)
Summer camp can set you back some serious cash. Fortunately, there are alternatives to the traditional overnight camp. Stores like Home Depot, the Apple Store and Michael’s offer free or low cost workshops or camps for kids in the summer. For those who are Christian, inexpensive Vacation Bible Schools are offered at countless churches nationwide. Finally, if you have a local nature center or historical society, see if they have any kids’ programming for the summer months.
Find the free admission days
Many zoos and museums have a least a few free admission days each year. You’ll have to contend with larger crowds, but you can’t beat the price. Another way to save is to buy a family membership to your favorite place and make that your go-to destination for the summer.
Take time for a free fair or concert
One of the fabulous things about small town America is there always seems to be something going on. There are fairs, festivals and concerts on the lawn. Most are free ways to get out of the house and have some family fun.
Enjoy the great outdoors
It costs nothing to enjoy the sunshine. When the weather is beautiful, head outside and soak up the rays. Go to the beach, walk at the nature center or play in the park. All are free or inexpensive ways to make some lasting summer memories.
Camp in the backyard
Along the same lines, if you have kids, go ahead and set up the tent in the backyard. Even if they don’t sleep outside overnight, there is something about being in a tent most kids find irresistible. It may take a little effort on your part to put it up, but after that, your kids might amuse themselves for hours playing in it.
Turn to Pinterest
Not every summer day will be beautiful. Sometimes it’ll rain and sometimes it’ll be oppressively hot. Pinterest is perfect for days like that. You can search for all sorts of crafts and “keep ‘em busy” activities for the kids. Beyond Pinterest, search online for free printable activity and coloring sheets for little ones of all ages and abilities.
Check the daily deal sites
There are some days you may want to do something costing a little more money. You might want to head to the water park or go out to eat so you don’t have to heat up the house. Keep an eye on daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social where you can save up to 50 percent on these and other summertime activities.
Pack a picnic wherever you go
Finally, it doesn’t matter where you go, you should always pack some snacks or a light lunch if you think you’ll be gone more than a few hours. The free fair isn’t free if you’re paying $4 for lemonade. Be prepared by packing some food from your stockpile in a cooler or thermal container before hitting the road.