It’s early summer, and there are so many fun things to do!!! With weekends of fun activities like going to the park, having bar-b-ques and picnics, local fairs and of course – the music festivals summer time is about having as much fun as you can, without blowing the budget. Does this sound familiar? Have you ever been so thirsty you paid $5.00 for a plastic bottle? So disgusted by the price of a ticket you scoured Craigslist for hours waiting for someone to realize they have an extra ticket they want to get rid of cheap so it doesn’t go to waste? Don’t worry you are not alone! Many a person has struggled with these same ideas, and to their utter amazement, was able to find that planning summer fun activities isn’t as hard as it might seem. The idea of doing something on a cost friendly basis is normal and really should be easy! Here are some beginning ideas!
1. Finding deals in the style of Groupon or Deal Chicken is a common and logical way to plan ahead and find deals for events – many times at 1/2 price or better! These web sites bring thrift shopping to a whole new level, especially in an age where the cost of participating in large-scale events or festivals has continued to climb into the ridiculous. Maybe you have had this conversation, ” I’d love to go but… tickets will cost 1 weeks worth of groceries; beverage and food expenses will deplete the emergency savings fund and oh yea – who’s driving?” By watching these websites, I recently purchased $30 tickets for only $12! With such huge cost savings I was even able to purchase several tickets at once, allowing several of my friends to get in on the savings too!
2. Carpool and take public transportation where available. In metro communities like Chicago and Denver where expanding rail service allows day trips into the city; this option adds to the adventure. Besides avoiding the extra cost of parking which can be in excess of $20, kids of all ages will enjoy being able to see the sights and engage one another without the strained necks and mirrors. In addition, by making an adventure of the event, there may just be a lack of “Are we there yet?”‘s
3. Pack it in (and pack it out)! Kid’s like snacks, adults do too. This especially true for day’s with lots of fun filled activities. A day of riding roller coasters, running around the library or zoo, or filling up on your favorite adult beverages requires more than wishful thinking to be at your best all day. While skipping nap time is part of day long activities, skipping lunch is a bad idea and spending cash on lunch can put a big squeeze on the fun. Packing a cooler or collapsible cloth lunch pack (for those taking public transportation), as well as starting the day with a full breakfast, will not only save money but also provide the needed extended energy to make a full day a great one! While recycling is becoming more and more prevalent, packing an extra large reusable sealing bag like Ziplock brand will help keep empty juice pouches and crushed aluminum cans from making a mess of backpacks. Refillable beverage containers will minimize the quantity of beverage containers needed while
4. Make a full day of it! So you have found an event or activity that everyone will enjoy, but it doesn’t start till 3 pm 😦 No worries, just plan around it! Go to the park, window shop or visit the library down the street from the activity you have planned. Planning multiple activities in a day is a great way to space out a variety of indoor and outdoor events to stay busy. Additionally, planning indoor events in the middle of the hottest parts of the day will provide for much needed rest from the sun without forcing kids to be indoors all day long!
5. Use community based programs! Besides Vacation Bible School at your local house of worship, there are a plethora of activities through local organizations like libraries, YMCA, Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs, park districts and other civic entities that regularly have events that are available for little or no direct cost. Check the web for community or ‘local’ days where facilities are open to local residents at little or no cost. Many local zoos, museums and fee for entry parks will list these days on their community calendar. Checking local newspapers and Craigslist will also result in a plethora of low cost activities.
Have a great resource I didn’t mention? Drop a comment and I’ll look into an additional post on the topic!