Summer is almost here and I can’t wait! It was a BRUTAL winter here and the weather has been pretty cold/crappy for the last 6 months (November toward the end of April). I’m definitely going to be more appreciative of the warm weather months because summer always seems to fly by so fast.
We are taking a vacation in August, but I don’t want to look back and wonder where the time went. I want to be more conscious of how I spend my time and be fully present these next few months.
When it comes to planning for summer fun, things can get quite expensive. Summer can be one of the most expensive seasons of the year for people (minus Christmas) due to costs associated with vacations, festivals, parties and wedding, and other fun events and activities.
Since we just bought a house, we’re not really able to blow a bunch of money this summer even if it is on valuable experiences. To keep costs reasonable and still enjoy the next few months without limiting myself too much, I came up with this frugal summer bucket list of what I want to experience/accomplish this year.
Visit the Community Pool or the Beach
We don’t go to the pool often, but I do aim to go at least once or a few times. In our area, the pools offer discounts after 4 pm or 5 pm. On a really hot day, I try to go and take advantage of the savings.
I also want to visit one of the beaches in Chicago. The beaches are along the lake but it’s free and we just need to pay for transportation/food and make a fun day out of it.
Ride My Bike Each Week
I got a bike last year and really enjoyed riding it around the neighborhood. This year, I want to improve my endurance and go longer distances. If I go for a ride at least twice a week, I can meet that goal.
I also need to help my son learn how to ride a bike without training wheels so that will be a fun project.
Rollerblade in Chicago
As you can tell, I plan to stay pretty active this summer. I bought rollerblades a few years ago and have a friend who rollerblades as well so we’ve already committed to doing some rollerblading downtown this summer for fun.
When I went to Long Beach last month everyone was rollerblading along the beach and it looked so fun. Out here, no one rollerblades so I need to help make it trendy again in the U.S.
Attend One Carnival or Festival
There’s usually a traveling carnival in the area and tons of different festivals. Unfortunately, I didn’t even make it to one last summer. This summer, I’m going to mark some free or affordable events on my calendar so I can check this off.
I say I want to do this every year but never get around to it. There are some nice ranches not too far from me that offer one-time and ongoing lessons. I try to look for Groupons but this year I really want to do it even if I have to splurge a little bit.
I used to go to horseback riding lessons when I was a kid and I loved it.
Start Practicing the Drums Again
This was on my annual goals list. I used to play the drums but stopped right before high school and I’d love to learn again as a hobby. I want to start slow with a drum pad or snare drum then upgrade to a full set.
I can even practice using videos online and learn as I go before jumping into lessons.
Watch Movies At the Park
Watching movies in the park is one of my favorite things to do on a relaxing summer evening. Plus, it’s free and a good opportunity to get out of the house. My town has lots of free movie showings as well as neighboring towns so I’m sure I’ll do this more than once.
Visit 2-3 National Parks
I don’t think I went to any national parks last summer. Seriously, the whole summer flew by for me last year and I was so caught up with working. I have a few on my list so I’d like to visit 2-3 and get some good hikes in.
We already have this booked for June and I can’t wait. We will be going with a few other families and I’m even thinking about getting a 24-hour fishing license since it’s only $5. Last year, we purchased a lot of camping equipment so now that we have everything, it’s very cheap to camp.
Read a Fiction Book
I’ve been reading more in recent years but I still don’t read enough fiction even though I watch a ton of fiction TV and movies. It would be great to get into a good fiction book this summer during downtime.
Start a Garden
My yard is all set up to start a garden and I’m excited. I know this could be quite a bit of work but it could be something fun I could do with my family.
Go on Vacation With My Family
This is probably the most expensive item on my list but I’ve been saving for it for a while now. I invited my mom and siblings out to Florida this summer and I’m excited.
The last time I went on vacation out of state with my mom and siblings, I was in 4th grade when my youngest sister was a baby and my brother wasn’t even born yet so this is well overdue and I’m looking forward to it.
I like to get away a few times a year, but if I can’t afford a vacation, I always opt for a day trip.
Teach My Son More Skills
I need to work on teaching my son more life skills. The other day, he randomly reminded me that in 6 years he will be 14 and I realize that time is flying. It’s a secret goal of mine to teach my son how to cook more things under my supervision. This can include small and easy meals or something delicious that we bake. I believe that cooking is a good skill to have and he’s shown interest in it. Plus, it may be a nice way to involve him in our grocery budget and meal planning process.
I also want to teach him the concept of flipping items to make extra cash, so we’re going to do a mini thrifting challenge where I give him $15 to spend in a thrift store to buy items that we can upsell together online. If we earn a profit from the sale(s), he can keep it.
There you have it. This is plenty to keep me busy this summer without spending too much money. We still have weddings to attend and house projects to complete but I don’t want to feel strapped for cash over the next few months and unable to enjoy the next few weeks.
If I can get at least half of these things accomplished, I’ll feel pretty good.
How to Keep Your Bucket List Frugal
Everything on my bucket list wasn’t super cheap, but it is frugal thanks to a few of my favorite tools and resources. Here are a few things you can use to keep your summer bucket list frugal as well.
I know I rant all the time about Groupon, but that’s because I love it! I use Groupon to find discounts on local outings, entertainment, and restaurant. Groupon is how I’ve been able to eat sushi with friends all while I was paying off my debt. It’s how I scored a beautiful hotel stay in Chicago for my birthday and how I got a huge discount on my son’s first birthday.
If you haven’t yet, I’d encourage you to sign up and look around. Build your summer bucket list around Groupons if you have to because you’ll save a ton.
You may or may not have heard of Ebates, but it’s how I earn cash back on regular everyday purchases. It’s also how I’m setting some money aside for Christmas this year.
Ebates partners with tons of popular retailers to show you coupons and offer cash back when you make online purchases. Check out my full review of Ebates here.
Ebates partners with Groupon so whenever I purchase a Groupon, I make sure my Ebates account is connected so I can receive coupons and earn cash back on the purchase. Ebates pays users what they call a ‘big fat check’ each quarter based on your cash back earnings. Click here to sign up and get your first $10.
When I travel, I always look for Airbnb options over pricey hotels. On a recent trip to celebrate our honeymoon, my husband and I stayed in an Airbnb in Long Beach and it was amazing.
Airbnb is pretty affordable, and I already had a credit so we only spent around $20/night to stay in a spacious clean room and use all the amenities in the house.
We were able to use the kitchen to prepare coffee and breakfast for ourselves so we didn’t have to spend money dining out for that meal. If you’re going to be doing any traveling this year, I highly recommend checking out Airbnb.
Now, I want to hear from you. What’s on your summer bucket list? Do you have any frugal activities planned?
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