Spending Less this Summer: 2016

My husband and I are currently working on paying off our combined debt; however, while we are on a budget, we also enjoy our weekend activities. Therefore, we’re always on the lookout for ways to spend time together outside our home, without spending a ton of money.

Since we only got married in May, the past 2 months we’ve just been learning how to live together, so we spend a lot of time grocery shopping together, cooking, or taking care of other household chores. Before we got married we used to eat out a lot, but we have tried to cut back on those expenses, now we try to meal prep and cook more at home. (It’s like playing tetris when we try to put our prepped items in the freezer, lol.)

Speaking of cooking…about a month into our wedding someone at work asked me if I was pregnant, lol. (That’s what happens when you have a husband that enjoys cooking and likes to feed you!) So, that same day I messaged my hubby to let him know I was ready to start working out. He’d been trying (unsuccessfully) to get me to go running with him, previously, so he was happy about my decision to join him. One way we save in this area, is by using the gym in our apartment complex instead of paying for a gym membership. We’re already paying for the amenity with our rent, so we might as well use it. It’s pretty basic–some treadmills, a stationary bike, ellipticals, free-weights, and a few machines. Yet, while it may not have all the fancy equipment found at a bigger gym, Pinterest, as we all know, is full of home workouts that we can ad to our routines. We’ve also walked/run along a 3-mile path that goes around our local city and along the river.

Earlier this summer, we also attended a free, local event along the river called “Rock the River FBXB.” There were local vendors, foods trucks, musicians, a beer garden, boat races, hikes, bike rides, foot races, and plenty of children’s activities. We spent most of our time chatting with friends, but the weather was great, dogs abounded, and the music was loud. We had fun! In our area, there are numerous free or low-cost summer concerts: First Friday concerts in downtown Market Square, Stafford Songfest Sundays at John Lee Pratt Memorial Park, and Celebrate Virginia Afterhours are just a few. We’ve been meaning to check out the concerts at Pratt Memorial Park and take along a picnic basket with us, but we haven’t had the opportunity, yet. Be sure to check your local area for similar events.

Independence Day weekend we went camping with my family in Shenandoah National Park. While we did have to pick up some new camping gear–a tent & sleeping bag, for two–the campsites were decently priced! If you already have the gear, or can find a really good deal on equipment, tenting is always an option for a weekend getaway.IMG_3650

Lastly, one of the activities we’ve been attempting to participate in each month (since January 2016, actually) is what we call our First Friday Karoake Night. Every Friday night, beginning around 9:30-10, our local Applebees hosts a karaoke night. They also have half-priced appitizers afer 9, so that doesn’t hurt, either. 😉 We usually text all our friends to join us on the first Friday of each month, but whether it’s just the two of us, or a crowd, we usually enjoy ourselves. Check to see if any of your local restaurants host karaoke nights, if this is something your interested in.

Well, that’s it for this year’s low-budget summer activity list! Let me know below how you’ve been filling up your summer, or what upcoming plans you already have.

Spending Less this Summer: 2015

Since I’ve been trying to pay down my debt as quickly as possible and no longer have a credit card, this summer I’ve been forced to be a little more frugal when making my summer plans. Last summer my boyfriend and I purchased season passes for Kings Dominion and we spent many a weekend there. We weren’t sure if we were going to do the same this year, but we have, although, we’ve only been once, so far. If you have an amusement park nearby with reasonably priced season tickets this is a great option. Pack a cooler with some food and forgo the amusement park prices of food and remember your season ticket often provides discounts in some park eateries, as well.

Another thing we’ve done this summer is attend an outdoor movie event. Once a month this summer a local winery has been playing outdoor movies. Advanced tickets cost $10 per person and we brought a picnic basket/cooler, blanket, and a beach chair. The winery also provided, at additional cost, wine (of course), popcorn, and chocolate covered pretzels. Check your area for low-budget or free opportunities such as this and bring a sweater if you get the chills at night, like me!

I work Monday through Friday, but for those of you who have a more flexible schedule don’t forget to check out the weekday promotions at your local bowling alley or Movie Theater. For instance, AMF Bowling in my area has $2 Tuesdays; and Paragon theater shows free movies Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for children at 10 a.m. Check out the web sites! I just found out that for $40 I could purchase a summer pass (for a family of 4) for AMF Bowling and bowl up to 3 games every day if I wanted to. (I’ll keep that in mind for next year!)

My boyfriend had a birthday a few weeks ago. Rather than go out to eat, I’d planned to cook him a little birthday dinner and bought a couple cupcakes from our favorite dessert shop. He ended up inviting three other couples to join us and we spent the night eating, talking, and playing Apples to Apples. It was a great, yet inexpensive way to celebrate a birthday and spend the evening with our closest friends.

National Postal Museum, 2015

National Postal Museum, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I love a good museum and living about 45 minutes south of Washington, D.C. means that we have a slew of free museums associated with the Smithsonian Institute for our choosing. We haven’t gone to D.C. yet this summer but earlier in the summer we did spend a day in old town Alexandria, VA. We arrived a little late, so the Old Town Farmers Market was closing up as we arrived, but that didn’t prevent my boyfriend from picking up some fresh bread. We did, however, end up spending hours at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, where we found a collection of working artist studios open to the public for viewing and purchase. There were even artists available to discuss their work! You may not be as close to D.C. as we are but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any free museums or art centers in your area.

Well, I hope this short list gave you some fun ideas for your summer endeavors. It’s not all inclusive and even now I can still think of a few others that I’ve yet had the opportunity to do. Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! There are free and low-budget opportunities everywhere! Be sure to take advantage of them.