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.
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.