It’s finally summertime, and I’ll tell you one way are NOT saving money this summer.  We are not turning off the air conditioner and sweating our asses off to save a buck.  I grew up with parents who watched the thermostat like Nazis and refused to turn on the air conditioning until we were all about to melt, so I know how that works.  (Love you, mom…XOXOXO).  But this is my house now and I am more than happy to pay an extra $50 per month to sit in cool comfort while we all work and play.  Call if lifestyle inflation if you want.  Hell, call me wasteful.  I don’t care.

Instead of sweating like a whore in church all summer, we’ve found all kinds of other ways to have fun without spending a ton of cash.  Here are a few of the fun and frugal ways we’re saving cash and having a blast this year:

  • poolWe’re taking advantage of the community pool- Our homeowner’s association dues are $360 per year, and that gives us access to two neighborhood pools and three parks.  So, swimming isn’t free by any means, but we might as well take advantage since we have to pay the annual dues anyway.  The pool has only been open since Memorial Day weekend but we’ve already been swimming at least ten times.  We’ve also taken plenty of guests over to swim which is another great perk.
  • We’ve been having picnics- My kids think it’s really cool to eat outside for some reason, probably because we didn’t have anywhere to eat outside at our old home.  We have a little cooler and the kiddos think it’s a blast to make sandwiches and little bagged snacks to take along.  We usually eat in the backyard or stroll down to the pool or park for our picnic.  It’s basically free entertainment, aside from the costs of our food, and the kids think it’s a special treat.
  • We’ve been cooking out- We don’t eat meat, but we still manage to cook out almost every weekend- either with friends or just the four of us.  The kids think it’s pretty awesome to eat a weanie roasted over the grill or cooked in the fire pit behind our house, and I love the minimal cleanup involved with cooking outdoors.  We mostly eat grilled veggie burgers and the occasional veggie hotdog.  Sometimes we even grill corn or vegetables on the grill.  When the kids deserve a treat, we make S’mores!
  • We’ve been camping….kindve- My sister and her family rented a cabin at a campground and we went along just for the day.  Our kids are small and we’ve been hesitant to take them camping up to this point, but our “camping experiment” proved that they might be old enough now.  We have tentative plans to camp with my sister and her family sometime in July and I think we’ll do what she did a rent a cabin for the night.  It’s only $70, and the cabins have real beds (you bring your own sheets) and a mini fridge.  I think that’s a good way to see if the kids are old enough to camp and have fun at this point.  We do have a tent, so we’ll likely transition to tent camping when they’re a little older.

Well, that pretty much sums up our summer so far.  We’ve been having plenty of fun without spending much money at all, and the best part is that we’ve been spending so much time outdoors.  Those are the memories I cherish most from childhood- playing outdoors with my friends, going to the campground with my extended family, and swimming at the pool with my siblings- and I want my kids to have the same experiences I did.  If you ask me, those memories are what childhood is made of.

How are you saving money this summer?  Do you have anything fun planned?