Fun Ways We're Saving Money This Summer - picture of kids swimming in pool underwater
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Fun Ways We’re Saving Money This Summer

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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?

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32 Comments

  1. The first 8 years I’ve had my place I went with the stock, non-programmable thermostat, last year I got a programmable thermostat from Costco that you could access over the internet for $99 bucks and it paid for itself in a month I think. Makes me shake my head at the thought of all that money I’ve wasted before not having a programmable thermostat. Now I have the whole week programmed and if I need to make a change to the settings anywhere in the world I just whip out my smart phone and presto change o!

    1. We have a programmable thermostat and I love it! It doesn’t get quite as much use as it did when I worked outside of the home, but it still comes in handy.

  2. Sounds like fun! Most of my memories from childhood are being outside during the summer, too – mostly in the pool, or at the park/zoo we had close to our house. It’s great that your park and pool are so local, too. Renting a cabin sounds like a nice idea; I would love to do that at one of the state parks around here. I’ve never been camping before!

    1. I’m not huge on tent camping but cabin camping seems okay.

  3. We go to splash parks pretty often. I get to see pure joy on my little guy’s face and it only costs me a small amount of fuel to get there. We used to go on walks on the Monon a lot, but since my wife is in the homestretch of pregnancy she is exhausted and uncomfortable so the walks are on hold until after the next baby comes.

    1. There is a splash park somewhere around here. Fishers I think? I’ve been there but I didn’t drive so I can’t remember where it’s at.

  4. We’re going to Maine in a few weeks and I can’t wait! We’ll also spend as much time playing outside as we can this summer. Access to the beach/park in our town is free so we plan to make good use of that!

  5. Yea, I’m with you Holly. I need my AC…though I keep it at around 75 to 77. Growing up, we only had ONE air conditioner and it was in the master bedroom. It would ONLY be turned on when it was crazy hot and only at night when we went to sleep. I went to the library in the summers for the AC…and the books =) Lots of free activities and events in the summer…no longer stuck at home after this grueling winter.

  6. I want to start grilling more often, but we also don’t eat much meat. We do have some turkey dogs (which are a lot better than hot dogs, but probably better to not eat at all haha) as well as chicken, but Victoria does have veggie burgers quite a bit. I need to look into more veggies to grill besides corn.

    We have a few weddings this Summer as well as a trip up north to stay at a cabin my parents rent, but overall we don’t have a ton planned and definitely nothing huge. We’ve been busy with work, yard work, and some new stuff we are involved in at church so we really don’t have time to spend money, for the most part.

  7. Oooh, love those camper cabins – they’re the perfect balance between “real” camping in a tent and yet still having some form of luxury. 🙂 We are going to do our very best to not turn on the air this year, but everyone knows mama gets cranky when it’s too hot and humid, so we’ll definitely work to have some balance there. Lots of cookouts and picnics for us too, and hiking, biking and beaching. We’ve got two pretty nice beaches near by.

  8. Some of the best memories growing up were at places we camped at with a tent trailer (It was all mom could afford at the time)

  9. I am with you Holly, I would give up A LOT of things this summer before I would give up the air conditioning. I am just one of those people who can’t sleep in the heat. Hubby is not looking forward to going through menopause with me. 🙂 And I love that summer means grilling. I try to find ways to have entire meals off the grill because they are not only better for us, but that means little to no clean up for me at the end. 🙂

  10. Although we live in southern California and barbecue all year, we definitely use it much more often in the summer. Since I have the summer off I, I do a lot of outdoor activities such bicycling every day.

  11. I love picnics, but that’s a spring/fall activity here in NE Texas. I’m with your kids. Eating outside is a blast. I like prepping it and then going someplace like a park. The actual eating in a park at a dirty picnic table actually kinda sucks, but it doesn’t show down my appreciation!

  12. My grill died, but am picking up a free one off my parents, so definitely some outdoorsy cookin’ going to happen this summer!

    We also have 2 family cabins we can visit, so just gas money and some food to pitch in, and it’s weekends of fun all summer!

  13. We just do a lot of hiking and have picnics at the park. We bring a book, a blanket, some snacks, and just relax for a few hours. We’re also planning to crash our friend’s pool a few days this summer.

    We usually go camping as well, but don’t have any camping planned this year.

  14. I love picnics in our local park. We find out spot, put he blanket down, turn the music on and dish out the food. Bliss! I’ll be doing a heck of a lot of that over the summer.

    I’d like to camp more but I’m not really an outdoorsy kind of girl. I’m scared of bug 🙁

  15. We’ve been focusing on entertainment options that are very inexpensive. We are hoping to do a picnic soon. We’ve also been going on several bike rides, going to the farmers market, and just hanging out on our patio. Maybe we will try camping too. My parents used to take us camping too- It was really fun. I have great memories of those trips.

  16. MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    We finally got our families to agree to not buy the kids more crap for birthdays and holidays. Instead we asked for memberships to the zoo and aquarium. We also got them passes to a local kids treetop obstacle course with zip lining. We tend to us the zoo more in the non summer months bc here in GA it is HOT and even the animals stay in!

    I think kids love picnics no matter where! When we have a family movie night we will let the girls have their dinner and popcorn on a blanket in the living room and they LOVE it!

  17. That’s really cool there is a community pool for the kids. When we were growing up we had to suck up to the kids with pools so we got invited over. 🙂 I wasn’t planning on going anywhere this summer, but my friend who used to live here lives up on a beautiful lake near yosemite and she said to come up any time. Heck yea! Very frugal except for gas to get there.

  18. We also don’t eat (much) meat and have had great success grilling veggies–we make veggie kabobs of green/red peppers, onions, and squash and also grill asparagus by itself. For dessert, we grill halved fruit directly on the grill–especially peaches, they caramelize and taste like candy, no need to add sugar!

  19. Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans says:

    I am totally my house’s thermostat Nazi! Haha. Man, $360 a year for HOA? I pay that much for 3 months AND we don’t have pools 🙁

  20. Ben @ The Wealth Gospel says:

    My parents were pretty good about the A/C but living with my in-laws last summer was torture. I’m fine with keeping it at a little-higher-than-comfortable temperature, but we don’t live in Europe here people.

  21. $360/year is a total bargain for access to a pool. In my old neighborhood here in NJ they were charging $750 for a family membership for access to the community pool each summer. On top of that they also charge a one time fee of $1250 which they call an initiation fee. Insane, right? I passed on that deal. I’m with you on the AC. I don’t blast it but I want to be comfortable.

  22. I’m just lovin’ those two dacshie’s in the pool! Especially since you work from home you need to have the a/c on. I don’t blame you, one freakin’ bit!

  23. I also love the dachshunds in the pool! Good looking dogs. Your kids are right on about picnics – food just tastes better outside.

  24. We don’t eat meat much either, but even so , we find it easy to find stuff to grill. We love having BBQs. There is something about getting outside that makes eating more enjoyable. We haven’t done a picnic this season yet but I hope to.

  25. Having a great time doesn’t have to be expensive. Nice to hear you and your family did great without having to burn your pocket. Being with people you care about and doing things all of you like even when you are at home or in a park will definitely still score high in the happiness department.

  26. I really enjoyed your piece on Fun Ways to Save Money this summer. With the current economy, more and more people are having to figure this out. And anyway, it’s the memory making that important. Playing in the backyard with neighbors, visiting the local zoos, cookout in the backyard,mist being with family that counts. That’s what I remember from my childhood — the days my family got together to celebrate life, regardless of the occasion.

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