Tough economic times don’t have to mean holing up at home watching re-runs on public television channels, especially during the summer months. With a little bit of creativity, you can turn your frugality into priceless memories with family and friends – and leave a little extra in the bank. Check out a few of our favorite things to do for free (or close to it).
Plan a Photo-Scavenger Hunt
Write clues directing your friends to nearby landmarks or interesting examples of local color. You might send them to photograph the oldest public building in your town, or to find a house with pink flamingoes on the front lawn. Whatever your selected items to scavenge, make your clues creative. Have your friends take pictures of themselves with each item they find, then meet back at your place for a spontaneous slide show. Whoever has the most items correct in the shortest amount of time wins!
Host a Tournament
Dig out or dust off your sports equipment and invite friends to participate in your first annual home run derby, horseshoe tournament or volleyball round robin. If you don’t have sports equipment, take a step back in time and put together a relay featuring a three-legged race, egg races, dizzy bats, or other favorites from childhood.
Stay Close to Home
Check for local activities such as concerts in the park, picnics or movies under the stars. These events are usually free or have very low admission prices. Not only can you while away a warm summer evening with friends, you may also meet some new people in your neighborhood. Summer is a great time for local festivals and fairs, too. Though the food, games and rides will cost you, the people-watching is free, and often priceless.
Gym and swim club memberships may cost you a pretty penny, but you probably already have the equipment for many outdoor sports and fitness activities. Go for a bike ride or hike a national park. Grab an inner tube and make your own “lazy river”. Shallow creeks are great for drifting – just be sure to find a spot where swimming is allowed.
How much can you save?
By cutting back on expensive recreational activities like dinners out, movie or show tickets, or drinks at a trendy bar and replacing them with things that cost little or no money, you can probably trim $50 or more from your entertainment spending, pain free. What would you do with an extra $600 a year? And what are some of your favorite, free activities?