After a long winter, are you dreaming of blue skies and sunny days? We are!
As a family, we are looking forward to camping trips, a week at the beach, and cookouts with friends. I want to make sure we have time to squeeze everything in and the funds to do it all. If you haven’t already done so, NOW is the time to start mapping out and budgeting for summer.
To help you plan your summer, I have added TWO summer freebies to my subscribers’ only page: a 2022 printable summer calendar and a summer budget spreadsheet.
Plan your summer fun!
“Mom, when are we going camping?”…”How many more days until we go to the beach?”…”When is the summer fair?”
Kids (and parents) get excited about summer trips and activities, so I like to post a family calendar on the refrigerator with all of our summer plans and activities. It’s a helpful visual for everyone in my family as we anticipate our summer fun.
Budget your summer fun!
How much is summer going to cost you and your family? It can be an expensive season and it’s best to plan ahead.
Start writing a budget today if you haven’t started already. Include everything from weekend trips to longer vacations, yard/garden projects, home renovations, kids’ camps, gear and clothing, and any other summer expense you might have.
Put it all on the spreadsheet and list a projected expense. Once you have a total, you know the amount you need to start saving for and it’s not too late to find the funds. Once summer starts, enter the actual expense. This info will help you make plans for next year.
Need some summer cash?
If you think you’re going to come up short on cash, check out my 25 Ideas to Find Money.
Budget-Friendly Summer Fun Ideas:
Summer activities can be found all around you. Check your local community calendar, library, parks & recreation department, church, and parks. The following list of summer activities is family-friendly, fun, and easy on the budget. We have had fun with most of these ideas locally, but a quick Google search will help you find locations and destinations near you.
- Celebrate Summer Solstice on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, otherwise known as the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. We like to start a backyard fire to roast marshmallows and invite friends over to enjoy the long summer day.
- 8 Summer Date Night Ideas – Need a sitter? Swap with another family who could use a date night too.
- Visit a different playground each week. Why? It’s FREE and each playground visit is a new experience with different kids to play with and different equipment to explore.
- Visit a State Park – Do you like to picnic, hike, swim, camp, bike, bird watch, canoe, fish, and spend your free time exploring the great outdoors? You can enjoy all of these activities and more at a state park!
- Get out on the Rail Trails – Rail trails are old railway lines that have been converted to multi-use paths designed for pedestrian, bicycle, skating, equestrian, and/or light motorized traffic. We used to live near a trail that was very shaded and had picnic tables along the path. My state of PA has 93 rail-trails that cover over 1000 miles. Visit the Rails to Trails Conservancy to locate rail trails near you.
- Local fairs & festivals – Look for local fairs and festivals for low-cost games, food, and activities. We love to go to the harvest festivals in the summertime for strawberries, peaches, and apples. Many local towns, libraries, malls, and fire halls host carnivals and festivals as fundraisers. Keep your eyes and ears open for local activities.
- Visit an orchard. – Several local orchards in our area are fun playtime destinations with playground equipment, petting zoos, mazes, butterfly house, picnic areas, and u-pick fruit patches, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.
- Play miniature golf. – Look for coupons on Groupon, your local coupon magazine, the Bonus Book, or the course’s website.
- Hit the tennis courts. – Unless you’re a member of a tennis club, hitting the tennis courts is usually free. Find a free court, borrow or buy rackets and balls, and go play some tennis. We found junior tennis rackets at a yard sale for our kids.
- Get a community pool pass. – A summer pass to our community pool is around $200 for my family of 4. Or, we could pay the daily per person rate of $8-$9 (weekday) or the weekend day rate of $12-$13. It would cost us $34 for my family to go on a weekday and $50 to go on a weekend day. The summer pass price of $200 is a bargain, considering we a few times a week.
Fun @ Home:
- Host a backyard S’mores party. – Fire up the backyard fire pit and invite your friends and neighbors.
- Go camping in the backyard.
- Have a backyard game night. – Turn the screens off and get outside. We like to play croquet and bocce ball, but I found lots of ideas on Pinterest.
When you need to be Indoors:
On those days when the weather hits 90+ and the pool feels like bath water or a summer storm seems to last for days, these indoor activities will be air-conditioned, entertaining, competitive, and often inexpensive.
- Summer Reading Program at the Library – Check your local library for their summer reading programs. Actually check ALL the libraries close to you, because they may offer different activities and most of them will likely be free or just a few dollars. We participated in 2 library summer programs and they hosted movie nights, summer plays, visits from the local zoo, and other fun & educational activities for all ages.
- Museums on Us – This program offers Bank of America and Merrill credit and debit cardholders the opportunity to receive one free general admission to more than 225 of the most popular cultural institutions in the United States on the first full weekend of every month. This is a year-round program, but the 2022 summer dates are June 4 & 5, July 2 & 3, and August 6 & 7. If you’re a cardholder, check the website for the dates and list of participating museums.
- Kids Bowl Free – Registered kids receive 2 FREE games of bowling each day of the summer program.
- Cheap Summer Movies – Some theaters offer great kids’ movie deals over the summer months. Do a Google search for your neighborhood to find any deals at theaters near you.
Our diet changes over the summer. We eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and grill most nights. It’s a welcome change after a long winter of soups and casseroles. We’re not perfect though…summer also means more ice cream and frosty treats. 😉
- 40 Homemade Popsicle Recipes
- 40 Summer Desserts
- 20 S’mores Recipes
- 25 Burger Recipes
- Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag – This is a fun frugal summer activity for the kids.
- 30 Camping Recipes
- How to Grill Summer Fruit
- How to Grill Pizza – No need to heat up the house to make homemade pizza, grill it instead!
- 20 Delicious Recipes for your Summer Cookout
Family Travel Destinations:
- U.S. National Parks – The U.S. has so much to offer for travel destinations and there are over 400 U.S. National Parks. This post is a growing list of reviews from travel bloggers.
- Our Trip to the Shenandoah Valley, VA
- Our Trip to Niagara Falls, NY
- A Family Weekend in New York City
- Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC
- Fun & Budget-Friendly Summer Activities in Central PA – Welcome to my home state!
- Family Camping at Avalon Campground in New Jersey
- Family Camping at Watkins Glen, NY KOA Camping Resort
Gardening and Landscaping:
Summer is also a time to garden, rejuvenate your landscape, and enjoy an adult beverage in your cozy backyard. I was an avid gardener for many years. In fact, in the early years of FBS, I wrote quite a bit about my gardening adventures. I have downsized my garden space recently, but my gardening posts continue to be some of my most popular.
- Front-Yard Landscaping: 15 Tips To Help You Design Your Landscape and Save Money
- A Tour of Our Backyard
- How to Start & Maintain a Backyard Compost
- I have over 40 gardening posts in my archives, with topics ranging from vertical gardening, square foot gardening, planting vegetables and herbs, composting, recipes from my gardening harvest, and more.
When Summer 2022 is over, start planning for 2023!
When summer ends, enter your 2023 Wish List in your summer budget spreadsheet. Include all the activities that you want to do again or didn’t get to in 2022 regardless if it was due to time or money, and enter an expected expense. Divide the total by 12. That number is what you need to save each month for next year.
As an email subscriber, you have access to all of my current free spreadsheets and printables. They’re all designed to help you save money, pay off debt, and achieve your financial goals, so please take advantage of them.
Have you started making summer plans? Share in the comments!