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Budget friendly summer fun

Summer is here (where has the year gone already). Whilst I love summer, it has the potential to really burn a whole in a budget. Kids being home from school, longer daylight hours meaning you want to do more with your evenings and weekends to enjoy the sun. From trips to the beach to family BBQs it all adds up. Enjoying summer doesn't mean you can't continue to make headway on becoming debt free. Today I will be sharing some fun family and budget friendly activities for the summer months.

1. Walk (or cycle)  on the seafront/country side/park. 
Make the most of the great weather by discovering new walks and hikes in your area. If you have little children, creating an "I spy" activity where they have to find things in the surrounding area is a great way to keep them engaged. Let it be an opportunity to see new places you have never been to before, even if they are not far from home. Also always be on the look out for free parking, on popular routes people have cashed in on walkers and charge a lot to park so it is always worth looking into first. 

2. Go fruit picking.
Growing up, I loved hunting out blackberries, crab apples and sloes. We would usually turn them into jam, but there are lots of options. If you can find edible fruit near you on public areas then this can be a great free activity. If you don't live near somewhere like this then try searching for farms that do pick-you-own for a small fee you can pick fruit there.
To know when is best to look for certain fruit here is a quick guide for when fruit is ready for picking
  • Strawberries - June to July
  • Raspberries - July to mid October
  • Blackberries- June to July
  • Tayberries - June to July
  • Blackcurrants - Mid July to mid August
  • Plums - late July to August

3. Take a trip to the beach. 
Going to the beach doesn't have to be expensive. Packing your own food, blankets and chairs means you don't need to fork out for these at tourist prices.  You could even (if permitted) make a fire pit and have s'mores or bananas stuffed with chocolate buttons.

4. Ice-cream bar. 
Pick up a couple of tubs of ice cream in different flavours, as well as some of your favourite ice cream toppings (sprinkles, cherries, fudge and chocolate are all great options) and let the masterpieces develop. 

5. Stargaze in your garden. 
Try to find night where the sky is going to clear, and there is not to much artificial light, grab a blanket and your sweetheart and look to the sky. Have a go at guessing what funny shapes you can see. Remember, this doesn't have to be a super serious, make it your own. Involving kids is brilliant for this activity as they had wild imaginations and will see things that never even occurred to you. 

6. Visit a farmers market or a country fair. 
Other than getting to see lots of wonderful produce and exhibitions. It can be fun to give each other a small budget (i.e £5) and you each get lots of little bits of food, that the other has to try. Sometimes they have livestock as well which is great fun for children and is normally much cheeper to visit that a 'family farm'

7. Go fishing. 
Find a creek, grab a net and have fun trying to catch tiddlers. You could even take a picnic with you.  Just don't expect to have dinner sorted :) If you don't have a net, grab an old laundry bag (a fine mesh one), wire and garden pole and make a DIY net.  

8. BBQs
Over the summer you can get quite a few invitations to BBQs, often you are expected to bring food (meat) to the event. If you are on a tight grocery budget it can be a great idea to buy burgers and sausages when they are reduced (preferably 50-75% off) and freeze them. That way you can keep a stockpile ready for the next BBQ you attend. At the end of the summer what you haven't used up, can be added to dinner menus over the coming weeks. Also keep an eye out for when your favourite BBQ drinks go on sale and stock up a reasonable amount. 

9. Library Time
Going to the library is great for all ages. For bookworms like Chris and I it can be all to easy to be tempted into buying every book we want to read but its just not economical. Many libraries over the summer run reading schemes for children that are rewards based, making reading fun and educational. 

Summer doesn't have to be swipe and forget it season. For those who are struggling with debt I would  not recommend taking on more especially not for summer fun (see 5 steps for getting out of debt). For those out of debt wise use of credit cards can earn you some surprising rewards (compare the best rewards here (USA) and here (UK) . If you are making big journeys over the summer, putting petrol on a card can be a good option as many providers offer preferential rewards on transportation. As a general rule of thumb only make pre-planned purchases on a credit card, this avoids the temptations to purchase due to the lure of rewards. However, the cash back is only worth it if the balance is paid off in full each month (otherwise the cost of interest is more than cash-back earned).  When using a card its important to fully understand what you are doing, this Glossary is very helpful if you are feeling overwhelmed by jargon. 

What are your favourite budget summer activities?

This post is sponsored by Credit Card Insider. All opinions are my own.


  1. I love the library for free summer fun. The kids check out books and stop by for craft time. The grown ups get our own books, music, and movies. Great list!

  2. I love the idea of stargazing - such a simple thing to do - and magical with kids!