23 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Summer
Author: Anna Newell Jones

ways to get the most out of your summer

I was at Target yesterday, and I noticed that they already have the Back to School stuff out! I can’t believe it; seems like summer just started!

Summer is that idyllic time when memories are made so be sure you are getting the most out of the short-lived season (no pressure, right?), while also not spending a ton to make those memories.

Let’s get out there, and enjoy what we’ve got left of summer!

23 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Summer…

1. Realize the Benefits

You know how they say laughter is the best medicine? Well ‘they’ know what they are talking about. With the hectic lives we lead, a little downtime does the body good. Part of being healthy involves feeling good about yourself and having fun. Summer is the perfect time to let loose a little bit and be proactive about having fun.

2. Mix Scheduling With Spontaneity

For bigger trips and events, make sure to schedule ahead of time to make sure your plans will go through. For the things that do not need to be scheduled in advance, take some time to truly enjoy the spontaneous moments of life. It can be a great stress reliever and return you back to reality as a happier, calmer person.

3. Go Local

You don’t have to hop on an airplane to have a great time. Take a day trip around your local area and check out things you take for granted. Many places offer free newspapers or pamphlets listing free or low-cost events like fairs, carnivals, or even educational opportunities. It’s cost-effective to come home each night after exploring something new all day.

4. Go Back in Time

Consider the things you loved doing as a child. There are so many simple trips that likely have become your best memories. Entertain your own kids by introducing them to your all-time favorite summer activities. Have a water balloon fight, invite the neighbors for backyard volleyball, or set up a tent in your yard and tell ghost stories.

5. Take a Mental Health Day

If you do not have a vacation allowance at work just yet, consider calling in for a mental health break. That one extra day can be used to do absolutely nothing but what you want to do. Watch movies, read a book, just be lazy for a change.

6. Tackle the Big Jobs

A honey-do list may not be the most exciting part of your summer but tackling projects around the house that need your attention can go a long way to easing your everyday stress. Using some time off to get stuff done can also help you save money on major repairs.

7. Learn a Skill

Keep your mind active by learning a new skill this summer. Learn how to kayak or get educated on how to can the vegetables and fruits in your garden. Picking up a new skill can introduce you to new hobbies and make you a well-rounded person. You can also make a buck off your skills too: How to Figure Out Your Skills and Sell Them for Cash.

8. Create New Traditions

The winter holidays are not the only time to consider family traditions. Start a few so your family has something to look forward to in the summer months. Start a nightly family walk, scout out a favorite fishing hole, or host an annual backyard cookout.

9. Get Educated

If you have more free time in the summer, invest in your own education. Take courses online or at the community college to get some credits out-of-the-way. Be sure to check out these 8 Insider Tips to Saving Money on Textbooks.

10. Find a Swimming Hole

Whether your family prefers the public pool or enjoy jumping in the local river, find a fun place to cool off on a hot day. If there aren’t any good swimming locations nearby, invest in a sprinkler and let the hose flow freely for a little while.

11. Ditch the TV

Unless it’s a rainy day, keep the television off as much as possible. Take bored kids to the library or the park. Cancel your cable for the summer to save on your expenses.

12. Make New Friends

There are some cool ways to meet new people so get out there and do it. Join a club that focuses on your interests in books or hiking. Say, “Hi” to new people at church. Attend the community block party and meet all your neighbors.

13. Take a Big Family Trip

If it’s financially viable, plan a big trip for the family vacation. Let everyone in the family have a say about where to go. Get in the habit of planning in advance for the larger trips. Working with a travel agent, you can often ‘layaway’ a trip and make payments on it over the course of a year.

14. Find a Fitness Buddy

In order to stay motivated about being physically fit, find a friend that will hold you accountable for your inactivity. Ask a neighbor to go on a daily walk or find a friend that likes to run. Ask your pal to join a dance class with you. Here are 12 Free Exercises to get you started.

15. Volunteer Your Time

There a number of ways you can lend your time to help someone else. Whether you have one hour or forty to give each week, find something you enjoy doing that in turn helps others. Cook at a soup kitchen, teach a class at the community center for free, walk dogs at the shelter, or help build a new house for those in need.

16. Go Camping

Nothing says summer like the smell of marshmallows roasting over a campfire. Find a place to camp on the cheap at a nearby campground or state park. Even if you lack the necessary equipment for camping, you can rent a cabin and borrow supplies from your friends and family. Family camping is a great way to get everyone to unplug and relax for a weekend.

17. Invite Guests to Stay

If you have some out-of-state friends or family, invite them to visit. It can be a whole different experience seeing your local area through a new set of eyes. If you want to take a family road trip, hit up your out-of-state friends and family about a visit.

18. Get Sporty

You only have a limited time to do outdoor sports and adventures like hiking, boating, and water skiing. Take a family fun day and learn how to do a new water sport you have never tried.

19. Join a Team

Some communities or even your workplace may have established sports teams for summer play. Find out how to sign up for the softball team or get involved in some playground basketball. If nothing is in your area already, start a summer league with your friends.

20. Update Your Resume

Summer time is often a time of reflection and pondering what you’d like to improve in your life may reveal your desire to change jobs. During some time off, you can reorganize your priorities where your career is concerned. Update your resume and check out the online job boards to see what else is out there.

21. Hit Up the Yard Sales

Yard sales are growing in popularity. Get up early and hit some local yard sales to see what is being offered. You may be surprised at what some people want to get rid of at cheap prices. You may also want to hold your own sale to de-clutter your house of unwanted things and make a little summer fun money in the process. (Cough, cough… Minimalist Challenge anyone?)

22. Find a Farmer’s Market

If your goal is eating better, find out where the local farmer’s market is. You can pick up the freshest, summer produce for a low-cost. Invest some time in finding new recipes based on your farmer’s market finds.

23. Get in the Hammock

There is nothing like a lazy day of summer where you get to be lazy. If you happened to find a hammock during your yard sale spree, be sure to take some well-deserved time to lay in it. Recharge your batteries before school starts and summer is just another memory.


What are your plans for making the most of this summer? Got any fun trips planned?


in Just For Fun, Kids, Practical Solutions, Travel Cheap
PARTY DOWN! Have Fun Beach/Pool Days All Summer Long
Author: Lauren Johnson

Cheap Beach Day Under $100Summer is coming! Here in LA, the beach is a year-round option, but it’s gotten so hot lately that option has become requirement. Here’s a little round-up for a cheap beach day with some cute new things.

How to Have Fun Beach/Pool Days on the Cheap All Summer Long…

Read More »


in Fashion & Style, Seasonal, Social
Rainbow Scavenger Hunt – Cheap-o Weekend Activity
Author: Sara Schmutz

free weekend activity

This post is by new columnist Sara Schmutz!

If you are like me, at some point you start to dread the weekends a little bit. It’s always the same. You want to get out of the house. You want to go do something fun. I mean, it is your weekend we are talking about. You are always looking for ideas for family activities. The problem with that is that any weekend activity that is enjoyable is also expensive. That is where I come in. Currently my little family is in it’s 7th year of living off of a college student’s income. It has been little money for a long time. We don’t have the money to go out to the movies or dinner every week. So, we get creative. So creative, in fact, that sometimes it is more fun to not spend money than it is to spend.

So, this weekend when you are dragging your feet over how to entertain yourselves, I dare you to go have a free rainbow scavenger hunt for the evening. What is a rainbow scavenger hunt? Well, first – head over to your local paint supply store and pick out as many pretty paint swatches as you want. The more you get, the longer your hunt will be. Next, combine all those lovely little colors together and staple into a book. This completes your scavenger list.

free weekend activity 2

You play the game by heading over to your favorite spot. Such as downtown, the local park, a nice beach, or even your own house. Pull out your freshly minted color swatch book and get to work. Start at the first color and, as quickly as you can, find an item in your surrounding area that matches the color. Once you have found the first color, you can move on to the second. Keep looking until you have matched up every color in your booklet!

This game is incredibly fun as a family activity, but would also double as a great group date night. It is great to see what colors really get you stumped. I swear mint green should be easier to find in this world, hopefully you’ll have more luck. Have fun color hunting!

Do you think you’ll try a Rainbow Scavenger Hunt? Is this an activity your family would enjoy?
Sara Schmutz loves to plan parties, lovely DIYs, and attend tea parties with her two daughters. She adores pretty color palettes and confetti. She blogs at Confetti Sunshine.

in Family, Friends, & Relationships, Kids, Things To Do
56 Things To Do Instead of Spending Money
Author: Anna Newell Jones

things to do instead of spending money

Not spending money? No need to worry there’s lots to do!

56 Things To Do Instead of Spending Money… 

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in Clothing/Accessories Swap, How To, Paying Off Debt, Social, Staying Out of Debt, Take Action!, Things To Do
Have You Library-ied Lately?
Author: Anna Newell Jones

library heaven

“I’ve always imagined heaven to be a kind of library” – Gabriel García Márquez

The library is an amazing resource. They’ve got DVD’s, CD’s, magazines, books… so much! To get a library card all you have to do (at least here in Denver) is to bring a picture ID, and proof of residence. A current bill with your name and address on it works perfectly. Then, I go online to the libraries website and search for the item I want to check out. If they have it great, and if not, I use either the Request It! feature or search through the InterLibrary Loan system. So, if the library doesn’t have it- they’ll get it for you! Then, they email you or they’ll call you when the item is ready for pickup at the location you specify. I love using the online system because I can get in and out and back to my day without spending to much time searching for items (not like that’s a bad way to spend a day, but you know what I mean).

The whole deal is really amazing, and it’s even more amazing because it’s completly free!

Most recently I checked out: The Art of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein (haven’t gotten to read it yet), and I’ve got Ellen DeGeneres’s book Seriously, I’m Kidding on hold… can’t wait for that one!

What was the last thing you checked out?


in Practical Solutions, Staying Out of Debt, Things To Do
How To Be A Cheap Valentine Without Being A Cheap Valentine
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Valentine’s Day is right around the bend and that means that the pressure will be on from loved ones to do something for them. Besides, it’s a good time to show you care and how much you’re in love with your sweetie even if the point of Valentine’s Day gets a bit lost in all that commercialization. No matter… it’s fun to eat sweets and look at hearts and see red and pink and white and doilies and get some extra cuddling in.

Last year, I was tempted to just be a full-blown dead beat Valentine and just OWN it. I ended up bailing on that idea when reality set in and I decided I didn’t want to be a total a-hole. I ended up making my husband a sugar cookie shaped into a heart that I proceed to decorate obnoxiously I mean, awesomely. Here’s the link to that post.

Since I don’t have a kiddo (just nieces and nephews that I am completely smitten with). The below list is focused on ideas for adults. I was thinking about what I liked when I was a kid and what I would have liked to get for V-Day when I was a little youngin. Here’s what I remember liking: doing crafts, eating sweets, being told I’m loved. I guess I haven’t changed too much since all of that still sounds awesome.

Free or nearly free ideas for your love. Mix and match. Do one or a couple or all.

  • Go through your closet/house and find things to sell. Trade in your clothes at Scout: Dry Goods & Trade or a similar store for money or items from their shop. Pawn other items you’re done with at a pawn shop and use your newly acquired money to get your sweet heart something.
  • Cook a romantic dinner using pre-existing ingredients from your cupboards
  • Make your Valentine breakfast- again using ingredients or mainly ingredients you already have
  • Give a full-body massage
  • Straight up tell them why you dig them
  • Make 365 reasons why you love them and give them 1 a day for the whole year
  • Decorate your place with hearts you cut out of computer paper. (Here’s a link for some fancy heart cutouts if you wanna get fancy like that. Here’s a link to another paper decoration idea here.)
  • Swap houses/apartments with your friends for the night. You have a date at their house while they have a date at yours.
  • Have a movie marathon and make ice cream sundaes with all the fixin’s
  • Clean the entire house for them
  • Send steamy texts
  • Make homemade chocolate-covered strawberries: 1) Melt a package of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler and add a small amount of oil 2) Remove from heat and quickly dip the strawberries into the chocolate 3) Place on wax paper and refrigerate for several hours until chocolate is firm
  • If you’re hitched: read your wedding vows to each other/watch your wedding video/look at your wedding album
  • If you like giving cards there are free versions you can print out online (here’s a link and another one here for some cute ones) and if you want a “real” card check out the dollar store
  • Make them a mix CD of songs you love that you think they too might love
  • Call in sick together, then cuddle and watch movies/trashy day-time TV all day
  • Make them a cake
  • Make them cookies
  • Look through photographs of when you 1st got together. Have 1 printed and put in a frame (perfect re-gift opportunity with the frame).
  • Compliment them when others are around
  • Decide to give them an ongoing Valentine gift. This is where you do a little nice thing for them each day for an extended period of time. For example: listening intently, picking up a piece of candy for them, do something unexpected for them, give them your full attention when they talk, forgive quickly, add something they like to the grocery list and surprise them with it. Tell them what you’re up to or not. They might be shocked by the extreme niceness you’re dishing out. This will make them feel loved and appreciated which is the goal of Valentine’s Day if you ask me.
  • Reminisce about how you met
  • Send them a secret admirer letter. When it arrives – you know nothing about it. They will be both flattered and maybe a little freaked out, but hopefully mainly flattered.
  • Give your Valentine a homemade spa night. Face mask, massage, mani/pedi, scalp massage. Guys love this even if they won’t admit it.
  • Get naked. Proceed. Ewww. TMI.

What do you do for your loved ones that is free or costs very little?


in DIY, How To, Personal, Practical Solutions, Seasonal, Spending Fasters, Things To Do
  • Anna

    Hi, I'm Anna! I paid off close to 24k in debt in only 15 months & it completely changed my life! I want you to have a debt-free life too so here you'll be able to read all about: How to do a Spending Fast®, saving & making more money, DIY's, & a lot about living awesomely with less. Also! We're building a Tiny House and we're going to be on Tiny House Nation. Follow along!!

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