Ways to Have Fun This Summer Without Breaking the Bank

Can you believe that summer is already here? 

Summer is a time to enjoy the beautiful weather while having fun with friends, family, and (even yourself)! Recently, you may be concerned about your spending habits, especially due to high inflation prices and the risk of a recession. If so, don’t fret! Having fun in summer does not have to cost a lot of money! 

Explore the Outdoors

Being outside in the summer is a great way to appreciate the weather and have fun without spending a lot of money. You can do so many different activities outside and go to various locations: you can lay out by the beach, hike in mountainous terrain, walk through a field, or even have fun splashing around in the ocean/lake. 

There are many public spaces that you and your family can visit. Playgrounds and parks are great places for kids to jump around, play games, and socialize with other children. You can pack up a picnic basket and visit one of the many beautiful parks in your state. Most parks allow free access to the land or charge a pretty reasonable fee for admissions. 

Check out this list of all the State Parks in America https://stateparks.com/ or visit your state’s Park Department’s website to get more information!

Get Active With Sports 

Sports are fun activities that keep your whole family up and active! Consider investing in equipment like basketball hoops or volleyball nets so your kids can play with them throughout the summer. Public pools are available to go swimming in, or there are affordable inflatable pools that you can use if you’re just looking to cool off in the comfort of your home.

Make sure, no matter what activity you choose, that you stay hydrated and take breaks when you need to catch your breath or feel overheated! Also, sunscreen is always essential!

Look Up Free Activities

If you go online, there are many different ways to find free or affordable events to attend. One way is to go on Google and look up the word “events.” 

After your results come up, click “Search more events.” When doing so, various options for events appear that you can scroll through. There is an option to click “Free events” and see what free activities or offers appear – restaurants may list “free drink” nights, dance studios may offer free lessons, some museums will offer free admission on certain days, etc. 

You can also attend free online events if you don’t have the ability or desire to leave your house and still want to have fun! 

Have Fun at Home

Who says you can’t have fun at home? There are plenty of entertaining things you and your family can do to have fun this summer. Here are some options:

  • Have a creative movie night 

    • Put on your favorite family movie

    • Make recipes that are in the movie, like Tiana’s beignets from The Princess and the Frog or the spaghetti and meatballs from Lady and the Tramp

    • Print out pictures of your family’s favorite characters or wear clothes that have the characters on them (for example, think of all the pajamas your kids have that rep their favorite superheroes or princesses)

    • Play trivia games about the movie you are watching 

  • Try a new recipe for dinner and cook with your family

  • Read a good book and cuddle up on the couch

  • Make an awesome playlist and jam out

  • Do karaoke and sing to your favorite songs (You can find karaoke videos on Youtube for free)

  • Do arts and crafts (painting, coloring, chalk on the sidewalk, etc.)

  • Host a book club with your friends 

  • Put on a play or reenact a scene from a movie in your living room

  • Have a water balloon fight outside

Travel Affordably

Who says you can’t travel on a budget? Traveling with another person or group of people can help you split the expenses. You can use many different travel websites to find the most affordable rooms, flights, and excursions to book. Travel with people with the same financial goals and ideas for the trip – agree on what you all feel comfortable spending and doing!

You can also have fun traveling to more local places instead of planning extensive trips abroad that require getting on a flight. For example, you and your friends can go to the beach and make a whole day of it! You all can wake up early, head to the ocean, pack a tasty lunch, walk on the boardwalk etc. 

Spend Time Yourself

Remember that you don’t need a large crowd of people to have fun, you can have a good time with just yourself! Sometimes we get into the habit of thinking that we need to be with others to feel less alone – while it is great to socialize, we need to get away from the idea that being alone means being lonely! Spending time with yourself helps you get more in touch with who you are, what you like, and what you want. 

You can have fun with yourself by:

  • Listening to new music and exploring different genres and artists 

  • Watching a movie or show you’ve been meaning to check out

  • Trying out a new hobby and getting in touch with your artistic or creative side

  • Taking yourself out on a date – try a new food place, buy or pick flowers for yourself, and do an activity that makes you happy

  • Practicing or creating a self-care routine 

  • Checking out your local library – getting a library card is free! Read a new book you’ve heard positive reviews about!

Sometimes when we go out with other people, we feel the need to do activities or go places that may be out of our current price range. Being by yourself has many benefits – one of the benefits being that you can spend as much or little money as you’d like. 


I’m wishing you all a fun, safe, and memorable summer! Remember that you don’t have to spend a lot of money for you and your family to be entertained! Do what’s best for you and your bank account!

Jackie Caputo, LMFT in Woodland Hills, CA | Therapy for Anxiety and Depression in Woodland Hills

About the Author

Jackie Caputo is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who provides therapy in Woodland Hills, CA. She also provides online therapy in California to individuals throughout the state.