Summer Activities On A Budget

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Summer is upon us my friends! Can you already hear your budget crying? Don’t worry! Yes, you might have to budget in a little more money for groceries if your kids aren’t usually home during the day, but you don’t have to budget in a ton of extra money into your “fun” category just because the season is changing!

I’ve got your back with a few super frugal—yet fun—Summer activities!

1. Make a Dollar Tree run

Dollar Tree seriously has THE best stuff for those hot summer days!

Outside play items: My girls + I love chalk, bubbles, jump ropes, hula hoops, water toys, kids sunglasses (why buy expensive ones…you know they’re just going to get broken in just a few weeks), and tons of other things that you could get creative with.

Indoor play items: For those especially hot days we love puzzles, coloring books, play dough, watercolor paints, all kinds of art + crafts supplies, and lots of other small toys that could be a fun treat for those times that your budget is super tight but the kids want something new to play with.

2. have an ice cream date

Here’s two things you may or may not know about ice cream (or froyo or sno cones)…it’s WAY cheaper than taking your kids out for a full meal AND they actually like is WAY more than a regular meal too!

Seriously though, putting a few dollars aside for when the ice cream truck comes through your neighborhood or setting an upcoming date to make a trip to the ice cream shop will give everyone something to look forward to during those long summer weeks. Make a big deal about it, get excited, literally write it on the calendar and count down the days, and then enjoy! An ice cream date is pretty budget-friendly compared to most other out-of-the-house activities.

3. Buy a cheap little pool

At our old house we had a pool…it was an above-ground pool that we bought from Target, but it was a pool none-the-less. Then we moved…during the dead of Summer…in Texas…when it was at least 105 out! Eeekkk! I was out running errands when I saw this cheap little $15 pool at Dollar General, I added a few water toys from Dollar Tree a few days later…and the rest is Summer History! The thing I love about buying such a cheap pool is that you don’t have to worry about keeping it in great shape or trying to store it during the Winter because it was only $15…if it gets a hole in it or Summer is over, whichever comes first, just throw it in the trash and move on. $15 well-spent!

My girls LOVED this cheap little swimming pool so much that we’re currently on our third Summer of this tradition.

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Click the image to shop


4. Have a movie night at home

I’m a pretty big fan of blankets on the living room floor, bowls of microwave popcorn, and Netflixing as a family. Honestly, we even do this during the hot Summer afternoons before naptime. Everyone gets a break from the sun and…hey, popcorn can be substituted for lunch right!?!

5. Do a project together

Usually during the Summer we have a little extra time on our hands so this is the perfect time to actually do some of those projects you pinned on Pinterest months ago! Some of our favorite projects are tie-dying, making a fairy garden (Dollar Tree + Hobby Lobby have some great accessories), watercolor painting on printer paper (90s kid style!), homemade playdough or slime, and scrap booking…the possibilities are endless. Scroll through Pinterest (use “easy” or “DIY” in your search terms) or browse through a craft store with your kids and see what pops out at you!

>> Make sure you set a project/event budget beforehand though so you don’t get carried away.

I know there are so many more budget-friendly Summer activities than what I included in this list, but hopefully this will give you some ideas to start with. If you’re still completely at a loss for what to do then just ask your kids what sounds fun to them…they’ll usually be full of ideas. The most important thing to remember is that it’s about spending quality time together and sticking to your budget…it’s that simple, you’ve got this!

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I'm the wife to my high school sweetheart, Daniel, + homeschooling momma to our 3 girls. I'm the Budgeting Coach + Motivational Speaker behind 
A Sunny Side Up Life

My family used to be in $490k of debt + living paycheck-to-paycheck, but after we hit rock bottom everything changed for us!

Now that my family has become debt free + gained financial freedom, I want to help your family do the same! My passion is inspiring women to live abundant lives through budgeting, intentional living, and positive thinking.

I offer a jump start into budgeting with my free 8-day Declutter Your Budget Challenge + full budgeting experience with my course, Your Sunny Money Method.


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