Up in the Northern hemisphere, the summer months have been rolling in while the school months have left the calendar frame. As a student, I’m constantly searching for fun ways to spend my time, without making a dent in my paycheck.
Enjoying the summer while on a budget can be difficult, especially when adding up all costs of transportation, food, and shopping.
Here are my main 3 ways that I get creative, cheap, and still have fun:
1. Be outdoors and spend time with nature.
Living in the PNW, I have been raised to love nature and everything that involves spending time outside. I love the cool breeze when standing by the water, the changing colors in the sky, and the way my skin feels after a long day in the sunshine.
Picnicking in the park or hiking are my few favorite ways of being outside.
Prep some lunch at home – like sandwiches or salad, a reusable canteen or water bottle for cool beverages, and refreshing fruit for a quick snack/dessert! Pack everything in a reusable container, to avoid producing trash, but to also utilize materials you already have. Gather some friends and have a fun relaxing picnic by the park, water, or mountains. Or enjoy a solo date and enjoy the view and lunch to yourself! Not only do you get a good and relaxing meal, but you also spent very little for your delicious picnic.
Some hiking areas may require a parking pass, although most are affordable and range from $30-40, talk around with friends or family and see if anyone will split costs with you. Hiking is a great way to get exercise and outdoors time together, and the view at the top of the summit will be so satisfying. Pack a comfortable backpack with sunscreen, granola bars, a lunch, and water – lots of it. Stay hydrated while you’re outside! Stop staring at the view on your Instagram Explore feed, and get going and see it raw with all of your senses! Explore without spending, and appreciate the creations of Mama Nature.
2. Be a tourist in your own city and visit community events.
Hop on a bus and challenge yourself to not using a car. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, but you’ll better understand public transportation, which may come in-handy for those spontaneous exploring outings. Avoid parking and gas money by paying a low-cost bus fare, and explore the areas around you! Go to a farmers market, art festival, outdoor movies, or just any avenue with cute shops.
Not sure where to look or begin? Go to Google, and search for touristy areas or upcoming events in your town. Create a list of stops you want to make, and start crossing them off this summer. Or if you enjoy the thrill of having no plans, pack your bag and go have fun! Mark the upcoming community events on your calendar, and check them out! Most events are sponsored by local non-profits and have very little to no admission cost, and are a great way to meet other people in your neighborhood. Take a peek at the flyers at local fairs, and see what people around you are doing, what they advocate for, and educate yourself about where you live and the people you live with.
I’ve lived in the greater Seattle area for most of my life, but every time I visit a community fair or get to the city, I’m amazed by places that my eyes didn’t catch before. It blows my mind that so many people can live together in one city, but know so little about each other or their surroundings. Be a part of that change, and widen up your perspective. Let your inner explorer out, I’m sure you wont’ be disappointed.
3. Are you a homebody? Enjoy your comfort space to the fullest.
Although I love being outside and spending time with people, my inner introvert also desperately craves the balance of being inside and by myself. When I have my solo-days inside, I enjoy binge watching videos on my YouTube Watch Later list. I also enjoy reflecting and writing, which comes in the shapes of blogging and journaling my thoughts.
This may sound ridiculous, but I also get ridiculously excited about deep cleaning my room while I’m at home. Something about having a cleaned and refreshed space is rewarding, and makes for a productive day. I love getting the vacuum, cleansing wipes, and dusting off any surface that needs some extra love. Every season, I make an effort to clear out my bookshelf and closet, and I’ll declutter items that I no longer need. I typically sort out items to resell or donate. Check out some second-hand shops, consignment shops, or a local bookstore and see if they will exchange your gently used items for cash. Although it’s not a huge wad of cash, making money out of a free activity is never a bad idea.
Another cheap way I enjoy my time indoors is blasting music in my room. With loud upbeat music, I’ll typically motivate myself to workout and get some movement in my day. Afterwards, I’ll switch gears to mellow music, enjoy a bath, and use a homemade body scrub to get a deep body cleanse.
Don’ let money get in your way, enjoy a solid summer break! You deserve a rewarding time for yourself! Get out there and have fun exploring, share with me how your adventures go – I would love to read about them.
With love, Monet.
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