Between flip-flops and baseball, and beach days, there’s so much to love about summer! Unfortunately, though, the warmest season of the year can be incredibly expensive. Family activities, higher utility bills and steep fuel prices are just some of the ways summer can get pricey. A great way to combat a swollen summer budget is to take a financial fast on a summer weekend – or several of them. Here’s how.
Your spend-free weekend won’t happen without planning. So, make sure the house is well-stocked, your car’s tank is full, that there aren’t any bills due over your chosen weekend and that you don’t have any social events that will require the purchase of a gift. Of course, spending double ahead of the weekend won’t help much, either. Still, take basic steps to ensure you’re prepared for the weekend instead of being caught up a creek and giving up the entire endeavor.
This is the time for creative thinking! First, when it comes to meals, you’re going to need to throw them together using whatever you have on hand. Have fun inventing new dishes with the odd assortment of ingredients you have available, and trying your hand at new, established foods you’ve never tried before. You may also need to get those creative juices flowing if you fail to plan properly and suddenly run out of a household staple, like napkins … or chocolate! Just keep at it and find solutions when the need arises. You can do it!
Go take a hike
The great outdoors doesn’t cost a thing! Look up a local trail you haven’t tried before, hit your favorite path again, or take a drive somewhere new. Load your backpack with energy food, water and sunscreen and get ready to hit the trails! You can also make it a full-day affair and pack an easy picnic dinner to enjoy at the end of the trail. This way, you’ll have your free entertainment and no-cost dinner for one day of your spend-free weekend.
Make lazy days great again
Designate one day of your weekend for a lazy day. Sleep as late as the kids or the dog allows, have breakfast in bed whenever you feel like it and spend the rest of the day watching old movies and playing board games. There’s no schedule today, so feel free to stay in your jammies until noon – or all day if that floats your boat! Of course, when there’s no driving, you won’t need to fill up on gas or groceries or spend anything at all.
Willpower is only as strong as you allow it to be. Don’t tempt it this weekend! Unless you’re absolutely sure you won’t end up falling into the trap of spending money during these few days, take some precautions to make it harder for you to spend. First, browse incognito. This will force you to manually input your payment information for any purchases you find yourself tempted to make. Of course, you can also avoid any shopping sites completely. Similarly, you’re likely better off skipping any window shopping at the mall this weekend.
Host a game night
Instead of spending money on the fun, why not bring the fun to you? Invite some friends over for an epic, cost-free game night. Make sure you’ve stocked up on snacks before the weekend, and let your friends bring any extras you may have forgotten. To up the fun factor, think beyond the board game and set up a video game night, or even a card game event. Show everyone that fun does not always come at a cost!
Attend free events
When you gotta get out of the house but you can’t spend a penny, free summer events are the way to go. Look up free concerts, festivals, fairs, art shows and more in local newspapers and online forums. With so much to see and do, you may just enjoy a day at the neighborhood fair more than a pricey visit to an amusement park.
Don’t give up
If something happens and you’re forced to break your fast, don’t throw in the towel. You can jump right back on and continue your spend-free weekend as if nothing happened. An expense you didn’t anticipate, such as medicine for a family member who just came down with something, may throw you for a loop. However, if it’s a real necessity that must be purchased now, you can forgive this small slip-up. Just make sure it’s a real need and that you don’t let this morph into a spend-fest.
Your spend-free summer weekend is within reach! Follow these tips to make it happen.
Your Turn: Did you take the no-spend weekend challenge? Tell us about it in the comments.