Friday 14th June 2024

Frugal Summer fun: how to save in the sunshine

Shoestring Jane discusses frugal Summer fun, offering tips on saving money, enjoying outdoor activities, and budgeting for the season

Frugal Summer fun. Woman in a field of sunflowers pictured.

Frugal Summer fun is not impossible. We may have had record levels of rain over the winter here in the UK, but there is no denying the weather is improving.

As Ella Fitzgerald sang, ‘Summertime, and the living is easy’.  It certainly feels easier to save money in the Summer. Here are some ideas to make the best of the season and have some frugal Summer fun.

Save money on TV

Better weather means more time outdoors and less huddled in front of the TV. Use this as an opportunity to review the amount you spend on cable, satellite and streaming services. Even if you just pause your subscriptions to Netflix or Disney for a few months you will save some cash.

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Plan a frugal getaway

If you can afford a holiday, check out my post How to Find a Cheap Holiday That Still Fulfills Your Dreams here. Sometimes, it’s not about finding the best deal, it’s about being creative and doing things differently.

Instead of a package holiday abroad, consider camping, house-swapping or youth hostelling for a budget break in the UK.

Read more from Shoestring Jane
on Mouthy Money

Holiday at home

If your budget is super tight, have a staycation. Stay home and plan a series of days out in your local area. We often ignore the sights and tourist destinations just under our noses, and there is usually loads to do.

Start with your nearest tourist information centre. Failing that, libraries usually have leaflets and posters for local events.

Find free activities and events

Finding free local events and venues is a great way to save money in the summer. There is usually a lot going on when the sun is shining.

An internet search will produce a range of potential free activities. For example in my area, googling ‘free things to do in Essex’ tells me I can visit the Essex Police Museum, Hadleigh Castle, Maldon Promenade Park, Clacton Pier and Pets Corner in Harlow.

There are also free activities for children in my local library, historical trails, bandstand concerts and music in the park, summer fetes and nature walks.

Pack a picnic

Wherever you choose to go, take your food and drink and you will save a ton of money. This has the added benefit of less time spent queuing.

Pack a picnic, make a flask and take along a few treats. If you want a day off food prep, buy a cheap supermarket meal deal. You can usually purchase a sandwich, drink and snack for around £4 a person.

Eat from the pantry

Save money by setting yourself a pantry challenge. Instead of looking at the random ingredients in your cupboards and declaring there is nothing to eat, write a thorough inventory of all the food you have.

As you go along, certain meal ideas will occur to you, so make a note. Use recipe sites to research meals using the ingredients you find. For example, how can you use that half pot of mustard lurking in your fridge? Be bold and try new things.

Write a meal plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the coming week. You may still have to shop for a few fresh supplies but stick to your list and think of all the money you are saving.

Preserve seasonal produce

Now is the time to take advantage of cheaper prices on seasonal produce and buy in bulk. You can freeze some, make pickles or try your hand at jam-making.

If you grow some of your own food over the summer, even better.

Dry outdoors

Plan your washing around the weather forecast. On a fine, breezy day, your laundry will dry quickly and much more economically than putting your dryer on. The sun will also have a natural bleaching effect on sheets, towels and nappies. 

I have even put an airer in the greenhouse on damp sunny days!

Have cooler showers

Now that the weather is warmer, save energy and water by showering instead of bathing. Keep your showers short and turn the temperature gauge down a little.

Organise a garage sale

If, like me, you like to have a good declutter in the spring, why not make some extra money hosting a garage sale?

Advertise your sale on local Facebook groups, pin flyers on public noticeboards and let all of your neighbours know.

Set up trestle tables to display your goods, hang clothing and don’t forget to get a float together.

Host a potluck garden party

Get friends and family together for a potluck party in your garden or local park. The idea is that everyone brings a dish and some drinks to share, along with some outdoor games and activities. It’s a very cheap way to have fun.

Eat lots of salads

Save on energy and make the most of eating outdoors by preparing lots of salad meals. Combine various raw vegetables, pickles and croutons with cold meat or cured fish, cheeses and hard-boiled eggs.

Who wants to slave over a stove on a hot day?

Budget for the school holidays

It can be expensive when the children are off school over the summer. They want to be entertained, and you are likely to have more family excursions.

Make sure you write a budget and consider your spending limits in advance. Look out for deals on local attractions, such as those you can purchase with your Tesco Clubcard. When you go out, make sure you take some refreshments to help cut costs.

Set up fun things to do at home. Water play is a good idea. My kids loved to make a water slide with a large piece of tarpaulin and the garden hose. Pick up cheap craft supplies from the pound shop for dull days, and make a dressing up box with items like hats, feather boas, frilly nighties, etc. These can often be picked up in charity shops.

Careful planning will give you plenty of frugal ways to save money in the summer. What are yours?

Photo credits: Pexels

Shoestring Jane

Mouthy Blogger

Shoestring Jane is a full-time self-employed mum of three daughters. Her frugal partner in crime is handyman extraordinaire, Mr Shoestring. They are constantly on the look out for ways to save and make extra money. Read more on her blog, Shoestring Cottage.

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