Summer Break on a Budget
Summer is a time for enjoying a break from the demands of school and getting out in the sun, not a time for building debt. It can be tempting to book weekend getaways and vacations without a second thought, but it’s important to consider how your summer spending will impact your finances in the long run.
To help you enjoy summer without the guilt of overspending, here are some suggestions for no- or low-cost activities that will maximize your fun and minimize your debt:
- Plan a staycation. If you can’t afford to go out of town without getting yourself into debt, plan a staycation for yourself or friends. Oftentimes, we miss out on the interesting things in our own towns because we’re so used to seeing them every day. Do an Internet search for your town and others close by, and discover what others have noted as they’ve traveled through. Read reviews and make a list of the most popular local attractions or landmarks and spend a day being a tourist in your own town.
- Look for free community events. Many communities offer free events to encourage residents to get outside. For example, some townships or community centers offer free movie nights. Take along a blanket and some snacks, and enjoy the entertainment for much less than the cost of movie tickets.
- Scout out free or low-cost concerts. Some public parks will host concerts at either no cost or a very low price. Grab a friend and enjoy some live music in the beautiful summer weather.
- Plan a potluck-style picnic. Instead of paying high prices for meals at a restaurant, plan a lunch or dinner picnic with friends. Make it potluck-style so everyone contributes one dish to the meal. Not having a menu in front of you will keep you from ordering food you don’t really want or need. Plus, packing and bringing all the food yourselves will save you from paying service fees or gratuities. Just don’t forget to be kind to the environment and clean up when you’re done!
- Have a clothing swap with your friends. Are you bored with your wardrobe and tempted to buy all new summer clothes? Before you do that, reach out to friends and plan a date when you can all have a clothing swap. Choose a number of items for each person to bring and take. Then take clothes that you will probably never wear again and trade them for some new-to-you clothing without the hefty price tags.
There are plenty of ways to save while still enjoying summer break. In addition to these ideas, don’t forget to always ask stores or vendors if they offer a student discount. This can save you additional dollars with a simple flash of your student ID.