Summer is now in full swing, and your wallet or purse is feeling its pinch. Between dance practice, acting lessons, pool memberships, and your planned vacation, the paycheck isn’t going very far. The way it looks, you may run out of money and turn your kids into repeating “I’m bored” machines. The good news is there are ways to pare down costs and stretch your dollars a bit more. Here are some suggestions for a fun, yet cheaper, summer.
A trip to the movie theater is no longer cheap, especially when you throw in popcorn and candy. A family of four can spend well over forty dollars for a afternoon matinée. Reduce costs to see the latest summer blockbuster by bringing your own snacks or movie theater candy purchased at the store. A better idea is to skip the theater altogether and head to a drive-in where prices are lower and, in many cases, you get to see two films for the cost of one admission. Sites like Driveinmovie.com point you to drive-ins in your area.
Pool memberships are expensive and may not pay for themselves due to schedule conflicts or constant inclement weather. Rather than invest in a membership you may or may not use on a regular basis, check to see if your town offers municipal pools. These swimming holes can cost less to get in and may offer discounts for swimming later in the day. If that option isn’t available, look for county or state parks that offer swim beaches, which may charge per carload rather than individual.
No need to pay out the nasal appendage to attend a performance from your favorite acting troupe or symphony orchestra. Come summer, these art groups head outside and provide free programs for everyone. For example, your local symphony may perform in the park prior to a fireworks display, or an acting group does an annual Shakespeare in the Park event. Your town may even work with other performing arts groups and have them display their talents across their downtown area over several weekends. Peruse the local newspapers and magazines to discover the free entertainment events in your vicinity.
Your kids want to go to Disneyland, but you aren’t interested in taking out a second mortgage to pay for it. To avoid their disappointment and looks of shame, consider a trip to a local amusement park. Giant mice and ducks won’t be waiting for them, but your kids should have a fun time anyway in a less-crowded and, sometimes, family-owned location.
Should your family be more into natural thrills rather than manufactured ones, check out your county and state parks. An annual pass for these attractions will give you unlimited access to numerous venues. Fans of national parks may want to consider purchasing an annual pass. The upfront cost may seem expensive, but it gives your family unlimited access to all national parks across the country.