Summer is fast approaching and along with it, lots of opportunities for spending money. Planning ahead can help you save money while still enjoying family fun, traveling, or working around the house. This guide provides tips to help.

Planning ahead can help you save money while still enjoying family fun, traveling, or working around the house.

Family Fun

There are numerous ways to have fun without breaking the budget. Here are just a few no and low cost suggestions:

  • Stage Your Own Family Board Game Olympics
    Set one night weekly to turn off the TV and digital devices and let the games begin. Feature board games, card games, and other games such as dominoes, pickup sticks or jacks. End the evenings with dessert "awards" for winners and losers alike.

  • Plan a Weekend Film Festival
    The family picks a theme (sci-fi, comedy, detective/thriller, cartoon features, or TV series, for example) and identifies specific films or shows. Spread the viewing out over a month or have a binge weekend.

  • Hike or Bike a New Trail
    New adventures await at city, county or nearby state parks and green spaces. Search online for sites and trails near your location. Or create a self-guided walking or biking tour featuring an interesting topic, such as local architecture, historic sites or nature-related subjects.

  • Find a Free Community Event
    Go to your favorite online search engine and enter "free events and entertainment" and the name of your city (or the location you'd like to visit). You'll be surprised at how much there is to do.

  • Go Camping—in a Cabin
    Many state parks offer rental cabins that are very economical for a family vacation. Go to the official state park sites of your state and nearby states to check out possibilities. Many state parks also have lodges with hotel type accommodations. Pick a park that has activities your family enjoys; most are free or have only a nominal cost.

  • Plan Your Own History Tour or Other Special Focus
    What are your state and nearby locales famous for? What about a tour where you check out the history, recreation opportunities and foods of a city or area in easy reach of your home? Let family fingers walk the Web for information and plan a route, identify sights and activities, and reserve affordable lodging.

  • Look for Deals
    Many area museums and attractions may have specials or deals for Facebook fans or Twitter followers. They may also have discounts for local residents. Consider using a daily deal site, such as Groupon or LivingSocial, for last minute discounts on attractions, restaurants, and lodging.


Summertime is a favorite time for traveling. These resources provide many tips for saving money on travel.

Around the House

Summertime can be rough on your household budget. Warmer temperatures typically mean higher cooling costs. Lawns and gardens may need more water than Mother Nature provides. These are just a few tips that can help keep you and your budget cool.

  • Plant some trees. Trees provide shade in the summer which can reduce the temperature of the air reaching the house. They also provide a windbreak in the winter.

  • Use native plants in your landscaping. Native plants typically use less water and need less fertilizer and pesticide.

  • Use mulch in your landscaping. It will help hold moisture in the soil and can help cut down on weeds.

  • Use window coverings to reduce the amount of heat that comes through your windows.

  • Instead of using the oven which can heat up the house, use the stove, microwave, grill outside, or fix a one-pot dinner.

  • Clean or replace your AC's filter regularly to keep it running efficiently.

  • Replace your shower head and toilet with those that are more water efficient.

These resources provide more tips for savings around the house.

  • The Energy Saver Guide offers tips for saving money and energy at home and on the road. It's from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and is available in English and Spanish.

  • The Energy Saver website, also from the DOE, provides information about improving the energy efficiency of your home. Learn more about heating & cooling, weatherizing your home, designing an energy efficient home, and saving electricity and fuel.

  • WaterSense from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), provides tips for saving water indoors and outdoors. It also has information about how we use water and how to check for leaks.

  • GreenScaping, a brochure from the EPA, provides landscaping tips that can improve the appearance and health of your lawn and garden which also saving time, money, and natural resources.