After years of shutdowns and quarantines, Americans are understandably excited to get out and take advantage of the summer weather. Often this involves expensive activities like dining out, concerts, movies, and vacations, which quickly eat into your monthly budget. To stay on track, we have 5 easy tips to reduce entertainment expenditures without sacrificing your summer fun.
1 – Outdoor Activities
Why not take advantage of the summer weather by visiting a local trail or outdoor park? Many local and state parks are free for visitors so you can easily plan a trip without having to worry about entrance fees. The National Park Service offers a Free Lifetime Military Pass for Gold Star Families and US military veterans and a free Annual Military Pass for current US Military members and their dependents. These passes provide access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests. Whether you’re doing a day hike or camping overnight, outdoor activities are a great way to have fun on a budget.
2 – Visit Your Local Library
The public library is an often-overlooked resource for free entertainment. A library card provides access to free movies, books, audiobooks, music, and (in some locations) video games. You won’t have to buy or rent anything if you go through your library. If you have young children, your library likely offers fun storybook readings that are also completely free.
3 – Matinee Movies
If you’re interested in going to the movies, it might make more sense to purchase a matinee ticket during the day. Most theaters offer lower matinee pricing before 4 pm every day. These prices can vary between cities and theaters but on average, matinee tickets range from $6 to $11. AMC Theaters, for example, currently offers a 30% discount on all matinee shows for all locations. Many theaters offer a discount with a Military ID too. To save more money, you could organize a movie night at home with friends where you can enjoy unlimited snacks.
4 – Free Local Activities
Look online or in your newspaper for free summer activities happening within your community. Local events like street fairs, concerts in the park, and farmers’ markets are usually free for visitors. Other local spots like zoos or museums may require an entrance fee, but these locations often offer military discounts or even free-entry days once per month. Many communities tend to have fun weekly events in the summer, so you should be able to fill your calendar with exciting activities that are both inexpensive and easy to get to.
5 – Entertaining at Home
Eating out at a restaurant can be a lot of fun but it can also be very expensive. A good way to save money without giving up great food is to cook at home with friends. You can even expand the meal with a game night or backyard movie screening – so a pricey night out becomes an affordable night in!
If entertainment expenditures are causing you stress, they aren’t worth your time or money. Regardless of your entertainment budget, there are free options available to everyone that are both inexpensive and fun. Use these tips to reduce expenses while making the most of your family’s summer.