With prices rising and interest rates leading the news these days, many of us are thinking more carefully about spending. But it’s summer! We all need to get out and have a little fun, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are seven ways to enjoy the summer – without spending much, if any, money. (Snacks are optional!)
1. Screen a movie at home
Many will say summer is the time to get off our screens. But maybe one is okay! With this four-step plan, a movie night with friends or family becomes a special evening.
Create a list of movies and ask your guests to cast a secret vote in advance. This creates a buzz – what are we watching?
Ask your guests to bring a unique popcorn topping – dill, cheese, ranch, wheat germ – who knows what you’ll get! Make a huge batch of popcorn.
Display fun garnishes your guests can add to water, soda or a cocktail – simple stuff from your fridge like lime, cucumber, orange slices, herbs.
With fancy drinks and personalized popcorn in hand, reveal the movie selection for the night. Enjoy!
Pro tip: If you have space and can get your hands on a projector (some libraries offer them), hang up a white sheet for a movie night under the stars.
2. Go geocaching
Think of it like a treasure hunt. All you need is a sense of adventure and phone with GPS. Here’s how it works. People hide small items (e.g., mini toys, trinkets or coins) in water-tight containers around the world, along with a logbook and pencil. Download the geocaching app and search for “caches” near you. Follow the GPS coordinates and search until you find your target. Open it, sign the logbook and add a small item to the box for the next person, if you like.
Pro tip: Activate your steps tracker; you’ll be amazed how far you’ll travel when hunting for hidden treasures. No pricey gym membership required.
3. Host a board game or trivia night
Imagine your friends or family gathered around a table playing board games or battling over trivia questions. Super fun, sure, but also brain-nourishing, free and repeatable (tournaments, anyone?). If you have games at home, great. If not, ask your guests to bring some or check local free listings on social media.
Trivia doesn’t need to be a pricey night out at a pub. Get trivia books at your local library or use a free online trivia site or app and gather a few friends.
Pro tip: Make it a “whatever’s in your pantry” potluck for snacks.
4. Take advantage of “free entrance” days
Free entrance isn’t only for seniors and students. Museums, art galleries and other cultural attractions often have timeslots for free public entry. Some don’t charge for entry at all. For example, in Quebec, many museums are free on the first Sunday of each month. Winnipeg, Halifax, Vancouver and other cities all have some that offer free entry options. These are just a few examples. An online search or phone call to your municipality will turn up interesting options in your area.
Pro tip: Check if the museum has an app with free listening tours. You might learn some cool trivia to use for idea #3 above!
5. Get outside
You don’t have to be “outdoorsy” to enjoy spending time outside – no hiking boots or ski poles required! Whether you live in the city, the country or somewhere in between, there are easy ways to enjoy some fresh air. Go for a hike or a walk in a local forest or conservation area. Trail difficulty ranges and many have accessible options including paved sections with railings. In government-run spots, routes are usually well-marked.
Not much for the forest? City walks can also be an adventure. Find a new area and explore its sights and sounds.
Pro tip: Pocket a few granola bars and always bring more water than you think you’ll need.
6. Organize a closet swap
What better way to shop than with friends – for free! Whether it’s fit or fashion, we’ve all got clothes we haven’t worn in years. Before you toss or donate, try gathering a group of willing friends and/or family for a clothing swap. Here’s how it works:
Everybody brings a bag of items they don’t want anymore. Display the clothes around the room.
Open up your bathroom or other closed-door spaces for changing.
Start “shopping.” Try on anything you’re interested in and take what works.
At the end of the swap, donate any leftover clothes to a local charity.
Pro tip: Don’t be shy about trying new styles. You never know what gems you might find with an open mind.
7. Plan a picnic
Eating outside doesn’t have to mean a pricey restaurant patio. Raid the fridge and put together a spread for a summer picnic. Think easy-to-prep stuff like cheese, crackers, dip, veggies and fruits. Pack it up in whatever storage you’ve got, throw in a few beverages and grab your favourite blanket. Head out to a local park or schoolyard and set up. That’s it – quick, easy and a great way to enjoy a meal al fresco.
Pro tip: An outdoor meal can be enjoyed with friends or with a great book or podcast.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.