Summer Fun: 15 Frugal Summer Activities for Everyone

2011-06-13T07:54:08+00:00 Holidays, Saving|

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the weather is warming up. Yes internets, summer is nearly here! After a super long winter on the frugal farm, I’m pretty darn thrilled to see our alfalfa fields growing and our humble square foot garden blossoming.

You must be ready for some summer fun too — I’ve had SEVERAL requests for summery articles on gardening, vacationing, and dining. So, to quench your thirst for summer, I’ve rounded up my Top Frugal Summer Squawks to get you enjoying the great outdoors for less. There’s a little something here for everyone.

1. Go fly a homemade kite

Take your kids (or just yourself) outside this weekend and go fly a kite! Building a homemade kite is a fun summer activity for everyone, and downloading my printable kite pattern makes this do-it-yourself project a breeze. Just add wind!

how to build a kite

free kite plans

2. Take a cheap summer vacation

Stay local and become a tourist in your own town to save money during the summer holidays. You don’t need to venture far to have fun with these travel tips.

travel guides

If you decide to take a little road trip, cut your fuel costs with 10 Ways to Save Money on Gas, and try this handy Gas Mileage Calculator to see how much fuel your vehicle consumes.

3. Start a square foot garden

Get the family outside and build a little (or big) square foot garden. Growing your own fruits and vegetables could save you a few bucks on your grocery bill.

square foot gardening

4. Plant a container garden

No space for a square foot garden? No worries. Apartment dwellers and urbanites can take part in the growing season by planting vegetables, fruit, and flowers in a container garden. Looks pretty on a patio too.

growing tomatoes in pots

5. Survive summer without air conditioning?

Beat the heat and cut energy costs this summer by turning up (or off) your air conditioner with a few handy tricks. Tank tops, summer dresses, and a thin pair of shorts may be required!

air conditioning

6. Skip the ice cream parlor

Fuel your summer sweet tooth by turning ripe fruit into healthy ice cream. No need to toss that banana or pitch that peach!

ice cream recipes

7. Build a better compost

Someone called me a “do-gooder hippie” after I shared my composting tricks with you. Sure, composting is an environmentally friendly way to turn kitchen and garden waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer, but I do it to cut costs on garbage removal too. Ok, I like to churn my compost while wearing braids and flowers in my hair. Peace.

compost bin

8. Grow a delicious herb garden

Have you seen the price of fresh herbs at your local grocery store? ACK! Growing your own mint, chives, and other tasty herbs is super cheap and easy, so spice up your summer meals with this fresh summer post.

growing herbs

9. Sip on something hot, or cool

There’s no ‘latte factor’ with these tasty brews, so take a seat on your patio and infuse yourself with a little herbal tea goodness.

herbal tea

10. Cut lawn care costs

If you grow it you have to mow it! Yep, that perfect urban lawn can be a costly seed to sow. Here’s how to save some green while keeping a lush lawn this summer. (Hint: you’re watering too much!)

riding lawn mowers

11. Make a single tomato last for years?

Stop buying expensive heirloom tomato plants every growing season. Follow these simple steps and teach your kids how to save your precious seeds year after year. (Tip: This won’t work for hybrids, only heirlooms!)

tomato heirloom

12. Bake a little summer crisp

The best way to save money and enjoy a summery dessert is to make it yourself. So grab some seasonal fruit and try this gluten-free recipe for dessert tonight. (Yeah, that’s me peeking out of the rhubarb patch.)

strawberry dessert recipes

13. Take a hike?

Gym rats should scatter into the summer sun and enjoy a hike or two outside. If you breathe in the fresh air you won’t have to wipe your sweat off that salty treadmill. Promise.

summer fun

14. Land a better summer job. Write a killer resume.

Looking for a sweet summer job or a paid internship? Do yourself (and your career) a solid by cleaning up that resume and writing a better cover letter. Oh, you don’t have to be a college grad or a high school student to benefit from these free resume templates, resume examples, and this resume writing advice.

free resume examples

15. Go read a book

The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer sometimes demand that you sit and chill out. So head to the library, sign out a few free reads, and enjoy a good book (or two). πŸ™‚

Your Thoughts: What are you doing to stay frugal and on budget this summer? What are your favorite family activities?


  1. DanP June 13, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Now I’m not sure if i would do this if i had people over, but in the summer, i’ll sometimes take a big bucket of ice, and set it front of the fan and let it cool the room that way. This works really well in the evening after a warm/sunny day and your house is roasting.

  2. Jules June 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    We have east-facing picture windows, so you can imagine that during the summer it can get quite hot. I made some curtains out of €2/meter fabric, one side being a decorative burgundy and the other a reflective white. They work like a charm–and saved us a pretty penny, too–fabric for curtains can sell up to €30/meter!

    One other thing I like doing is cold-brewing tea: take an herbal tea bag and steep it in a pitcher for a few hours. It also works great with white tea, but not-so-well with green tea and not well at all with black teas (with white tea you can forget about it all day and it’ll still be fine, but with the others they tend to become astringent). Even at some of the extortionist prices that Lipton charges for its brews, it works out to cents for a fancy-pants drink. Tapioca bubbles and huge straw optional πŸ™‚

  3. norman golledge June 19, 2011 at 5:42 am

    a project of interest to everyone right now kerry… cutting off rogers, bell and other providers (of expense) to go to cheaper or no cost alternatives…..a lot of people are exploring live streaming and antenna’s and and and and…’d get a good discussion going…..thanks for the costco debate… me it’s a no brainer…..costco is superb…..and people who criticize it …..either haven’t got their facts straight…..or go to stores i dislike intensely….like walmart……….regards….norman golledge

  4. Theresa July 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    You have clearly never had to mow over an acre with a puch mower. You are not lazy if you use a riding lawn mower, unless your a suburban dweller who mows his postage stamp size lawn with one. Just sayin’.

  5. Elmer Cruz December 17, 2014 at 3:54 am

    This is wonderful! Such an creative way to make a kite!! I might have to try this one… πŸ™‚

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