If you’re like me, you’re going back to your hometown for the summer and there may or may not be a whole lot to keep you occupied for the duration of the summer. In addition to that, you’re also a struggling college student whose favorite words are “discount” and “free.” How will we ever keep ourselves entertained, you ask? Well, luckily for you I have compiled a small list of adventures you can embark on this summer with minimal cost involved (results may vary).
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Fun fact: College students of Indianapolis get a membership to the Indianapolis Museum of Art FOR FREE. That’s right. I said free. Membership to the IMA will give you access to the inside of the museum (obviously) where even an ill-educated art appreciating novice like myself can enjoy the exhibits, the beautiful and ever-changing gardens, and the Fairbanks Art & Nature Park that features Funky Bones (as written about in John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars”). For anyone who isn’t a college student of Indy or perhaps wants to bring a buddy along but forgot their wallet, the Nature Park is free to everyone and open daily. For more information, you can visit their website here (https://discovernewfields.org) and see all of the fun events and exhibits there are for you to explore.
2. State Parks
I will be the first to admit that nine times out of ten, I usually don’t enjoy the outdoors. On the other hand, I enjoy getting to hang out with my friends with a very little cost involved and that’s just what the State Parks can offer. For residents of Indiana, it’ll run you $7 total to gain entry into most Indiana State Parks for a car full of people. The website which you can access here will give you more information for special cases and non-Indiana residents. Either way, you can pack a lunch and do some hiking at a State Park for a pretty low cost (which is my favorite kind of cost). I personally recommend Turkey Run which has all sorts of trails and rocks to climb and explore. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the outdoors, once isn’t going to hurt you and the fresh air will do you good. Who knows, maybe you’ll even enjoy yourself.
3. Books, Books, Books
So maybe you tried hiking and, as is no surprise to you, you hated it. Some people are just indoor people through and through. I can’t blame you for that. One of my favorite things to do on a calm Saturday is to venture to used/independent bookstores and seek out my next read. Anyone that is friends with me on Facebook knows that I’m in a reading competition with my mom (which I’m currently winning) and am always on the lookout for my next good read. Here (https://www.newpages.com/independent-bookstores/indiana-bookstores) is the link to a list of independent bookstores throughout Indiana, but I always recommend Half-Priced Books. In addition to pretty cheap used books, they also carry records, DVD’s, and even the occasional VHS. Besides the adventure you get to take to the bookstore, there’s also the adventure awaiting your purchase so I’d say this two-for-one is a pretty good deal. Don’t know what book to read next? Well, you can either click this link (https://whatshouldireadnext.com) which will give you a list of your next books to read based on one that you’ve previously enjoyed, or you can contact me and I might have something up my sleeve to tickle your fancy.
4. Outdoor Movie Night
I know what you’re probably thinking. Abby, you’ve given me things to do during the day, but what about at night? Well, as you probably expected, I’ve got everything covered in a true mom-friend type fashion. You want to go to space? Done. Climb some mountains to destroy some jewelry? Done. Watch a sassy kid from Brooklyn save New York City in spandex? I laugh in the face of your challenge. Done. All you need are a bunch of blankets (air mattress is optional), some pillows, one large white sheet, a flat wall, and a projector. Don’t have a projector? Well if you’re in a pinch, you can use actually use your smart phone to build your own projector. This link will take you to one of many video tutorials on how to do this so just find one you like and get to the building. P.S. My 11 year old sister was able to do this, so I think you can manage, too. If you really want to get comfy, you can fill a three-ring kiddy pool with blankets and pillows for the ultimate movie-watching experience.
5. Thrift Shopping
Only got $20 in your pocket? Well, let my dear friend Macklemore and I introduce you to the wonderful world of thrift shopping. When I hit college, Goodwill became one of my dearest friends and most trusted allies. 99 cent Sundays? Check. 50% off color of the week? Check. Goodwill isn’t the only place out there either. Take a look on your phone, and I’m sure you can find a myriad of thrift stores just waiting to be sifted through. I should also mention that summertime is garage sale season. So while you’re out there hitting up the thrift stores, stop at some garage sales you see along the way. You never know what treasures you might find.
I tried to keep this list pretty Indiana based as that is where my reading demographic primarily presides. Don’t limit yourself to this list though. I encourage everyone to search the internet and see what’s out there to make this summer one for the books (and by that I mean scrapbooks *cough cough* Mom). The important thing is to spend time with the people you love and try new things. I just hope I helped you figure out how to save some money while doing it.