We college students are no strangers to being frugal in the ways that matter. Money management is important during the school year to make sure that there is enough to go about the school day (as well as for having a little fun on weekends!). Summer is no excuse to not continue good habits.

However, being frugal doesn’t mean the fun can’t happen! Beyond the traditional summer internship, here are some ways to stay within your budget while also making sure you have the story of a lifetime to tell once school starts again.

1. Summer job

Summer jobs are as classic as any teen movie. For decades, college students have been picking up jobs to support their summer spendings—and for a good reason! Beyond the monetary benefits, summer jobs are a great way to stay productive and meet new people. They are also a great way to get out of your comfort zone. Keep an eye out for businesses nearby who are hiring for the summer months, and don’t be afraid to apply!

2. Local trip

Sure, that Peru trip may only be $2000, but that’s $2000 more than you have in your bank account. No fear! Taking a trip is easier than ever with Airbnb’s low rates and the accessibility of car services like Uber and Lyft. There’s nothing wrong with going on an old-fashioned road trip, or even having a spontaneous weekend in San Diego with family. With a little willpower and clever planning, an inexpensive and local trip to explore places nearby your home can become the highlight of the summer.

3. Volunteer

Volunteering can be one of the most fulfilling things you can do during the summer. Not only are you doing the most for your community, volunteering can get you valuable experience in your chosen field, while also allowing you to make meaningful connections with a wide variety of people. Some great places to consider are your local hospital, shelter, and vet clinic! Keep an eye out for open spaces and get your adventure started.

4. Self-improvement

There’s no time like the present to start feeling better! Summer is a great time to start the exercise you’ve been meaning to during the school year, or start switching up your diet for the better! Practices like meditation or self-worth talks do wonders for the mind and the body, and can make sure you have a healthy transition back into the school year.

5. Pick up a hobby

Hobbies are inexpensive, fun, and engaging. Beyond the obvious like knitting or drawing, there are things you can do that cover almost any interest imaginable. How about craft kits, learning to code, or extreme ironing? (Yes, that’s really a thing.) Regardless, what better time to try something new than summer?

6. Learn Another Language

Did you know that studies have shown that those who speak two languages or more find it easier to do well in their studies when it comes to organization and perception? Bilingualism is an ambitious goal for the summer, but it’s an achievement definitely worth trying for. If you already have a second language that you speak at home, summer would be a great time to brush up on it. If not, acquainting yourself with Chinese, or Spanish (voted two of the most important languages to learn) through sites like Duolingo can be a rewarding pastime.

7. Explore your hometown

Last, but not least, your very own backyard! Whether you’ve just moved right before heading to college, or if you’ve been there all your life, there is probably a bounty of experiences and locations that you haven’t been to or seen yet. Check the local attractions using Yelp or blog pages, and see if your friends have any good ideas.


Summer at home can be challenging, if not occasionally boring. Even if you’re not traveling to exotic locations for this extra long break, there are plenty of things beyond this list to do and explore and experience. Adventure is out there and waiting!