5 Things to Do in the Summer When on a Budget

5 Ways To Make Your Summer Amazing, Even On A Budget

You can have fun in the sun and save money while you're at it!

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As summer is just around the corner, there's a question that looms over everyone's head: if I don't have the money to do a big vacation, what am I going to do with my summer? For a lot of us, myself included, the only thing that comes to mind is work. But, what about when you're not working? There are tons of things that you can do in order to have fun in the sun while also keeping close tabs on your bank account. What's better than having fun and saving money? With that, here are five low-cost, fun things to do with your summer.

1. Visit a new city

I think I can honestly say that some of the "day-cations" I've been on have catered some of the best memories I have. Round up some of your favorite friends and take a short trip to a place you've never been! You never know when you'll find a new cafe, park, or store that will become a staple for your trips in the future! Who knows? The entire city might be a vacation spot for future summers!

2. Go on a picnic

picnic with friends

When the weather is this great in the summer, I know I sure can't stay inside. I'm always itching to bask in the sun, lay in a hammock, or sit on a beach. A low-cost, easy activity for the summer is to go on a picnic! Nothing feels better than sitting on a blanket, having a laugh, and enjoying a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

3. Learn a new language

learn new language

Alright, so maybe you won't learn an entirely new language. However, wouldn't it be cool to know some things? Or if you are in the process of learning a language, why stop just because of summer starting? Learning a second language is becoming so vital in our world and I think that everyone can benefit from knowing two or more languages. A lot of us who are in college are required to take language classes, so what's stopping us from getting ahead in that French class next semester? Plus, you'll be able to brag to your friends that you know another language.

4. Read some new books

reading

As an honorary book worm, I can never read enough. However, with my life being so busy during school, I hardly get a chance to read for fun. With that, I do my best to try and read at least five new books every summer break. Even if you don't love reading as I do, it can be fun to escape your daily life and join a world of magic or of romance. Something that has helped me in the past is challenging myself. I start out and challenge myself to read at least five books. If I finish my five books earlier than expected, I challenge myself to read two more, then two more, and so on. So, hit up your local library and get to turning pages!

5. Volunteer at an animal shelter

walking dog

If you're an animal lover, what better way to show that than helping out at an animal shelter? The workers always welcome help and usually are very busy. I know that I love volunteering and getting to spend time with all the cute fur babies there! It can be a hefty job but is fun nonetheless. Getting to spend all day with cute cats and dogs is great every time!

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40 Things To Do During Summer Vacation

Because we all know four months without college friends or classes is WAY too long.
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It's been less than a week since finals wrapped up at the University of Minnesota, and I, among many of my other friends, are already lost on things to do. Since January, our entire schedules have been filled with homework and studying. The new freedom summer brings provides endless time (in between our summer job shifts, of course) for new activities and things you wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to do during the school year. Below is a list of 40 different activities to keep you entertained during your break and to ensure you make the most of your summer.


1. Learn a new language.

I highly recommend starting with Duolingo. It's an app that provides free language tutoring through a series of activities and exercises. It offers a wide variety of languages such as Spanish, German, Greek, Swahili, among many others.

2. Volunteer.

There's an endless amount of volunteering opportunities offered throughout every major city in the country. For example, many hospitals will accept volunteers, as well as organizations in Minnesota such as Feed, My Starving Children, or the Ronald McDonald House. Most positions only require an application but be sure to check for minimum requirements such as age or experience.

3. Read a book.

Go to a library and wander until you find a book you think you'll like. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

4. Watch a TED talk.

This is one of my favorite hobbies any time of the year. TED is a nonprofit organization that shares short, approximately 15-minute videos ranging from science to business to global issues. There's a topic out there for everyone.

5. Start a garden.

Even if you don't have any outdoor space, succulents and cacti are very low maintenance and still add a little "green" to your indoor space.

6. Go camping.

Whether it's at a campground or in your backyard, enjoy the technology-free time with your family or friends.

7. Paint.

If you're not an artistic person, go to the store, buy a set of Crayola watercolors, and just paint.

8. Take an online course.

Coursera and edX both supply free online courses from top universities such as Yale, MIT, and Harvard. If you're trying to further your understanding of a particular topic such as physics or biology, I suggest starting with these websites.

9. Bake brownies or cookies.

Most stores stock up on the prepared cookie or brownie mixes, but if you have the time and ingredients, try making them from scratch.

10. Fly a kite.

Kites are available on Amazon for $10-$15, and instruction videos are available on YouTube to help you get started.

11. Play board games.

Life and Scrabble are my go-to's.

12. Make a scrapbook of old memories.

If you have the time and a little extra money, I promise the end-product will be worthwhile.

13. Start a journal.

You don't have to go buy the fancy Moleskin journals or buy an expensive one from Barnes and Noble, a simple notebook will do the trick. Write down your thoughts and document your summer.

14. Go to the beach.

Enjoy the sunshine, but don't forget sunscreen!

15. Go fishing.

Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and one of them is most likely within driving distance. Take the time on a nice, calm morning, and go fishing.

16. Binge-watch a TV show on Netflix.

"The Office," "Friends," "New Girl," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Grey's Anatomy" are good places to start.

17. Start a bucket list and cross off one item every week.

The items added don't have to be spectacular and nearly unattainable, they can be little things, too. In other words, I'm not expecting you to go skydiving, swim with sharks, and go on a cruise all in one month.

18. Learn to rock climb.

Both indoor and outdoor rock climbing are available depending on your level of comfort and experience. Remember to take every safety precaution and have fun.

19. Catch up with an old friend over coffee.

Call the friend you haven't seen in three years and ask to catch up over coffee. You never know how much their life has changed since last speaking with you.

20. Have a picnic.

Pack a basket with sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, and juice, and find a nice spot with a view. Maybe bring a book for a post-picnic activity.

21. Meditate or do yoga.

If you're unexperienced in both of these activities, many YouTube channels provide instructional videos. I'll post a link to one of my favorite YouTube yoga instructors here.

22. Learn a new instrument.

Whether it's piano, guitar, or even this $7.49 recorder from Amazon, try something new.

23. Discover new music.

Spotify and Pandora are great music platforms to discover different songs and artists. Keep checking your local venues and maybe attend a concert if possible.

24. Complete a puzzle.

You can buy puzzles online for around $10-$15. However, thrift stores and stores like Goodwill often sell them for less than $5.

25. Visit a museum.

The Science Museum of Minnesota and Minneapolis Institute of Art are two of the post popular museums in Minnesota. If you check their websites and other internet sources such as Groupon, you might be able to find a discount for admission.

26. Go to a comedy show.

I'm unaware of good comedy events around the country, but if you ever find yourself in downtown Minneapolis, check out Brave New Workshop.

27. Build a card tower.

If you're unsure how to do so, here is a link to instructions.

28. Reorganize and redecorate your room.

If you'd like a change in your life, try redecorating or reorganizing your room. Donate old clothes, books, or furniture no longer in use.

29. Marathon the entire Harry Potter series.

I challenge you to do this back-to-back with each movie, but I also realize that is 19 hours and 39 minutes of watching movies, not including snack or bathroom breaks.

30. Play with a pet.

It doesn't have to be your own. For a real adventure, check out the nearest animal shelter.

31. Start a blog.

Wordpress and Weebly are two online blogging websites that I highly suggest. Although it takes awhile to become accustomed to the platform, these websites are great because they're entirely customizable to the type of blog you wish to create.

32. Go for a bike ride.

Whether it's along the river or out on back roads, go for a ride.

33. Teach yourself how to juggle.

This might be easier said than done, but some videos on YouTube might be useful.

34. Take a bubble bath.

Some bubble bath or a bath bomb, music, and a good book will have you relaxed almost instantly.

35. Go to a farmer's market.

Support the farmers in your community and try buying local. With a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and flowers, there's something for everyone. The farmer's market in downtown Minneapolis is open Thursday's from 6am-6pm, while the Lyndale Market is open daily from 6am-1pm.


36. Exercise.

Go for a walk. Run. Bike. Do yoga. Play soccer. Just get up, and get moving.

37. Become a tourist in your own city.

Pretend you're from out of state and only have a limited amount of time to explore your city. Take yourself and your friends or family to the must-see places around town.

38. Color.

Adult coloring books have become an increasingly popular trend. Available online, Barnes and Noble, and Target, they're easily accessible. You can buy a book, some colored pencils or pens, and enjoy the relaxing day.

39. Spend time with your family and friends.

Whether it's a movie day or going out on a walk, put away your phone or laptop for a day and appreciate the people standing around you.

40. Enjoy all the time you have not worrying about studying or homework.

Cover Image Credit: Joe Pizzio // Unsplash

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7 Things To Do This Summer When You Run Out Of Ideas

The summertime is about creating memories and activities, such as bowling and tie-dying, does that by involving family and friends.

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Some of these ideas may appear simple, but they generate a lot of fun and memories. Sometimes the smallest things have the most significant impact. The summertime is about creating memories and activities, such as bowling and tie-dying, does that by involving family and friends.

1. Night swimming

Hopefully, among your friend group, someone has a pool or possibly a beach or lake house. Night swimming is always fun during summer because you do not freeze when you get out of the pool, and it almost seems like you are breaking the rules. I find the best memories are made when you are with friends at night, and the conversations change some regular chit-chats to in-depth dialogues about everything from our futures to conspiracy theories. Night swimming combines the joy that swimming in the summertime brings and the memories from in-depth conversations with friends.

2. Bowling

I know bowling appears to be a basic but anything can be fun depending on who you surround yourself with. For instance, at bowling alleys near my hometown, they do midnight bowling, which everyone tends to do for their birthdays and after dances. Once again, this activity incorporates the deep conversations that create memories with friends due to the time it occurs. Bowling can also be fun because you do not just have to bowl. At most places, you can also play arcade games, which creates more memories based on the wins and failures of everyone.

3. Tie-dye clothes

Tie-dying clothes is enjoyable because you are getting to create new types of clothes that can be any colors you want. It is a great activity during the summer since it is messy, usually requires help from friends, and the clothes will dry much quicker. The mess may be a turn-off, but it is actually where most of the stories come from. The dye usually ends up everywhere, and you and your friends have to make the best out of it, which is the part that brings laughs. This way, you end up creating clothes that match your friends and hilarious memories with your friends as well.

4. Hammocking

You may need to rest for a few days instead of one or two days, but, as I said before, resting can become boring. So, I suggest switching the scenery if you are still tired or stressed. There have been countless weeks where I needed to rest the whole week due to an overlord of stressful tasks in the previous week or simply tired due to my classes. Hammocking allows you to rest, but you can also hang out with friends and even catch some rays.

5. Go to a body of water

Whether it be a beach, a lake, or a river, you should go to some form of a body of water during the summer. During the daytime, you can do various activities at the beach, such as sun-bathing, kayaking, swimming, and paddleboarding. During the nighttime, you can swim under the stars and talk all night by the water. I am from the middle of nowhere in a landlocked state, so I know the struggle of being unable to go to the beach whenever I want. If you are facing the same struggle, ask your friends, and look on Facebook. Around me, the state park provides kayaking and paddleboarding on the lake for low prices.

6. Watch the sunrise

Watching the sunrise is always fun because it tends to mean you and your friends pull an all-nighter the night before. If this is the case, the conversations have begun to evolve from basic topics to strange and intriguing topics. You and your friends end up playing many games and also making up games to stay up. If you choose to wake up the day of, everyone can make a big breakfast and head out to watch. Baking and cooking with family and friends always create memories due to the messes made and the creations that are made. So, seeing a sunrise, itself, is beautiful but if you set up activities surrounding it and invite family and friends, it becomes memorable.

7. Find a job

Look, if all else fails, try finding a job. I know working during the summer is a drag because I worked at a grocery store all last summer. However, if you can not find anything else to do, it will not hurt filling your time with making money.

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