I spent $7.27 like a complete fool the other day. What did this seven bucks and change get me? Did it get me a full meal with a drink on the side? Did it get me a new t-shirt? Nope. The $7.27 got me a bag of popcorn at the movie theatre. Yes, that’s right, a bag of popcorn. Nothing more. What else could I have purchased with this money? A whole meal perhaps. Two cases of water. Even possibly a brand new t-shirt at a discount clothing store. Instead, I got none of those options.

Why did I make this mistake?

  • Laziness. Instead of seeking out cheaper alternatives, I chose the easiest options. I chose the option that required the least effort.
  • Convenience. Other options may have been available to me, but I decided on the one that was easiest to act upon. I also could have gone anywhere else in the city, yet I still chose the option that was really close to me and really expensive.
  • Moment of weakness. We all have these moments, even us personal finance bloggers. We all face the quick blurs where our fundamentals are forgotten and we revert to our old ways.

Instead of dwelling on the past, let’s have the most amazing cheap summer ever. I wanted to share a few ways that I have fun without going broke in the summer…

Take the bus.

Driving and taking cabs around town can really increase the price of your night out. Sure, you may arrive at the destination quicker, but is it worth the money? Taking public transportation across town may take more time but it’ll save you lots of money in the long run. Put it this way: a simple cab ride from the “popular” area of my town to my home costs $25. I could travel this same distance for a bit longer at $3 on the bus. Which sounds like the better deal?

Try random places.

Do you always attend the same events? Do you always go to the same places? This summer it’s time you tried something new. No more going to the same place. It’s time that you got on the bus and ventured off somewhere new (and no I’m not suggesting the shady part of town!).

Prepare your own stuff.

Instead of relying on the restaurant of the evening to supply the group with drinks and food for the night, why not prepare it on your own? Purchasing your own drinks and food for the night can save you a fortune. I started to save a pretty penny once I began to prepare my own lunch to school and work. The savings that come along with saving on a fancy Friday dinner will be seen as near-astronomical a few months down the road.

Have a backyard party.

If none of the others tips are applicable, why not consider hosting the festivities at your place? It may not be as enticing to be the host as opposed to the person that gets served and eats for free, but look at the bright side. One day in the near future it’ll be your turn to be the guest and enjoy yourself.

How are you saving money on fun summer activities this year? Any tips that you could share with us?

Img source: Susan NYC